How the Internet of Things Has Impacted Marketing

The rise of the Internet of Things reflects just how closely we’ve embraced technology in our lives. Our health, our daily schedules, and our social lives are all enhanced by a network of connected objects. The IoT continues to help us evolve in a way that bridges physical and digital experiences.

This enthusiasm for, and dependence upon the IoT has already begun to shape the future of business. Manufacturers benefit from real-time tracking of inventory; barcodes on items are scanned wherever they move from production floor to warehouse, with GPS devices providing location data all the way to the customer’s hands. The trucking industry is utilizing the IoT to ensure regulatory compliance among fleets, improving safety and security. Even insurance companies are analyzing data from customers’ smart devices to personalize policies.

On top of these advancements, the Internet of Things also presents valuable marketing opportunities. It may not always be a pleasant prospect for customers, but the fact is devices which record and communicate day-to-day behavior are useful. Assessing needs, targeting demographics, and even creating narratives that connect with customers can be improved by intelligent utilization of the IoT.

Data and Devices

One of the ways in which the marketing industry has been improved by the IoT is in the collection and analysis of data. The devices that the public wear, use, and communicate with generate huge amounts of useful information. Trends in digital marketing are currently leaning toward closer collaboration with mobile devices. By understanding how to effectively collect and use device-generated data, campaigns can become leaner, and can empower businesses to make more agile decisions.

Smart watches and fitness trackers link our physical actions with our digital landscapes.  They collect real time information such as the user’s daily activities, their health, and even wireless purchasing. Users often interact with these devices through apps, sharing information about themselves through social media and leaving reviews on the products they have purchased. Portable devices have, in effect, become data generation and dissemination machines.

Intelligent marketing campaigns will place careful consideration into how users interact with their devices through the IoT, which can include creating more touch points which acquire data. With this data, companies can produce a new app, or partner with existing popular platforms to build a profile of consumers, and discover the types of campaign they respond to. Attention should also be paid to transparency with consumers on how data is gathered and used, providing them with opt-in options. This is not only an ethical responsibility, but also builds trust with the public at a time when data security is a prevalent topic.

A Personalized Approach

The Internet of Things may well act as a network of connected objects, but it is also an intensely personal experience for users. Consumers have found not just convenience in their interconnected devices, but also platforms which are focused upon their individual needs, and support the demands of their lifestyles. This provides opportunities for businesses to build more meaningful relationships with consumers.

Social media continues to be a significant digital tool for marketing, and this has improved with the advent of the IoT. The convenience of platforms optimized across various devices has meant that users are able to post about various elements of their lives, wherever they happen to be. This offers the opportunity for businesses to advertise based on users’ recent activities, or even use geolocation tracking in connected vehicles to suggest area-specific services that may be of interest to them. Marketers are able to utilize these moments to schedule user-appropriate advertising. 

When it comes to the IoT we may often focus on apps and social media, but email marketing can also be an important element of a personalized approach. The activities users undertake on their connected devices can be used to trigger more nuanced email communications, for example. Listening to specific music could result in an email regarding a concert. Data received showing fitness trackers used primarily at night could trigger marketing emails for 24 hour gyms.

The Rise of the Voice

The IoT continues to thrive largely because users love convenience. Over the last few years, there has been a rise in objects which allow users to take a hands-free approach to their online lives. Specifically, the public has embraced voice-activated digital assistant devices, with 40% of Americans using voice search at least once per day. 

As voice search becomes part of a consumers’ regular routine, trends suggest that it is generally used for a variety of queries which can be useful in a marketing landscape. Consumers ask for recipes, for the locations of types of services, for news and weather. They are asking questions about products and opportunities, and treat their digital assistant as an arbiter of advice. It’s well worth businesses upgrading their marketing strategies to optimize accordingly. 

Many campaigns are including a shift in SEO approaches in order to cater for the fact that voice searches are growing in popularity, as well — whether through in-car infotainment devices, or wearables. This includes taking into account that voice queries tend to be longer, and more conversational. There’s a more distinct lean toward question phrases, rather than search terms. One of the effects of the IoT on marketing is that there is a need to adapt to the evolving ways in which consumers are searching.

Conclusion

Our current digital environment has allowed the objects we surround ourselves with to perform smarter functions, therefore allowing the Internet of Things to closely integrate with our lives and provides us with convenient, personal experiences. Because of this, businesses are discovering that these connected objects hold great potential to gather data on consumer behavior, advertise more relevant product, and build a personal relationship with customers — which will only improve the landscape of the IoT in the future.

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