Internet of Things is radically changing how companies are connecting with their customers. Virtually every industry is finding that is impacting network traffic, the volume of data collected and the ways that marketers can engage their customers. Opportunities are only going to grow; by 2020, there will be over 30 billion connected devices, according to projections by Gartner.
Benefits Gained Through IoT
Many marketers have already started using IoT to build relationships between their brand and their customers that are relevant, helpful and fact-based. Here are just a few of the benefits gained.
- They are better able to analyze the customer's buying habits across channels and platforms.
- They can collect data about the ways that customers interact with products and devices that could not have been obtained in the past.
- They have greater insight into the stage a customer is at on his or her purchase journey.
- They can push point-of-sale notifications or personalized ads in real time.
- They can resolve issues quickly to ensure that the customer is satisfied.
Categories of IoT Products
IoT includes a variety of devices from smart cars to smart appliances. Whatever the device, consumers must feel that they are obtaining some benefit from it rather than feeling that the device is merely a way for marketers to intrude upon their privacy. However, connected devices can be grouped into three categories.
Devices That Enhance The Customer Experience
This category includes devices that make things more convenient for the consumer. One example is the Family Hub refrigerator from Samsung. Cameras allow homeowners to use their phones to view what is inside the refrigerator, which also features a Wi-Fi touch screen.
Wearable devices also belong in this category. For example, Apple’s “Apple Watch” that can track everything from sleep habits to activity levels and can also take calls and send unique messages.
Devices That Promote Loyalty
Some devices have the potential to become habit-forming. Making a purchase can become more of an automatic ritual than a conscious decision when all that is required is pressing a button. For example, imagine a coffee maker that notifies you when supplies are running low and prompts you to reorder by just pushing a button. In addition, you will have virtually limitless opportunities to provide engaging content to the customer by sharing insights after the sale.
An example of this approach is the Nest smart thermostat that collects data about the owner's daily routine to adapt automatically. After a week, it can generate a temperature management schedule that allows the owner to reduce his or her energy costs.
Devices That Drive Digital Marketing
The future of IoT is still emerging. The current phase is primarily focused on collecting data to allow marketers to learn about customer needs and product use to offer relevant services. As products become more interactive and marketers learn how to leverage the data collected, expect to see shoppers migrate to the products that provide them with the most convenience, entertain them or offer the greatest benefits.
Businesses Are Investing In IoT
Many forward-thinking decision makers are already preparing for an IoT revolution. They are counting on their ability to create on-demand options, such as adding remote or mobile operability to their products. They also see the opportunity to build one-on-one relationships with their customers that will add value for both their customers and their brands.
IoT is much more than a catchy phrase. It has already begun to disrupt the traditional business model, and it will continue to transform the world of marketing. Marketers are going to have exciting opportunities to gain insights and interact with their customers. Those who learn how to harness the power of IoT stand to reap the greatest rewards. Data-driven relationships give you more data and smarter data, which in turn allow you to make your campaigns more relevant to better engage your customers.