The IoT, or Internet of Things, refers to the collective body of connected devices around the world. The heart of the IoT is smartphones, which have well surpassed mainstream adoption, but it goes far beyond that. The IoT includes a plethora of connected devices from connected vehicles to devices with RFID tags, to connected beacons.
It is estimated that there are currently 15 billion connected devices in use, and that number is expected to climb to 50 billion within the next four years. Some experts believe that as many as 98 percent of all physical items will eventually be made connected devices. Business uses for the IoT range from tracking goods in transit to monitoring manufacturing processes to keeping up with fleet vehicles and remote workers. How will these technologies revolutionize marketing in the years to come?
New Ways to Understand Customers
How do your customers use your products? Where do they use them? For how long? How often? The ability to track and monitor products in use with the IoT gives you insight into their behavior and use patterns. This improves your ability to market to them by giving you direct insight into your buyer personas. This data is also powerful for developing new products that better meet the customers' needs and for finding new use cases for your products that you can use to develop better marketing messages.
New Ways to Provide the Right Products & Services to Customers
The connected devices that are part of the IoT generate constant streams of data. While the ability to collect, secure, process, and utilize all of this data is another subject entirely, suffice it to say that marketers will be able to find many new uses for the information. But the IoT is really a 2-way street. Not only can it deliver information back to the marketer, but the marketer can use the IoT to push messages out to customers. The challenge here will be to do so without getting annoying. It doesn't take long for customers to get tired of alerts and notifications. Marketers will need to find ways to deliver timely, relevant, helpful messages to their customers so that their IoT devices will be a welcome addition to the customers' lives.
New Ways to Connect With Customers
When done correctly, this 2-way messaging is a powerful way to connect with customers and personalize messages like never before. Picture a world where printers never run out of ink and toner, because the printers can order their own supplies. Image a universe in which trucks notify their maintenance departments that they need new tires or an adjustment to their emissions control device. Assembly lines that can troubleshoot themselves and alarm systems that can make sure their own batteries get changed regularly -- these are just a few of the potential uses for the IoT. Each marketing department will have to develop the smartest, most appropriate way to utilize this technology to connect with, service, and satisfy their own customer base.
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