The way we access the Internet has changed. Smartphones and tablets have partially displaced PCs, and soon new devices and a proliferation of screens constantly at our fingertips may make your latest mobile device obsolete. Everyday objects, appliances, gadgets and the spaces where we live and work will soon make up the largest “device” market.
Of course, the Internet of Things (IoT) is already here. We drive connected cars, navigate smart TVs, wear FitBits and smart watches and more. But the number of IoT connected devices is expected to more than double in the next five years, making it bigger than the smartphone, tablet and PC markets combined.
The Internet of Things Is Revolutionizing Business
Over two-thirds of consumers say they will buy connected technology for their homes by 2019, and half plan to purchase wearable technology. Several tech leaders have forecast unprecedented growth in the IoT market, anticipating as much as $19 trillion in added global revenue by 2020. By that same year, we expect more than 5 billion people to be connected to the “Internet of Everything” by a multitude of personal devices and screens.
According to a Business Insider report, businesses that are early IoT adopters have already observed its benefits in the areas of customer service, revenue, efficiency and data. The same report reveals that these companies expect IoT to help them make significant strides toward their long-term business goals. Thirty percent will use IoT as a bridge from selling products to selling services, and 16 percent say it will increase customer engagement and satisfaction.
However IoT may impact your particular organization, one thing we can be certain of is that it will allow us to create new, innovative products, services and business models, and dramatically expand the role of the marketer. Think omnichannel marketing is a challenge? Get ready: Soon IoT will make nearly every object and place people encounter a potential marketing touch point.
The Internet Of Things Is Revolutionizing Customer Relationships
IoT improves customer satisfaction and engagement because it tends to be highly personalized, customized and relevant. Just look at GlowCap, a connected cap that screws onto your prescription medication bottles and sends you email or smartphone reminders to take your pills on schedule. It also features a one-push button to instantly order prescription refills when you need them. This is just one example of the coming deluge of IoT products that promise to simplify, automate and enhance our lives.
This focus on the moment-to-moment needs and convenience of the individual is why thought leaders are calling IoT the “Internet of Me.” Adobe’s own Aseem Chandra says: "Sources of content and data that never existed before are now appearing and becoming connected to one another every day. By 2020, 57,000 new “things” will be added to the Internet every second. But soon the notion of “things” will be outpaced by the rapid rise of ... an integrated ecosystem of hyperpersonalized data, content and devices that redefine everything about how we touch and interact with our world."
3 Ways Internet Of Things Is Transforming Customer Relationships
As more and more devices, objects and screens become part of the IoT, marketing technology that can help you translate data into meaningful customer interactions will become increasingly important. Here are three transformations you can plan and prepare for now:
1. IoT will generate vast new sources of user data to “capture, analyze and act on”: Chandra also says that all the newly connected “things” will present new streams of customer data, or signals, for marketers to use. Successfully capturing relevant, valuable data, and mining it for actionable insights, will be a constant, real-time practice. Digital marketers must learn to recognize which signals are most useful, and then harness them to drive ever more personalized online and offline experiences. In this way, the IoT represents a continuous feedback loop of data and personalization.
2. IoT will take digital personalization far deeper than before: The challenge—and potentially the most important transformation—will be to use the IoT revolution to create truly valuable services that people soon can’t live without. Connected appliances and devices will utilize the advancements we’ve already made in personalization—think user preferences, relevancy algorithms, location-based platforms and targeted recommendations—to become hyper-contextual and responsive to the most minute, individual inputs. Remotes sensors and cloud technology will allow companies to capture data from customers’ and users’ personal experiences, analyze it in context, and automatically adapt, or offer suggestions to the user to help them optimize their own experience.
The IoT will be highly granular and individualized, with more brands investing in Netflix-level personalization. Netflix recently created a 300-person recommendation team and, as of a year ago, had 76,897 genres listed. The Withings line of health and fitness products, for example, links a smart scale with a fitness tracking watch, smartphone app and more, collecting data from across all devices to deliver personalized goals, tips and coaching. The smart scale and app even deliver localized weather and air quality information.
3. Everything will be a marketing touch point: The IoT revolution will make it harder to tell where marketing, engagement and customer data begin and end. It will enable brands to interact with and respond to customers with the seamlessness they’ve come to expect online. Imagine being able to reach customers as they browse the aisles of a store, continue the conversation on a smartphone app, reconnect on their home TV screen, and nudge them through a device. Marketers will have access to the entirety of the customer journey, making it easier to motivate consumers from one stage of the funnel to the next. The IoT transformation will demand that brands focus less on particular devices, and more on the ongoing, omnichannel, omnidevice user experience.
Adopt An Internet Of Things Strategy Now To Stay Ahead Of The Curve
Marketing technology that is equipped to meet the challenges of IoT will be more and more essential as more devices connect to the Internet. Leading digital marketing platforms will be focused on preparing marketers to meet the revolution head on. Will you be ready to track and take advantage of the proliferating data streams?
Personalizing the IoT experience, and your own methods of gathering, analyzing, and responding to user data, will be essential to thriving in the new era.