Adapt to a world where IoT is everywhere.
IoT, as it’s often called, is the network of the many internet-connected devices in existence. This network is growing, as everything from household appliances to large-scale infrastructure gains the capability to connect to the internet, gather data and communicate with other connected devices.
Here’s what marketers should do to prepare for and adapt to a world where IoT is everywhere.
New Opportunities Will Necessitate Innovation
IoT will present marketers with a range of new opportunities. To keep up with the competition and because old techniques will no longer be effective, marketers will need to come up with new ideas quickly.
When everything’s connected to the internet, everything has potential use for marketers. They could either use it to gather data about consumer habits or to connect directly with consumers. If a lightbulb is about to burn out, for instance, it could notify the users via an alert on their smartwatch and send along a coupon as well.
IoT will also provide more opportunities for contextual marketing. If a billboard can connect to the internet, it could change based on real-time conditions. For instance, marketers could give the sign access to weather data and have it advertise an amusement park when it’s bright and sunny but a movie theater when it’s raining.
This contextualization could even apply to the individual level. Marketers will have access to more data on prospects they can use when connecting with them. Generic marketing personas won't be necessary anymore since you’ll have in-depth information about individual leads.
Managing Data Will Become More Challenging
The amount of data is growing exponentially. It at least doubles every two years and is expected to increase by 50 times between 2010 and 2020. In the coming years, IoT will play a central role in this data growth.
That data contains a lot of insights that could benefit marketers, but as its volume grows, it becomes more difficult to gather, organize, store and analyze. IoT data presents unique challenges because it comes from so many distinct sources.
For marketers to take advantage of IoT data, they’ll need to have robust data management systems in place. Marketing is already heavily reliant on data, and maintaining and regularly upgrading the data systems should be a top priority. Firms that don’t start building their data processing capabilities will struggle to keep up as the volume of available information swells.
Feedback Will Be Constant
The constant connectivity of IoT will give marketers continuous access to feedback from their targets. In the past, focus groups and customer surveys helped to provide direction to strategies.
In an IoT-fueled future, marketers will get feedback directly from advertisements and from the products they market to clients.
They’ll see whether customers engaged with an ad and whether it led to a sale in real time. Business will also get insights into how people use their products. This will tell them what features people like and dislike and enable them to more efficiently respond to customer service and tech support requests.
To utilize these capabilities, as well enable contextual ads, marketers will need to make flexibility a central part of their strategies.
Privacy Issues Will Loom Larger
Privacy and cybersecurity issues are not going away any time soon. The more data there is, the more opportunities hackers have. IoT provides many benefits but a lot of risks as well. Marketers have to keep this in mind at all times.
The cybersecurity industry is rising to meet this challenge. It grew by around 35 times between 2004 and 2017 and is expected to expand by 12 to 15 percent year over year through 2021. Still, it's a constant push-and-pull between cyber threats and cybersecurity.
It’s crucial today, and will become even more essential in the future, that marketers prioritize cybersecurity. It’s another aspect that should become integral to every action a marketing team takes.
Marketing constantly changes with technology and society. Marketers’ next big opportunity and challenge will be IoT, and the shift isn’t as far away as it might seem. In fact, it’s already happening. To that end, marketers should start preparing now for the impact it will have on the industry.