Marketing is changing, and not because of social media. Marketing is changing because of the growth of the Internet of Things. By tapping into the power of smart technology, today’s marketers are becoming increasingly effective and engaged with their target audiences.
The Internet of Things, that growing body of connected devices, sensors and other technology that is keeping people connected to the web, provides marketers with an extensive network of potential marketing tools. In fact, these tools are so powerful, that over half of the world’s top marketers believed the IoT will drastically revolutionize the marketing world as early as 2020. As the IoT grows, the marketing world has had to adapt and change to keep up. Understanding these changes, and how they affect the modern marketing plan, is essential.
New Technology Changes the Face of Marketing
Today’s marketers are well aware of the impact of mobile marketing on their day-to-day efforts. No marketer worth his or her salt has done a campaign that didn’t include texting, app-based marketing, or social media marketing. This is just one way that the Internet of Things is changing marketing on a practical level.
Beacon Technology Shows Another Potential Impact
Imagine a retailer who is looking to engage consumers in an interactive way while they are in the store. Using beacons strategically placed throughout the store, the marketer can set up a system that detects the smartphone a customer is using that runs the store’s app, then send coupons, buyer’s guides, and product tips and tricks directly to the phone while the consumer is in the vicinity of a particular product. This technology can go so far as to realize when a customer has spent a significant amount of time at the shampoo aisle, and send hints on how to choose the best one while the customer is making a buying decision.
Using the IoT to Build Stronger Relationships
Beacon technology is a cool opportunity for the modern marketer, but it is not the end all of the newer, smarter marketing. Where the IoT has the ability to truly revolutionize marketing is not in beaming advertisements to a consumer’s phone while standing in the shampoo aisle. The place where this technology is going to make the most difference is in building strong relationships between brand and customer using the vast amounts of data that smart devices collect.
By the year 2020, an estimated 13 billion smart devices will be in circulation. Those smart cars, watches, phones, and even refrigerators all have one thing in common – they are collecting data about the user. Marketers who can get permission to use that data, or who ask for it through customer or product feedback, will be able to build stronger relationships with their customers. Those stronger relationships lead to more relevant campaigns, touching on the features and feedback that the customers are actually looking for. Better campaigns will lead to increased customer engagement.
These devices are now providing marketers and companies with previously unobtainable data about the way in which customers are interacting with products, and there appears to be no limit on the amount of data possible through the IoT. The data can show a deeper level of insight into where a customer is in the buying cycle, what the customer needs from the company, and how the customer could be coaxed into a positive buying decision.
Through the power of the IoT, today’s marketers will be able to analyze customers’ buying habits across platforms to better target their marketing efforts to those platforms that are the most effective. When problems do occur, marketers can step in to resolve them and keep customers happy while continuing to build that crucial customer/brand relationship.
Real-Time Engagement to Solidify the Customer/Brand Relationship
One of the most powerful tools provided by the Internet of Things is the power to offer real-time engagement. This is not just products like the beacon technology in a retail store. Now, companies can offer apps to consumers that download to their mobile devices, then use those apps to engage with customers in real time when they are ready to make a buying decision. Companies can also leverage mobile directories and websites to ensure they are found when customers are in the field looking for what they have to offer.
From ensuring that a listing is available for a restaurant on a favorite review app to providing a free app with the purchase of a product that will help the marketer track the product’s use and provide instant feedback to the customer, today’s marketers have the ability to engage quickly, fulfilling the instant gratification customers want all while protecting their marketing efforts.
Targeting Individuals for the Most Effective Marketing
Marketing through the Internet of Things and using the data it provides builds upon the trend of targeted marketing introduced through social media. The rise of social media led to highly targeted marketing. After all, on Facebook a marketer could set an ad to run only to 20-something males in a specific area of the country, if desired, ensuring that the audience was well targeted for the product being sold. Targeting specific groups made marketing more effective, but the Internet of Things is taking that a step further by allowing marketers to target individuals specifically.
Imagine a scenario where a consumer is driving a smart car, and the car is nearing the time for an oil change. The on-board computer begins to direct the consumer to the nearest oil change center, or sends an alert about the oil change and some recommendations for nearby oil change facilities. This is the type of marketing that will be coming in the very near future, and is already here for certain industries, as smart technology takes over the consumer’s world. By targeting customers directly in their time of need or while they are making a buying decision, the modern marketer will be even more effective.
The Internet of Things is here, and the smart marketing professional is going to do everything in his or her power to capitalize on it. How have you seen the IoT changing the way you do business? What benefits have you found that this new technology has brought to the marketing world? Start a discussion about these changes in the comments below.