From connected cars to “smart” flower pots, 2015’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was proof that the Internet of Things (IOT) is upon us. As consumers’ lives become increasingly connected, marketers must make plans for the unprecedented flood of data that will soon coming pouring in from wearables, homes, and automobiles.
Unfortunately, there is currently no structure in place to deal with measurements and standards for the IOT. President and chief executive (CEO) of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Bob Liodice doesn’t think that marketing and advertising organizations are currently prepared to gauge effective measures and standards for new technology. “The systems and the processes [to measure data from wearables and connected devices] are not there,” says Liodice. “Nor is the talent inside all our respective companies prepared to be able to deal with this, and so the ecosystem has got a way to go in terms of data analytics and measurements.”
But just because there are no systems currently in place does not mean the industry isn’t planning for even bigger data, says Patrick Dolan, executive vice president and chief operating officer (COO) of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). The key to mapping the future of data analytics will most likely lie in opening the door for conversation about best practices for managing information. “The biggest challenge right now is going to be harmonizing the data and getting more transparency, so that these various systems in data can interact with each other so they are more valuable to customers and to marketers,” he says.
But that harmony won’t come unless advertisers and manufacturers unite to create clear goals. “Madison Avenue and Silicon Valley need to come into conversation further upstream, so that as they develop these systems and technologies they can have in mind what marketers are looking for when it comes to incorporating into their marketing mix,” Dolan adds.
Dolan also believes that data analytics solutions and measurement will evolve more quickly if companies don’t hoard data. “What’s interesting is each marketer is going to have their own stack of data, but then the publishers have their stack and the other agencies have their stack, so these stacks have to communicate with each other as well. There’s a lot to be done. That’s why it’s important for industry organizations to invest now because there are so many unanswered questions and so many things that need to be done now.”
Data from wearable tech and connected devices, like refrigerators and cars, is also going to create the need for a new leadership agency as well, says Liodice. “Right now it’s the industry’s responsibility to make sense of this data, and the industry is fumbling,” says Liodice. “Who’s in charge of measurement? Nobody. We’re not structured yet across the industry for anybody to own measurement, and that’s why we’ve been working the past few years to elevate the quality and control of measurement. Eventually we’ll have to galvanize an organization with a governing body to own the measurement mandates and truly be the broad based architect and purveyor of quality standards for the measurement arena.”
The future of marketing across the Internet of Things remains unclear, but choosing to wait and see could prove fatal for brands that lag behind. “Marketers cannot have their heads buried in the sand thinking that these things are just fads,” says Liodice. “The smarter and savvier marketers will take advantage of those things as they continue to jump out at us. The Internet of Things really is changing the way that we are going to live and breathe and interact with technology.”