Even a casual visitor to Amazon.com or your standard big box technology store would have noticed a particular development lately: an explosion of internet of things (IoT)-based products and services.
In a nutshell, one could define this IoT expansion as the increasingly close integration of the online and physical worlds. Think of an alarm system in your house that you can monitor and turn on with an app, or the Fitbit that helps you gain muscle and lose fat, or the inventory control system that lets you track your product through warehouses and stores via RFID chip technology.
As Business Insider’s BI Intelligence division notes, increased web connectivity, widespread adoption of mobile devices, the availability of low-cost data sensors, and increasing investment in developing IoT technology has revolutionized the field. According to BI’s projections, there will likely be 24 billion IoT devices installed by 2020 across a broad range of industries.
Merging IoT data and marketing
Much of the IoT data gathered is ripe for harvesting for marketing purposes.
As Marketing Land states: “For a retailer, this information can be particularly valuable for assessing how best to communicate with a consumer. Are they more of an introvert? Then they might not enjoy being approached by a sales representative in-store. Do consumers like to do their research before they purchase? Then maybe it would be best to push some links and helpful recommendations their way.”
The IoT’s potential benefits run two ways. It offers game-changing new opportunities to gain better consumer insights by gathering data from smart devices to enhance existing information about consumers (such as daily activity patterns). And in the other direction, data from smart devices can allow for better messaging to consumers by providing new platforms to connect with current and potential customers.
For a real-world example of the latter aspect of IoT marketing, look no further than Amazon’s Alexa, the digital voice assistant that allows users to purchase products through the e-commerce giant.
Building an omnichannel experience
Key to this approach is identity resolution, the ability to tie those online and offline records back to actual human beings. Doing so—in a way that is both ethical and respectful of consumer privacy and security—can open new doors for marketers while improving the overall customer experience.
In a study published in late 2016 by the IAB, 62% of U.S. adults own at least one connected device, and “almost two-thirds (62%) of connected device owners report having seen an ad on their device.”
Perhaps more interestingly, “more than half (55%) of consumers are willing to receive ads on their devices in exchange for coupons/discounts, extra features, or access to exclusive games.”
This is how the potential for IoT data in your marketing strategy could result in a truly omnichannel (as opposed to multichannel) approach. Rather than simply messaging through various information and purchasing channels, your message follows individual consumers across many channels—both online and offline—throughout their interactions with your brand.
IoT devices draw in data from a wide range of digital and physical world sources and allow users access to your products and services in whichever way works best for them.
Combining the data from these devices with first-party data would open the door for highly targeted people-based marketing—marketing that would find the right person at exactly the right point in their journey.
IoT data may be new, but it’s never too early to start laying the groundwork for the data-driven and people-based marketing tactics that will make it a powerful tool for an omnichannel experience.
Learn more about how identity resolution powers omnichannel engagement, or brush up on 50+ key terms all data-driven marketers should know.