Digital Marketing in the age of IoT

digital marketing in the age of IoTPixabay
  • One of the biggest trends presently is Internet of Things (IoT).
  • By 2025, the economic impact of IoT could be between $4 to $11 trillion per year.
  • KumKumRaj Swamynathan, VP, Product Engineering, Epsilon India pens down the reasons why marketers should care about IoT and how it could help them understand the customer behavior from start to finish, and can give a clear picture of where the customer is in their buying journey.
Marketers love technology and when it comes to customer acquisition and engagement, they are among the first to experiment with cutting-edge technology. One of the biggest trends presently and the most promising is Internet of Things (IoT). It brings connectivity of internet to all aspects of our lives. It has the potential to turn every device that we interact with into a smart device. A device that can connect with other devices over the internet and share data about location, usage patterns among other things, that Marketers can harvest and turn into rich insights to strengthen their campaigns. The concept of connected devices has been around for some time, but the so-called smart devices with local computing and AI capabilities, controlled through smartphones, has taken off in the last few years.

According to industry data on IoT,
  • Companies would invest up to $15 trillion in IoT by 2025
  • Economic impact of IoT could be between $4 and $11 trillion per year by 2025
  • Home IoT market is expected to grow to $53.45 billion by 2022
  • Approximately 44 zettabytes of data will be generated by IoT devices by 2020
As you read this article, there are well over 50 billion connected devices that translate to 7 times as many devices able to interact with each other as people on this planet. Impact of this is far reaching and has the potential to transform the way we live. This treasure trove of data is what Marketers want to go after. Technology platforms such as public cloud and machine learning have evolved to process the IoT data at scale. With 2.7 billion smartphones in use, mobile apps have become the interface of choice to engage with the IoT devices.

Why should marketers care about IoT?

Smart devices such as the smartphones, smart TVs, smart home appliances and wearable devices use sensors and actuators to collect and exchange data with other devices through the internet. Sensors gather information, upload it to the internet, and share it with each other.

Now let us look at the connected car IoT use case. All modern cars these days are equipped with GPS and come with smart navigation features. Based on the fuel level, it can track the distance to the nearest fuel station and prompt you to stop for refueling. It can suggest preferred points-of-interest based on prior data. It knows the time of the day; based on weather and real-time traffic it can recommend the nearest restaurant of your choice to stop for food. Such use cases - where IoT devices are not just exchanging information but also helping make real-time decisions - leave behind rich data that the Marketers can go after, which is very important in this digital era. It helps Marketers get better at making insightful assessments and create more accurate strategies to acquire and engage with the customers.

With the help of IoT, marketers can learn more about their customers and make better and faster decisions. They get to know what customers expect from their brands, how to improve their product quality, help forecast the demand for the products and plan for new features. Simply put, it helps them understand the customer behavior from start to finish, and gives a clear picture of where the customer is in their buying journey.

Weaving the IoT data insights into the marketing campaigns, help marketers analyze the needs of the customer, purchase patterns, location, payment mode and other customer preferences. It helps to engage with the customers in the most effective way. Enable deeper customer analysis, more accurately predict customer decisions and allow Marketers to promote the right products. IoT data can help track product consumption, predict the timing of sales and efficiently manage the product inventory.

Marketing is about engaging with the right customer at the right time on the right channel and help them make the right purchase decision. Simply put, it is about personalization and connect with the customers real-time. IoT helps to target the audience accurately, drive effective marketing campaigns, and serve ads that are more relevant.

There are several ideas that marketers have already put into action to take IoT to the next level in digital marketing. Some have naturally evolved with the convergence of social media and the mobile-first customer engagement behaviors. This has turned digital marketing into smart marketing that interlinks social media data with smart devices.

Think of a marketer linking their vending machine to its Twitter account. Every time someone buys the product, a message is posted on Twitter letting others know who is buying this product. Extending this idea further can enable products to self-advertise. With a low cost embedded chip on a bottle of soda, enables users to directly post comments on the brand’s social media platform right from the bottle. Several smart watch and wearable devices are already doing this to post their activity records on social media essentially advocating for the product. Customer engagement and relationship management is another area that can benefit from IoT. Based on the data gathered, Marketers can uncover insights on the customer journey and can modify the campaigns real-time to effectively nudge the customers to convert.

With IoT smart home devices, marketers can move towards a single-touch attribution. Think of a scenario for instance, when a smart home lightbulb stops functioning or a daily consumable is running low, the IoT network can record and send a digital coupon to your smartphone. The user can order the consumable online. Thus making campaigns more relevant, actionable and more cost-effective and eliminating ineffective ad serving.

Conclusion

IoT for marketing is truly about thinking outside the box and leveraging technology in the right way to engage with real customers in the most real way. Thus far, it has lived up to its promise in enabling Marketers to think of digital campaigns in the most real way in engaging with their customers. As the IoT technology gets simpler with seamless interfacing and data assimilation over the internet on to public cloud, the tech savvy Marketers will be able integrate IoT into the fabric of digital marketing and transform the way they engage with their customers.

- KumKumRaj Swamynathan, VP, Product Engineering, Epsilon India
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