The first thing CMOs need to understand is that the IoT era isn’t an incoming trend to prepare for — it’s a reality that marketers need to start leveraging as soon as possible.
With that being said, here are five things CMOs need to know about approaching IoT marketing.
1. Consumer Attention Is Diversifying
When desktops, tablets and smartphones were the only three devices being used, online consumer attention was concentrated through web browsers. If you could hone your website’s SEO, you’d claim a sizable chunk of consumer attention just from Google and Yahoo searches alone — but times are changing fast.
Today consumer attention is fragmenting across different channels and devices. A successful brand now needs a prominent presence on Google, as well as across social media platforms, Amazon Alexa, smartwatch apps and so forth.
And this fragmentation is only just beginning. As we ready ourselves for the flood of IoT devices to emerge over the next decade and beyond, only brands who are truly prepared to deliver their content headlessly (and thus, to any channel or device), will survive and thrive.
2. Real-time Data Collection Is a Thing
Marketers can now use IoT devices to get data in real-time. Devices such as the Apple Watch, Fitbit, and Nike Fuelband are allowing marketers to get all the data they need, the instant that data becomes available.
For instance, remember that IoT refrigerator from earlier in this article? The manufacturer of that refrigerator will be able to track things like milk usage and purchases in real time, giving them data that they would never have been able to access before the IoT era.
3. With More Accurate Data, Comes Super-Targeted Ads
Instead of relying on surveys, focus groups and outdated information, marketers who glean data from IoT channels can get accurate data directly from customers as they use their devices.
Deon Newman, Chief Marketing Officer for IBM’s Watson Internet of Things, told Forbes Magazine that IoT offers “a huge opportunity” to marketers, as IoT gives them “a conduit directly to their customers.”
“Teams can see exactly how a customer is using a product, what specific features they are using and which they are not. Just pure facts without any bias or the risk of perception misguiding the feedback,” Newman said.
With that uber-accurate data, paired with existing demographical data, will help marketers run ads that are targeted like never before.
4. The Sheer Amount of IoT Data Is An Issue
As the previous two points indicate, the IoT era is going to bring about more consumer data than we ever thought possible.
The timely nature of GDPR will help (read: “force”) brands to govern their data correctly, but that doesn’t mean it will be an easy task. IoT devices, particularly once IoT marketing gets into full swing, will produce untold terabytes-worth of data every single day.
How will all of that data be stored? How will we govern it within GDPR standards at such scale? How do we keep it all safe? How do we begin to process and understand it all? These are all big questions being asked by the world’s biggest brands and data processors.
5. IoT Plays Nice With Social Media
When Facebook and its competitors emerged, many CMOs and marketing managers were at a loss as to how to integrate it into their pre-existing strategies. But now that you have your social presence in place, adopting an IoT presence is relatively easy.
Wearable fitness devices for example, are built to publish daily exercise logs to Facebook and Twitter. Similarly, your Alexa Skill could invite users to share information on LinkedIn — or your smartwatch app could automatically set your employee’s Slack status to “Out of Office” when they leave the workplace.
That kind of integration is what the IoT technology is built for, so marketers can get creative, especially when you factor in platforms like IFTTT, which can help integrate devices and processes even further.