Should You Start Investing in “IoT” Marketing? Three Opportunities to Consider Right Now

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These days, seems you can’t check your smartwatch without spotting a headline touting the promise of the so-called Internet of Things (IoT). What sounded like such a futuristic concept just a couple years back has actually been a reality since around 2008, the turning point when there were more “things” connected to the Internet than people. Today, there are seven to 10 billion IoT devices already installed, expected to reach 200 billion by 2020, according to Intel.

The rapid adoption of “smart” products means marketers will have unparalleled opportunities to learn about their customers—how they live, work, search, act and interact—through information pulled into their CRMs. By successfully analyzing and applying what we learn, we can create customized campaigns that are well timed and extremely relevant to users, rather than inappropriate, invasive, and ultimately, ignored.

In terms of measurably impacting people’s daily lives today, IoT is still in its infancy…and that’s a good thing. It means you still have time to learn about, develop, and hone your marketing strategy around the most promising IoT channels. Discover what lies ahead for IoT—and how your outreach can evolve along with it.

Centralize incoming data

Smartwatches, smart TVs, and smart cars are just the beginning. In the next few years, marketers are going to be receiving and parsing through enormous amounts of user information relayed to them from connected home appliances, wearable technology, smart security systems and sensors in everyday items. In a little over a decade, there will be 26 smart objects for every human being on earth, and more than 40 percent of data will come from sensors.

“It’s critical to have a single CRM in place now so you can successfully get your arms around all of that incoming data,” says Appboy co-founder and CEO, Mark Ghermezian. “Having one system in place will enable you to accurately identify and monitor each individual customer as they go through their daily journey.”

That means you’ll be able to move with your user as she checks emails on her smartphone over breakfast, texts on her smartwatch between meetings, and driving home in her smart vehicle.

“Understanding that you’re looking at one person, and not several different user profiles on different devices, gives you a far more complete picture of each customer,” says Ghermezian. “You can see where they are in their buying journey, and understand how they’re reacting to messaging through different channels.”

Create more personalized campaigns and experiences

As IoT devices become increasingly more prevalent, the information they relay about your customers will enable you to more accurately anticipate what they need and want in real time—and more successfully automate marketing messages in response to what you’re learning.

Take, for example, the smart home that continuously monitors a customer’s energy usage. As the system becomes aware that the homeowner’s smart light bulb is about to burn out, it relays that information to a home improvement store—so the retailer can text a coupon for a replacement bulb.

As the customer navigates to the retailer’s site to purchase the bulb, he’ll see a fully customized homepage with offers for products similar to those he’s recently been browsing on his iPad, such as a new cordless drill or patio set. An in-app message lets him know that a “friends and family” sale makes today a very good day to buy.

Choose the right channel at the right time

Everyone you know interacts with technology in a completely unique way. Your boss uses his tablet constantly, but would never wear a smartwatch. Your running partner constantly tracks her progress using a fitness tracker and several apps. Your godfather is still learning how to Skype.

As the number of IoT devices and channels continue to expand, it becomes increasingly important for marketers to analyze how each customer interacts with his or her technology, and to determine the most effective way to communicate. That way, we not only customize the messages we’re sending, but the channels and devices the we’re using to send them.  

For instance, your app-happy running buddy may welcome an in-app or push notification alerting her to a sale on marathon training gear (especially as her mileage is increasing). A less tech-savvy user like your aunt, however, would be more likely to open an email with a personalized subject line.

The promise of IoT—and the avalanche of data that comes with it—is that it will ultimately enable marketers to concentrate their resources on customers who truly need their products and services. You’ll have the opportunity to communicate at exactly the right time and on the right device—rather than sending generalized messages through every channel available. This highly personalized approach is the key to building trust and better long-term relationships with your customers.

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