According to the estimations by Gartner, the base of an installed Internet of Things units will grow to 26 billion by 2020. Do we understand that prediction in all its seriousness? Forecasting the future is not an easy thing to do. We get different numbers by different experts, but one thing is for sure: this is a big trend and it will keep growing.
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to everyday devices with an Internet connection. The term excludes PCs, tablets, and smartphones. It refers to things like vehicles, doors, refrigerators, washing machines, lights, wearable technology… you get the picture. The Internet is getting omnipresent in every single aspect of our lives.
What Does IoT Have to Do with Marketing?
What does the Internet connection of your refrigerator have to do with online marketing? How is it changing the practices of marketing experts? It’s all about data.
IoT elevates the users’ expectations of convenience. As marketing experts, we need to use the data we get from these devices in a way to meet those expectations. It is important to properly adjust marketing strategies to the standards that this trend imposes. Big marketing data is getting bigger, and we have to find the right ways to use it.
Think about it: if a student is using a connected graphics calculator, a math service can get data from their behavior. They will understand what students struggle with, so they can tailor services in accordance with their individual needs.
Let’s get into the specifics, shall we?
How IoT Changes Online Marketing Strategies
- We’ll Shift to Creating Actions Instead of Links
Amazon Echo, as one of the biggest IoT devices, is a good example of a huge trend related to this technology: operating off of voice-recognition software. This means that the user can turn on the device and practically communicate with it. Hence, they can get answers to their questions just by speaking up.
- Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa voice service to play music, set alarms and timers, check your calendar, weather and sports scores, manage to-do and shopping lists, control smart home devices, and more-instantly
- Connects to speakers or headphones through Bluetooth or 3.5 mm stereo cable to play music from services like Amazon Prime Music, Saavn and TuneIn
- Includes a built-in speaker so it can work on its own as a smart alarm clock in the bedroom, an assistant in the kitchen, or anywhere you might want a voice-controlled computer
- With seven microphones, beam-forming technology, and noise cancellation, Echo Dot hears you from any direction-even in noisy environments or while playing music
- Controls lights, plugs, and more with compatible connected devices from Philips, Syska and others
What does this mean for marketers? Well, the era of link building and guest posting may not be over yet, but we’re definitely anticipating a shift in content marketing practices. Instead of providing answers in the form of written content, we will focus on promoting actions. As people start using this technology to buy things online, marketing experts will have to focus on such actions.
- Keywords Are No Longer that Prominent
Keywords will face the same future as hyperlinks. Since IoT is changing the way people get their information, it’s important to start providing such information in multiple formats. We’re already seeing less keyword and more essence emphasis in Google Search. That trend is only expected to grow, and IoT influences it greatly.
- Marketers Will Value Customer Experience Even More
The most important role of IoT is providing the ultimate customer experience. It’s improving the way different products meet a user’s needs. We’re seeing how these users interact with their devices, and we can translate that to the way we do our marketing.
Connected devices will be able to track consumer behavior in sophisticated way. The users will expect to see intelligent product recommendations based on the way they interact with these devices. As a marketer, you will have to target individuals and solve real problems related to the way they use their devices.
Let’s say someone’s car is connected to the Internet and they realize they have to change the oil ASAP. Wouldn’t it be great for the car to direct the driver to the nearest auto repair and maintenance service? That’s the kind of real problem and real solution we’re talking about.
- Data Is the Main Focus
Through IoT, we’ll be getting more data than ever before, and we’ll getting it throughout the entire consumer buying and usage cycle. Online marketing will be launched to a whole other dimension thanks to data-based insights. We’ll be able to target demographics more specifically and more successfully.
How will we use that data? For more effective marketing campaigns, of course! In fact, we’ll be able to target the consumer during each stage of the buying cycle. Then, we’ll map out their journey and we’ll analyse where they are interacting with our brand the most. Also, we’ll identify the channels receiving the most engagement, and we’ll focus the IoT marketing efforts on those specific channels. Thanks to IoT cars, for example, an owner of an auto maintenance service can engage in targeted marketing that attracts real customers their way.
- We’ll Be Targeting Individuals
In addition, with IoT, we’re getting access to a single customer view. With this, we can analyze past behaviors with the intention of offering a more targeted and personalized service. In The Pursuit of Data-Driven Maturity report by Econsultancy from 2016, personalization and content optimization were top priorities for marketers. However, only 20% have an actionable single customer view based on data collected from individuals.
In other words, we haven’t seen the full effect of personalized marketing just yet. IoT opens tons of opportunities for us to expand its potential and finally start targeting individuals the right way.
Everything Is Related to Online Marketing
Are you still wondering what your air conditioner or refrigerator has to do with online marketing? It’s clear: everything has something to do with marketing. Each action the target consumers are engaged with gives us data we can analyze. Currently, the IoT is a big trend. We can’t correctly predict how big it will get, but it’s certain that it’s getting deeper into everyone’s lives. The consumers are getting the experience they need. It’s up to marketers to monitor that experience in different stages and use the information for improved promotion of products and services.
So how do you start on this journey? First of all, get informed on IoT. Then, start mapping out the journey of your customer and get all data you could possibly analyze. Focus on delivering specific solutions to real problems, and continue getting some more data you could measure. That process never ends.
Welcome to the new stage of online marketing. IoT is slowly, but surely changing the way we do our work.