So is the “Internet of Things” another buzzword to put in the bank? Is it a better buzzword than omnichannel, hyperconnectivity or SoLoMo? It’s not as catchy, but the concept is definitely here to stay. The fact that all sorts of electronic digital devices are emitting all types of data, from behavioral to maintenance to productivity metrics – and are reporting back to brand headquarters on device effectiveness is a good thing. Embracing digital data collection is imperative for marketers. But why – what will brands get from this data and more importantly, how will it affect the “brand to consumer” experience – especially from a marketing and service point of view?
I believe that the data coming from the Internet of Things (IOT) will improve marketing in three ways:
- the delivery of contextually sensitive offers
- a decrease in inbound engagement times
- the eventual end of batch style marketing
Crank up the Context – Digital marketing software vendors today are pitching the concept of collecting customer level data – that is information about individual customers across digital and social channels. Marketing is evolving from channel level data collection (time on webpage, page views, etc.) to customer level data collection (what customer X did on page Y) to digital device data collection (collecting customer level information across all devices, regardless of channel). The fact of the matter is, customers do not know channels—they know devices. My iPhone has many channels—social, phone, text, email, etc.—but is a single device. The better brands can become at collecting device data for use in marketing campaigns the happier consumers will become. This device data, when appended to a customer data profile, will help brands deliver more contextualized and relevant offers.
Less time with the CSRs – Imagine this scenario. You contact a call center to explain a service issue with a consumer electronic device. Instead of having to go through a long-winded story of the issues, what you think the diagnosis may be, etc. the customer service rep knows your issue because of the data the device is relaying to them. As a result, they can offer options to repair or replace the device and the call time is cut down to a matter of minutes. Even better, perhaps you received a notification (email or text message) that forewarned of a consumer electronic failure and scheduled repair or replacement of failed part. IoT and digital device data collection will enable this feat.
Bye Bye Batch – My favorite way that the IoT will improve marketing – the elimination of batch, outbound mass marketing. You know what I’m talking about. Spam emails from wireless companies, credit card direct mailers, retail catalogs, etc. The more data that brands have about their customers – the more relevant their messages can become. If my Google Nest thermostat is set to 80 degrees in the middle of June, then it’s probably a good sign that I am travelling and not spending time at home. Therefore, it wouldn’t be appropriate to send me unsolicited marketing offers for local rounds of golf, local restaurant coupons, etc. – as I can’t consume those offers. All of this will be enabled by the IoT. I know this evolution will take time, but as it gains momentum and batch marketing eventually tapers off – you will see the trust levels between consumer and brand increase dramatically.
So the IoT is here to stay. As a consumer you have two choices – either disengage or embrace the data your devices will emit. As a digitally connected millennial, I am all for bettering the user experience between human and device. More relevant marketing offers, less time on the phone, and no more batch marketing are all things I can get behind.
Jonathan Moran is senior product marketing manager for SAS Customer Intelligence Solutions.