The internet has transformed every aspect of our lives in recent decades. Not so long ago, the average person did not have a personal computer in their home, much less internet connections that allowed almost instant access to the world’s knowledge. Now the Internet of Things (IoT) has multiplied the Internet’s reach by empowering everyday objects such as thermostats and refrigerators with this advanced technology.
If you are in marketing, you can use IoT to craft your product messaging and deliver it to your target buyers. You need to reach consumers where they live, and most are living in a world full of sophisticated internet devices. As a result, your IoT marketing strategy requires a tech-savvy and consumer-centric approach.
What is the Internet of Things?
In the most basic of terms, the Internet of Things (IoT) refers to things, or physical items, that contain hardware and software that allow them to connect to other devices and systems using the Internet. These “things” range from kitchen appliances to medical devices to industrial equipment. The power of the Internet continues to simplify your life and enrich it by continually improving associated technology. Right now, the medical device on your wrist may monitor your blood pressure or heart rhythm and allow you to share that information with a provider. Your phone can track your location and share that with loved ones. Heavy industrial equipment can alert you to maintenance issues it self-detects. When you harness this power in marketing, you can see incredible results.
How Does IoT Work in Marketing?
IoT simplifies your marketing efforts by recognizing what the consumer needs and reminding them of it. A sophisticated refrigerator may recognize that you need milk and text you the best buys on milk in town. Your insurance company may use your phone to track your driving habits and then alert you to behaviors that are dangerous and costly. In this way, they make you a better risk for their company. Your Internet of Things marketing effort can be built into your products, making your job easier and more effective.
IoT Successful Marketing Examples
Internet of Things marketing is not new. Clever companies have already used it to raise their profile and attract new customers, often in startling ways.
Among the 2022 Superbowl ads was an unusual offering from Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange platform. The one-minute ad consisted of a QR code moving around a completely black screen with disturbing music in the background. Tech-savvy viewers knew to hold their phone cameras to the code, which then directed them to the Coinbase website. Once there, they were offered $15 to sign up with the company and download their app.
This ad brilliantly targeted Coinbase’s preferred consumers and drew them in with a cash reward. Those perplexed by the ad were unlikely to be cryptocurrency clients, so their confusion was not a negative for the company.
Walgreen’s IOT Ad Displays
Walgreens may not strike you as a cutting-edge company, but it has already tested digital coolers that can aim pertinent ads at in-store customers. The company placed cameras and sensors in the coolers that worked with face-detection technology to pitch products based on gender, age, weather, etc. A tween might be shown sales on soda, while an adult might see a beer ad. If it was snowing outside, the display might direct consumers to gloves and rock salt. This use of IoT at the point of purchase was revolutionary.
Brands Teaming Up
The IoT has given brands unique ways to link campaigns. One prominent example is the joint Uber/Spotify effort. The two companies let their customers connect their Spotify accounts with Uber’s app. They could then access their music playlist through the Uber app, which meant they could listen to their favorite songs during their Uber trip. This partnership enhanced customer experience and brand loyalty for both companies.
Geofencing for Targeted Ads
The ubiquitous smartphone is an obvious marketing device. Geofencing occurs when a consumer’s smartphone GPS is used to map their location and send them personalized ads from nearby stores. You can send them coupons or simply alert them to sales. In either event, geofencing is an effective way to target consumers.
Burger King capitalized on this method by sending “Whopper for a Penny” ads to consumers within 600 feet of local McDonald’s locations. They got one up on a competitor and reached hungry customers who were likely to respond.
Diageo’s Smart Bottle
Back in 2015, Diageo earned its IoT stripes by launching the smart bottle. When a consumer bought a Johnnie Walker Blue Label bottle, they would get personalized messages via printed sensor tags readable by their smartphone. This effort is considered a prime example of post-purchase marketing.
Essential Factors for Marketers in an IoT-driven Future
Staying competitive means staying abreast of technological breakthroughs. IoT is not new, but IoT methods are evolving quickly, making it easy for your company to fall behind tech-savvy competitors.
Of course, understanding IoT and using it successfully are two quite distinct things. Every IoT effort must be targeted at your consumer base in a way they will use it. Younger people are more open to technology as a whole and have many IoT devices. Older generations may have IoT devices that they do not fully use. Be sure to thoughtfully construct your marketing campaigns so that your consumers will enjoy their convenience. Your efforts should not cause your customers to work harder than they do now to receive discounts and product alerts.
A Final Word
Marketers should embrace iot solution and services because consumers expect them now. Plus, they allow a high level of creativity in your campaigns. Your Internet of Things strategy should make use of new technology and extensive consumer data.
IoT in marketing is not simply an option to consider. You must incorporate it into your marketing efforts if you want to retain and grow your current consumer base.