Guest post by Ronita Mohan.
IoT and it’s B2B incarnation, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are also changing facets of marketing, a trend that is set to grow in the next few years.
Though still in its infancy in the digital marketing world, IoT technology is now common in new residential construction and renovations. It may be only a matter of time before marketing begins to rely heavily on IoT devices for campaigns.
Here are five ways that IoT is already changing how marketing works and how it is improving brand-consumer relations.
We suggest creating a process infographic template for marketing teams to note how and when to use IoT-connected devices to boost their outreach efforts.
Marketing automation is becoming an integral part of business structures—and with IoT- connected device purchases increasing, the use of automation is likely to expand and evolve.
With the kind of marketing automation software now available, marketers can rely more on software to complete basic and repetitive tasks, freeing up their time for more strategic work.
IoT helps marketers connect a variety of tools so they can speak to each other without human intervention.
For instance, email marketing tools trigger automatic responses when a customer completes a purchase; confirmation emails establish the relationship and can prompt further sales.
Additionally, the email tool can be programmed to act if a filled cart is abandoned before checkout, sending the customer a message reminding them to complete the order.
By using automated software, businesses can often capture sales that would otherwise have been lost.
There are IoT customer relationship tools that assist marketers through the entire process of setting up long-term partnerships with clients and consumers.
These tools can be programmed to trigger different responses depending on the relationship status of a customer.
For example, if a customer is at the awareness stage of buying a product, they will require more information and incentive to click on a link or to complete a purchase.
On the other hand, an established customer might only need a reminder of the kind of products available to finalize a sale.
With IoT automated marketing tools, businesses are better equipped to establish long-lasting relationships with customers and to increase repeat purchases.
2. Customer Service
IoT is changing the way businesses and marketers handle customer service and improve customer experiences, most noticeably through the rapid implementation of chatbots.
A growing share of business websites now have a chat window that appears every time a user visits a page. Businesses are also incorporating chatbots in social messaging apps.
With IoT cloud services working concurrently with these chatbots, businesses can receive information about the user’s tone of voice along with their queries.
This ensures that conversations between the customer and the chatbot—which is seen as the voice of the company—sound (at least somewhat) authentically human and plausible.
People don’t want to talk to machines, which is the primary reason why so many early chatbots failed. But with natural language processing (NLP), chatbots can feel (more) human.
Engaging in meaningful interactions enhances the customer experience, increasing the chance that the customer will return to that website.
IoT devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Now are geared towards answering customer queries immediately, enriching the way they interact with businesses.
Additionally, wearable devices like the Apple Watch track consumers’ daily actions, information that can be used to tailor when and how business services are triggered.
And IoT devices can also ensure that businesses can learn of customer pain points before they happen or equipment that needs servicing. With consistent tracking, the device can notify brands of an issue before it flares up.
Customer service powered by IoT is more efficient, effective, and creates longer-lasting brand-customer relationships.
3. Consumer Data and Analysis
All modern businesses rely on data, and IoT is making it possible for marketing teams to collect information never available before.
Through IoT devices and connectivity, businesses can now access data about consumers’ environments and locations, as well as their behavior.
Wearable devices, smart refrigerators, smart homes, and IoT smart speakers are constantly collecting data about users’ movements, decisions, and pain points.
This data can be used to create efficient marketing campaigns that are tailored to answer the needs of customers.
But while receiving information is integral for propelling marketing strategies, solid data governance is necessary to analyze it and use it to set measurable goals—as well as to assure regulatory compliance and avoid crossing over into being “creepy” with data use.
As marketers know, while IoT provides more tools to collect data, actionable analysis take time and energy. Software developers are trying to address the shortage of analytics talent by making their products simultaneously more power and easier to use.
Analytics tools like Google Cloud, ThingSpeak, and Zatar enable marketers to analyze data quickly, making it easier to build strategically-defined campaigns.
Using data visualization, like in the example below, the information collected can be used to build reports that will further empower marketers to create targeted campaigns that convert.
With data analysis, marketers get a deeper insight into their customers’ needs and behaviors, which helps them build strategies tailored for individual users.
Until fairly recently, mass marketing was aimed at reaching as many people as possible, with the same message. That’s now dead.
Today, if the message doesn’t suit the recipient, they won’t acknowledge it, and it may even negatively impact the brand’s reputation.
There is a focus on personalized marketing strategies gained from using customer assessment tools—and now IoT is playing a part in making this method more effective.
With the data collected and analyzed by IoT, marketers are able to see their customers more completely.
And this understanding helps them personalize their content to be more impactful—not just to send an email with the customer’s first name but to tailor the email copy and links for them.
Marketers can build landing pages that are specifically designed to appeal to the needs and concerns of each customer. The same goes for paid advertising and customized newsletters.
Data will help marketing teams alert customers at the right time to make the most of a purchasing opportunity.
Location data can be used to send customers notifications about products or services when they are in close proximity to the business, boosting the chances of sales taking place.
The significance of IoT on personalized marketing can already be seen from the related products that appear during customers’ searches online or when they visit retail websites.
With the data collected from IoT devices, brand websites can retarget shoppers according to their needs and frame of mind at a certain point in time.
The more personalized a marketing campaign becomes, the better its results will be. Better understanding and addressing customer needs also builds brand loyalty.
5. Product Development
No amount of advertising, no matter how good, will convince people to buy things that don’t add value to their lives. Well, in most cases anyway.
Products and marketing need to be customer-centric and promise a positive change to their lives—and IoT can help companies develop the products that consumers will want.
Businesses can learn about the requirements of customers from the way they use existing IoT products.
Extrapolating from there, the product team can determine what strengths and weaknesses the product has, and what features are most likely to attract new buyers.
For instance, IoT software and hardware that are too tightly integrated—such as a wearable device that only works with one kind of phone—reduces the potential market size. Creating a device that syncs with several phones will immediately open it up to a larger customer base.
Another useful outcome from using data collected from IoT devices is that product developers will know what not to create.
Not every device needs to be connected to the internet—knowing what products can do without connectivity will allow developers to focus on items that would be useful to customers.
And with connected products being created with customers’ needs in mind, marketers will be better equipped to promote the product knowing how to articulate those benefits.
IoT is still in its infancy as a marketing tool, but we are already seeing strong results from marketing through connected devices and collecting data from them.
To recap, here are five ways IoT is already changing the face of marketing:
- Better marketing automation software
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Data collection and analysis
- Personalization of campaigns
- Product development according to customer needs
The more connected devices are created for the world—and the better marketers become at analyzing the data they generate—the more efficient marketing campaigns can become.
Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, the online infographic maker and design platform. Ronita regularly writes about the digital world, marketing, and small businesses. You can follow her and @Venngage on Twitter.