The internet of things, or IoT as it is affectionately called in the digital marketing industry, has been a buzzword used by digital marketers for years now. Some say it's going to positively revolutionise the way digital marketers do their jobs, while others feel it might be pushing the boundaries of what invasion of privacy means. Regardless, the internet of things is here and we, as digital marketers, need to be aware of the opportunities and challenges it presents. This article defines the IoT, and looks at three ways digital marketing will be changed by it:
What is the internet of things?
“The internet can be looked at as a global collection of interconnected networks,” says Lisa Schneider, managing director of the Digital School of Marketing. “So, when we refer to the internet of things, we speak of how things, which people use in their day-to-day lives, are becoming more interconnected.” For example, laptops and smartphones and gaming consoles and televisions can be connected to each other and share data through a Wi-Fi network or Bluetooth connectivity.
While it might sound like science fiction, we’re already at the point where air conditioners, fridges, lights and kitchen appliances can be controlled with a few swipes on a smartphone or tablet. Not only are the things we use becoming more interconnected, but they are also able to access the internet, which opens up a new frontier of opportunities for digital marketers.
Three ways IoT will change digital marketing
With all devices and appliances soon to be sending and receiving information over the internet, digital marketers now face a completely new set of challenges, and opportunities, to fulfil the needs of their audiences in ways never thought possible:
1. End-to-end experience optimisation
In the past, marketers were only able to interact with customers throughout the promotional process. “Now,” says Schneider, “they have more opportunities to engage with customers and optimise the experience.” If we take a coffee machine as an example, digital marketers will now have the ability to send customers notifications throughout the product usage cycle, like when their beans are running low or when the machine might require maintenance.
2. Enhanced search engine optimisation
Search engine optimisation (SEO) has in the past been largely concerned with optimising online content using keywords that users might type into their search bar. “However, the internet of things is changing the way people look for information online, as they move from typing queries towards issuing verbal queries (like when interacting with Google Home or Siri),” says Schneider. Digital marketers will need to focus more on optimising content for natural language processing (NLP) when performing future SEO activities.
3. Accurate product usage data
With so many household devices interconnected and communicating via the internet, the amount of usage data that digital marketers can collect will increase tenfold. In the past, marketers could only gather information such as when a device was purchased, how many of those devices were purchased and, perhaps, when they were handed in for maintenance. Now, if we take the coffee machine, as an example, marketers will be able to see data like how many cups of coffee a household consumes in a month, when the machine is turned on and off, how often the system is being rinsed, etc.
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