3 Questions That The Internet of Things Raises for Marketers

As our devices go online, Cisco forecasts that the Internet of Things (IoT) ushers in a $14 trillion revenue opportunity for businesses that successfully navigate the shift towards hyper-connected experiences. The issue, though, lies in the fact that the IoT is such a new phenomenon that figuring out how to find new opportunities to pursue can be tricky.

With the growth of connected devices, several questions still remain around how data management and user experience tie into the connected experience. In this blog post, we’ll tackle three of the biggest questions that marketers face in the IoT:

1. How do you securely manage and use the data created by the IoT?

With the total volume of big data across the globe already in the zettabytes, the need for efficient, dynamic storage systems is greater than ever before. When it comes to storing large volumes of consumer data, traditional IT infrastructures lack the elasticity and scalability of cloud storage systems. In other words, cloud storage models allow easy access to data by multiple users and are equipped to handle massive amounts of data.

In addition, businesses that span across channels can allow stored data to be accessed easily by keeping it in a centralized location. Unifying data this way makes it easier to scale your efforts and reach the right users at the right times.

2. How can you build connected experiences that matter to your users?

Once you have the right technologies to efficiently store and manage your consumer data, you need to think about ways to tie this data to the overall brand experience. When done right, a connected experience should work seamlessly from channel to channel. In other words, users should be able to stay connected to your brand and enjoy a consistent experience from one device to another.

Use Case: Nike’s FuelBand Vending Machine

Nike brought the FuelBand experience to new heights by installing a vending machine in the middle of New York City stocked with Nike goods. It then used its social media channels to drop hints about the exact location and purpose of this vending machine. FuelBand wearers that successfully locate it can redeem their FuelBand points for Nike socks, shirts, hats, and more.

For a truly connected user experience, you’ll want to invest in a solution that consolidates all the behavioral data you’re gathering on your users across your channels into one place. You should make sure your solution carries the following features:

  • High Security and Performance – Because you’re handling volumes of sensitive data, you want to ensure that your solution is proven to work in high-scale enterprise environments. Some product features to look for include Safe Harbor Certification, ISO27001 compliance, PCI-approved scanning, real-time data backup, and self-owned hardware.
  • Automation – With so many users interacting with your brand at any given time, it’s impossible to manually direct the data capture and management process. You’ll want to ensure that your solution automatically pulls their data in and makes it readily available to you.
  • Fully Indexable Data – The big advantage of collecting user data is that you can use it to inform your brand strategy and marketing efforts. Going along these lines, you’ll need to invest in a database that sorts and displays this data in a way that’s easy to understand and pull segments from.
  • Integratable with Existing Systems – To take your data strategy a step further, we recommend investing in a data management system that integrates with the business applications and marketing software that you already use. This will enable you to connect data insights to your marketing campaigns and business processes.

3. What are some ways that the connected experience can be enhanced to nurture engaged customers?

For a truly comprehensive IoT strategy, you want to look into ways to collect your users’ actual personal data, which includes intel like their interests, friend graphs, email addresses, profile pictures, and more.

When you connect the behavioral data gleaned from the users’ interactions with your brand with their personal data, you get a complete, accurate picture of your customer.

Let’s return to Nike as an example. When users register for an account for its Nike+ Running app, they are presented with the option to authenticate their Facebook accounts for a more convenient, faster login process.

Here’s how it works: Social login allows users to register with and sign in to your business’s web properties using one or more of their social media accounts, also known as a social identity. Users who log in to a website using an existing social identity are essentially granting that website permission to access their first-party social data such as full name, interests, education, social connections, email address, location, and much more. This lets you begin capturing the user insights that will drive your brand experiences and marketing campaigns forward in a secure, safe manner.

Putting Users Before Devices

As important as technology is to the IoT, your users should ultimately be at the center of your strategy. After all, they’re the ones consuming, vying for, and interacting with your brand.

Consider these words from Co-Founder and CMO of IoT software provider Evrythng: “The more you interact with a product, the more of a direct digital relationship you have with the brand. That is a huge shift in how products work and puts the brands alongside retailers in their relationship with consumers.”

In a nutshell, all great companies understand that strong consumer relationships are the lifeline of their business. The IoT helps facilitate these relationships in a completely new way by introducing a variety of platforms and technologies that consumers depend and rely on on a day to day basis.

To learn more about how to effectively tie your marketing strategy into the IoT, download the free guide.

By Emma Tzeng