Understanding the Internet of Things and Mobile Marketing
Receiving email messages from friends and family is incredibly common, but soon we may be receiving messages from our fridges and toothbrushes. Is your milk about to go bad? Your refrigerator will send you a reminder for the next time you make a trip to the grocery. Even workout clothes are being designed to monitor a person's heart rate and burned calories.
All this smart technology is part of the Internet of Things (IoT), a clunky term but one that refers to the various high-tech products equipped with an Internet connection that enables them to relay helpful data to the owner. Smart phones and watches were just the beginning, and now kitchen appliances, thermostats, and even baby onesies are being created with sensors that can relay information via an app or through email. All this is meant to improve the quality for life for consumers, but it also adds up to new marketing opportunities.
Person, Place and Thing: Everything Digitized
Whether you're at the coffee shop or at the office, it's clear that we're becoming an increasingly mobile society. This is giving companies a pathway to better connect with consumers through mobile marketing strategies that extend information on sales, events and coupons.
With the arrival of IoT, information can be gathered and analyzed on customer behavior from the product itself about how, when, and why the product is used. From this data, a company can formulate a game plan for the next line of products or services based on consumer data. They can get an idea of the best circumstances for certain products and understand why in one instance the purchase was a hit and why in another the purchase is now collecting dust in the closet.
Combining IoT and Digital Marketing
All this technology is giving marketers an opportunity that past generations could only dream about. They have better ways of knowing what people are buying, how satisfied they are with their purchases, and what they may be interested in buying in the future. Being able to work in conjunction with the ubiquity of mobile technology and the information generated from IoT gives marketers a brand-new means of engaging with customers. With the right approach, marketers can create a partnership with consumers and provide them with more efficient and effective products, while in turn gaining new insights on people's behavior and needs.
Following the example of the best mobile marketing campaigns will be a good precedent to follow. By offering an opt-in means for receiving notifications of sales and events, the consumer can make decisions on whether to participate and won't feel like a passive target. Each new online innovation that's come along has given the marketing field a new way of connecting with people and that drew upon creativity, tech skills, and a working knowledge of the target audience. IoT's impact on marketing will further develop these endeavors and give the marketing field a way to establish brand loyalty.
The Issues of Privacy and Security
Last year, a news story reported the first IoT cyber-attack in which a person's refrigerator was hacked and then used as a host for sending spam messages. Any such Internet-enabled devices or products will have to be given the same security priorities as laptops or desktop computers to prevent attacks that could lead to cyber-criminals collecting private data or spy on family members via a security system. This connectivity between the consumer and the company also brings up the question of privacy, and businesses will have to take the right approach to avoid Big Brother territory. An IoT Bill of Rights has been proposed as a way of solving this problem, and as IoT becomes more common, companies will have to determine where the boundaries lie.
Smart Technologies and Smart Marketing
According to Wired, the International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that in 2020 more objects will be online than people. As long as marketers see their role as one in which they avoid being intrusive and instead establish trust with consumers, the possibilities are enormous. Although IoT is still in its infancy, the opportunities it provides will solidify the link between technology and marketing, and relegate traditional marketing approaches to a place in ancient history.