The Internet of Things: A New Frontier in Digital Marketing, Right Around the Corner

Smart homes, smart cars and smart everything else – from CAT scanners to toaster ovens – are becoming more and more common. These days it feels like every little part of our lives is about to become connected to the great hub of information.

It’s a fact that our exposure to digital reality is increasing with every passing day. According to Gartner, Inc., a technology research and advisory corporation, there will be nearly 20.8 billion devices on the internet of things by 2020.

It’s a wide-open frontier for digital marketers, offering more possibilities for exposure than ever before. To succeed in this new world, you can’t think of the IoT as just another ad tech campaign tool. It’s set to change forever the relationship between customers and brands.

How the IoT will expand advertising reach to all aspects of life

It sounds futuristic, but the Internet of Things is already at our doorstep. Just check out the Diageo Johnnie Walker Blue Label smart bottle. The technology enables manufacturers to track bottles’ movement through the supply chain, in stores and up to the moment of consumption. Each bottle is equipped with OpenSense tags which support sensor integration. To find out whether the beverage you’ve bought is authentic, you only need to tap the bottle with an NFC smartphone. And it doesn’t stop there. With a tap, you can access cocktail recipes, add personalized messages if the bottle is a gift, and collect loyalty points.

Then there’s Gooee lighting. Bulbs installed with LED chips detect motion, ambient lighting and temperature, and the bulb’s own life expectancy. It’s ready to suggest replacement or extended warranty opportunities. From FitBits to Tesla smart cars, the internet is expanding into every aspect of life. Wherever this connection goes, there’s an opportunity for digital marketers. What better time to offer an ad for engine oil than when your car detects low levels? An ad for new vacuum cleaner filters when your vacuum is clogged? Or an ad for a new, bigger fridge when yours is consistently overfilled?

The possibilities are endless.

How advertisers can make the best of the IoT

The IoT will be useful for customers, manufacturers and marketers alike, as it will be easier and faster to track changes in trends, the shipping and the manufacturing process. On a deeper level, it marks a change in the relationship between customers and advertisers. Your product doesn’t stand alone – it’s part of the wider network of your customer’s life. These are the main points that advertisers need to understand as we move onto the IoT:

  • Data: As more devices are connected to the internet, the size and scope of data is going through the roof.
  • Time-specificity: Hand in hand with this explosion in data, the internet of things will allow marketers to offer their product as a solution to a specific problem that the user faces at that exact moment – whether it’s an electrolyte beverage for dehydration or a local mechanic for their broken-down car.
  • Products aren’t just products: Andy Hobsbawm, CMO of EVRYTHING, suggests we think of IoT products in three ways: as media (you can interact with them using tags and smartphones), as services (products that learn or perform other tasks, like those light bulbs that double as motion detectors), or ecosystem (making connections with other apps, products and services).

Think how your product integrates into the whole ecosystem of the customer’s life. When will they decide to buy it? What do they do with it once they’ve bought it? What other products does it relate to? What services does it offer?

Your customers’ lives are increasingly mobile and linked to social media. With the IoT, you can meet them exactly where they are, integrating your advertising into their flow.


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