Internet of Thing & the Scope for Digital Marketing

Ashwin dewan Founder & Chief Geek | Thursday, 19 March 2015, 06:15 IST

The Internet of Things (IoT) - also known simply as connected devices) is the next logical step in our endeavor to create a connected life. It is estimated there will be 25 billion devices connected to the Internet, accounting for a market size of $600 billion, by 2019 (source: Based on insights from a Business Intelligence report).

Simply put, ‘Internet of Things’ refers to enabling of devices to connect to each other, transmit, report or act on real-world data from our environment — like temperature, lighting, distance, the presence or absence of people or objects, etc.

Currently, most of the data on the Internet is being produced & consumed by people (text, image, audio & video). In the very near future, more and more information would be produced and consumed by machines, communicating between themselves to (hopefully) improve the quality of our lives.

I believe that companies will now need to develop new marketing models, which take into account this exchange of data. If, for example, censors in your home or clothes are able to recognize & monitor your body temperature, and on a cold day this censor might be able to ‘talk’ to your mobile device via an app that prompts you to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or any other hot drink based on your preference history. On the app there will, of course, be brand advertisement that persuades a user to visit certain cafés based on the proximity of the user to the retail outlet.

IoT will make a significant change in the customer service. Customers will still highly value their privacy & data, but they will also look for personalization and predictive marketing. In this way, digital marketers will have to up their game to keep up with these radical changes.
Here are few points that company’s digital marketers should take into account when dealing with IoT:

•    Touch Points: With IoT, pretty much every object has the potential to become a ‘smart’ object. This brings a countless number of devices & applications for conversations between a customer & a brand such as wearables, facial recognition, motion tracking, digital signage, smart TV, POS systems, and the list goes on. With the ability to monitor interactions and in conjunction with other data sets, we can begin to gain a sense of the exponentially greater complexity & opportunity for digital marketers. Hence, they can monitor customer or product behavior for insights and incidents and do so invisibly to the customer.

•    Evolving Customer Experience: As IoT & the need for connectivity drive consumers to bring more and more of their physical lives to the digital world. Companies need to decide how to track & make sense of the huge amount of behavioral data they receive. Consumer expectations are evolving very rapidly, what today may seem little more than sexy or novel platforms, may quickly become the baseline expectations for tomorrow. Privacy-conscious personalization, predictive analytics, and overall a higher intimate brand/product engagement will become the new default.

•    Need of a New Measurement Model: For companies to invest its marketing dollars on IoT they will need the assurance of effectiveness, which can only be delivered by comprehensive matrixes & measurement models. The way consumers will interact with mobile, wearables, connected devices, digital signage, touchscreens, sensors, etc. cannot be measured with currently existing approaches. Hence, there is a great opportunity for a sub-industry of metrics, analytics, and management catering to the connected world, just as it did for social media.

Now before jumping straight in with both feet first, companies CIOs, CMOs & digital marketers will need to make next move ― that is from big data to smart data.
I believe we are finally at the brink of living a ‘connected life’ but for this to become a reality, sooner rather than later, we need the industry to focus on how companies can intuitively & responsibly leverage the enormous amounts of relevant and effective data that IoT will generate in order to create value for the end user, without violating an individual’s privacy.

Finally, as long as companies can keep pace with the large amount of flow of data and how fast consumer needs will evolve, IoT would be a gold mine for digital marketing and the next frontier for engaging with consumers.

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