What the Internet of Things means for marketers

Written on 04 January, 2016 by Lisa Shannahan
Categories MarketingTags email marketinginternet of thingsmarketingonline marketing

From smart fridges to lighting systems, everyday objects are moving into the future and syncing to the web. As more technology starts communicating with the online world, marketers will be challenged to create new ways to reach clients and enjoy the opportunities offered by the Internet of Things (IoT).

Unleashing the potential

Advanced technology and the IoT will make it possible for marketers to tap into their audiences and discover more about their requirements, likes and dislikes – this will be invaluable in allowing them to personalise products for individual clients. By offering clients what they really want, businesses could find it much easier to improve their return on investment (ROI) and keep buyers happy.

As clients share data with their devices and enjoy the convenience this offers, the more likely they are to stick with the same brand. This is demonstrated by the kind of loyalty they tend to exhibit towards banks or mobile phone providers, when switching to another company is often more inconvenient than sticking with one that has the business history on record and can offer a personalised service.

Looking forward

The ability to gather data about how products are actually used once they are on-site with the client has the potential to inform future product developments for brands and opportunities for cross-selling. It could also be used to target special discounts or promotions to loyal brand owners.

To engage with clients, marketers will need to find ways to demonstrate the convenience and tangible benefits of sharing data – for example, highlighting the way a smart fridge can tell when you're running out of milk and automatically order more from your preferred supermarket. Or the way an air conditioning and heating application may allow you to control the temperature of your office remotely to save energy and ensure comfort.

Privacy implications and problems

However, there are some big questions that need to be considered regarding these new marketing ploys – particularly when it comes to privacy. What will companies do with the data they are able to collect, and how will it be policed? To ensure businesses don't use collected data in unethical ways, there must be some constraints placed on its usage. Companies collecting information may also need to implement some serious upgrades to their current security and methods of filtering information.

Governments across the world have been looking for the appropriate solutions to ensure businesses’ rights are not affected and that collected data is used appropriately. It's expected that the IoT will be a game changer for businesses of all shapes and sizes in the coming years.