Soon, you won't be reading about "The Internet of Things" because it really won't be a separate topic, it will infiltrate our way of life and become a commonality. However, until that happens, we are getting used to the idea of objects being connected to the internet and every "thing" becoming a SMART thing. As companies and their software and technology evolve into this new connected reality, the marketing departments for those companies will also have adjustments to make, especially in the areas of social media and branding.
Smart Consumers will Love Smart Technology
Since objects will become "SMART" objects, the potential is there for them to take on a life of their own and consumers will need to be educated in what that means for them and their relationship with your company. The marketing departments will be tasked with communicating this information to consumers in a way that they can not only understand, but adopt. There is bound to be resistance from consumers who are concerned about privacy. Granted, some might even feel paranoid about the tracking and automated communications that are implied when objects start communicating with each other and building data. However, we keep seeing glimpses of the death of privacy, or at the very least, the end of privacy as we know it. Large portions of our population already share intimate details about their lives on social media. Most consumers are also already willing to give their personal data online in exchange for discounts or special offers, or even customization. This is referred to as conscious privacy. When objects become smart and are connected to social, they will be "able to communicate with one another and 'connect' to other people or devices in the same vicinity based on the behaviour of the person." - [Business2Community.com]
The Time is Now!
The success of your marketing and the incorporation of The Internet of Things will depend on how you disseminate the information that will help your consumers understand the ins and outs of the technology and how you will use it. The time to start messaging and educating your public about the Internet of Things is now. Do not wait until your company has fully integrated new technology to start explaining or announcing change to your customers. Start writing about how your company's plans to upgrade software and technology and how IoT will impact your company, or more importantly, how it will impact your customers. Depending on how much your company will integrate IoT in the future, will it impact your brand, your daily operations, or even your mission statement? Will your branding strategy need to be modified? Your social channels and blog should start regularly producing content education your customers and slowly making the switch to smart technology. A gradual change is easier for most to accept rather than a sudden change, especially where technology is concerned. If your technology upgrades will mean that there is a learning curve for your customers, then you can begin to help them acclimate through your content and your social messaging.
Examples of Social Media with The Internet of Things
There are already companies that are doing some amazing marketing and social media campaigns that incorporate The Internet of Things and this new technology. SocialMediaToday highlights some of this technology that is paving the way for the future. Examples include smart vending machines, video media advertising, in-store retail mobile applications, and much more. Read about how Disney's RFID MagicBands and other technology is advancing marketing as we know it.
Action Items and Takeaways for Your Company
The messaging about the Internet of Things and your technology upgrades should encompass all of the channels you currently use to communicate with your customers and possibly tap some new ones. In addition to social media messaging and building out educational content on your company blog, you can implement educational content in the follow ways to educate your consumers:
- Online presentations
- White papers
Try to cover all your bases so that your audience receives the message enough times to understand its importance and has the option to learn about it in their preferred format. Address privacy concerns and explain how your company will be handling private data and personalization. Those are bound to be the top two concerns that consumers will have when it comes to the Internet of Things. Explain how your company will benefit from the added convenience of new technology and upgrades and then also explain how you will pass on your savings to your customers. Detail your company's opt out policy so that your customers will understand that they can be in control of their own data. Lastly, monitor what consumers and the media are saying about your company so that you can understand your customers' perspectives even if they aren't providing you with feedback. Isentia offers media monitoring and analyzing tools for businesses. It is imperative to monitor all sources of media.