written by Camille Bohrer, Cyrielle Richter and Cécile Jeanne
Mango Heat asked us on our introductory post: “How do you think marketing will adapt to the Internet of Things (named IoT in the rest of our post)?” This feedback came to our attention and definitely deserves its own article, as this topic represents a major turning point in marketing.
If we talk about “Internet of Things”, does it tell you something?
Maybe not, and yet you use it everyday. It concerns all the little objects that become intelligent thanks to Internet. If today, more than 5 billion objects are connected to the Internet, searchers found out that it could reach more than 50 billion connected objects by 2020! They offer infinite opportunities for value creation in the digital age. Let us give you a broader picture: What is IoT? What changes for consumers and which consequences for marketers?
Internet of Things does not ring a bell? Yet, you have been confronted to it for sure.
The ITU (International Telecommunication Union), define it as “a global infrastructure for the information society, enabling advanced services by interconnecting (physical and virtual) things based on existing and evolving interoperable information and communication technologies.”
To put it in simple terms, IoT covers the idea that everything – or almost – will be connected together in the near future. You might be surprised to learn how many “things” are already connected. Smartphones, watches, drones, public transportation, cars, fridge, heaters, roller shutters, and much more! All of these connect people to companies, allowing a permanent interaction with objects and the creation of a huge amount of data.
Today, companies such as Climote or Tado offer the possibility to control the heating system of one’s home or to close shutters with a smartphone. Imagine the next step: Your house could shut off the heating system by locating your smartphone 5 kilometers away from home. Your heating system could adapt the temperature according to the weather forecast.
Other utilizations of IoT concern electronic implants, such as pacemakers, to establish constant contact between the person and the reference center and detect automatically emergency cases.
Let’s come back to some more current use of the trend. IoT is already everywhere: smartphones and smartwatches are the most common devices. But medical equipment, drones and cars are already well developed. Through all these devices, data are collected and processed as part as the Big Data, you have surely heard about.
What benefits for the customer?
Customers of smart objects – whether private individuals or companies – are gaining many advantages from it.
First of all, connected objects are facilitating the use of other devices and more generally the user’s’ life, and can even limit the human error. The possibilities are infinite: a coffee machine starting your coffee when your morning alarm rings, a washing machine choosing itself the right program, an app locating your bus by receiving it geolocalization, or a fridge texting you to remind your to buy eggs.
It can also bring more safety and accuracy, as for healthcare devices. Medella Health, among others, developed a smart contact lense measuring the glucose level in tears and transmitting the information to a mobile phone.
Connected devices can improve security at home, at the workplace, or in public area. A well-known and already widespread example concerns cameras with facial recognition.
It is also possible for consumers to know more about their consumption habits and adapt their behavior easily. Take a object used by everyone: a washing machine. By knowing how much energy and water is used, and if the machine is used at its full capacity, the user might put more clothes in next time or try to use it less often.
IoT for marketers: which consequences?
If IoT is not only simplifying consumers’ lives, but it also brings many opportunities for the marketing sector. Connected objects make it easier for marketers to know more about the behaviors of the customers: what, where, when, how and why the customers are buying or not.
Here we giving you some ideas of how marketing could evolve with IoT.
IoT is allowing an easy and quick exchange of data. No more need of IT professionals to collect and analyse data. Marketers can have direct access to information, allowing companies to know almost right away if a product is selling, if a marketing campaign is beneficial, or simplifying the competitive intelligence. Data can be analysed instantly, and the useful information brought to the marketers hour per hour, minute per minute. As a result, reactivity is being enhanced, and problem can be solved more efficiently. Thus, monitoring sales activities and competition is cheaper, faster, and more exhaustive.
Devices themselves can help marketers eliminate the down time of a customer. A device could automatically send a signal in real time to the company when failing or being broken. The company could then react rapidly and offer to repair the object, or send a mailing with replacement offers.
With this last idea, you certainly see a another possibility of IoT for the marketing. Smarter, and more effective advertising. Indeed, if devices collect behavior patterns, routine, and habits, and communicate with companies, they could personalize ads easily as well as propose more relevant promotional actions. It would be also less obvious as it is today and the chances to annoy the customer could be strongly decreased. On top of improving the click through rate ratio, advertising costs will decrease by suppressing irrelevant advertising.
Let’s take a situation we have all been confronted with. You are looking for airplane tickets to Paris. In the following hours, ads from airline companies, hotels metasearchers and so on pop up everywhere on your browser. Of course, these are personalized and advertises Paris. But you were just checking the prices. This is today.
In the future, you could receive ads aligned with your real needs. If your visit just lasted 3 minutes, it could mean that you were just checking the prices and ads could be less invasive.
Another example. Let’s get back to the washing machine. Your device monitor your daily use of it, and can detect patterns: you are mixing dark and light colors together and you are using liquid cleaning agent. Thus, you will receive ads and promotion for anti-discoloration wipes and liquid cleaning agent, and maybe even a the right moment because your machine knows approximately when you have finish your product, by measuring each dose.
It is also important to point out the development and significance of communities. If today each company understands the role and importance of social networks such as Facebook or Twitter, it is still very new. In the future, IoT will undoubtedly generate new needs and features on these platforms. Companies and consumers will be even more connected together. Marketers should now invest in their communities in order to reach out more customers and retain the current one’s.
We are conscious that this revolution does not come up without disadvantages. Big data are costly, both in time and money. The security, the control of data and the protection of our private life are main issues that still need to be tackled. Many questions arise and remain unanswered yet: who can have access to personal data? for what use? how to control the use of it? how to regulate it?
And you, what do you think about this trend? Which connected objects are you using? Which one do you want to see appear?