How the Internet of Things is changing online marketing
In essence, the Internet of Things simply involves internet-based communication between everyday devices, e.g. your trusty toaster, and other objects, animals or people through unique identifiers that enable them to send and receive data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. It employs cloud computing technology and is linked by networks of data-gathering sensors. Analyst firm Gartner predicts that there will be about 26 billion Internet of Things devices in circulation by 2020, which translates to approximately four devices for every person on Earth. To stay ahead of the competition, many companies have pivoted their focus towards the Internet of Things and are increasingly integrating it with their marketing strategies, especially those in the digital and online sphere. Let’s take a look at how the Internet of Things is changing online marketing in the most profound manner.
Creates better user experiences
The ubiquity of smartphones – or any other mobile device, for that matter – plays a big role in creating a more dynamic user experience for users. For example, if you had purchased a rice cooker some time back and misplaced the instruction manual, all you need to do is to scan the QR code sticker on the rice cooker with a QR reader on your smartphone. It will open up the company website where you can search for the right instruction manual for your rice cooker model. This way, you don’t have to rummage through your drawers to look for the physical copy of the instruction manual and prevent mishaps resulting from improper use of the rice cooker.
Another example of how the Internet of Things features in online marketing would be in its ability to connect customers’ online accounts with in-store POS systems. Many stores these days have a reward system where you receive points for making a purchase. These points, when accumulated, can be used to obtain free products and services once the minimum number of points required is met. When paying for purchases at the counter, the cashier will be able to obtain the exact number of points you’ve earned thus far through the POS system, which is connected to the internet. You will then get to redeem your free item instantly at the point-of-purchase with no fuss. Customers are usually very appreciative of this and will usual become return customers!
Feeds marketing data
Any seasoned marketer will be able to tell you that one of the keys to successful marketing is to have data on your target market. Marketing automation software developer Marketo defines the relationship between data and consumers succinctly: Connectivity leads to higher levels of data, which can be mined to get more insights into customer behaviour, enabling the marketer to design more relevant campaigns, which ultimately lead to more customer engagement. Of course, marketers must first be able to obtain the data required to analyse their customers – this is enabled by the many gadgets and devices that we use today. To illustrate, fitness technology product Fitbit can do more than just track your daily activity levels. It not only keeps track of how many steps you take each day, it also records the number of calories burned and the distance walked. As the device is connected to the internet and can be synced with the mobile app on your mobile device, all this information can then be used by marketers to inform you of products and services that are specific to your lifestyle and interests. As the Internet of Things becomes a common feature today, the scope and depth of data available to marketers continue to grow, giving online marketing a big boost in terms of effectiveness.
Fuels demand for convenience
A big part of keeping customers happy involves providing them with a measure of convenience for a pleasant shopping experience. Marketers today are increasingly privy to the fact that in today’s fast-paced world where most people are pressed for time, convenience is a welcome respite. Thus, more and more companies are incorporating delivery services into their repertoire of offerings, giving customers everywhere the convenience of ordering products from the comfort of their own homes. For example, products that are advertised on internet-enabled TVs allow customers to place orders for products or services over the internet and have their orders delivered straight to their address of choice. Additionally, home security devices are now connected over the internet and are designed to contact the local police beat base and inform the house owners of any suspicious activity detected, thus saving homeowners the trouble of doing so themselves.