success-1093891_640With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), marketing and customer engagement guesswork will become a thing of the past. Connected devices and services are popping up everywhere, delivering data on usage, behaviors, and experiences — as they happen.

Real-time, actionable insights are introducing unprecedented opportunities for businesses to know what to promote where and when, and to whom. Disrupting the way businesses advertise, IoT is paving the way for a new paradigm in marketing.

How IoT is changing the future of marketing

PRECISE: Right audience, right medium, right message

It’s a perfect storm for IoT, as IP address technology has advanced so we can now have a unique identifier “for every atom on earth, and still have enough for another 100+ earths.”

Galactic Connectivity:
“We now have enough possible IP addresses to assign one for every atom on earth – and still have enough for another 100+ planets

Source: IT Knowledge Exchange, TechTarget

That’s insane – and exciting – when we consider that less than 1% of “things” that have the potential for connectivity are actually online.

We’re looking at an endless number of possible connected devices on the horizon, with limitless services that can be enabled through those devices. More contact points —and sophisticated ones, at that— mean marketers can capture more data and fine-tune offerings for the greatest, in-the-moment relevance to add more value for customers.

For example, if shoppers opt in to receive alerts on their smartphones, in-store beacons can send them specific ads and promotions, based on the customer’s preferences and previous purchases. Imagine a world where we receive only those ads that are completely aligned with our shopping behaviors and interests.

IoT is already transforming marketing, customer experience, and businesses as a whole. Give it another five years and these unique opportunities to get close to customers through digital interactions will reach unimaginable proportions.

PREDICTIVE: Knowing what the customer wants before they ask

Countless connections means more data than ever. While this can be overwhelming, machine learning can provide insight into the purchase journey and decision points across the sales lifecycle. And that insight helps businesses build stronger, more profitable customer relationships.

Gaining deeper understanding helps companies better predict issues, and provide preemptive resolution or offer helpful information to motivate a customer’s purchase decision. As data from connected devices and services helps businesses predict customer needs, marketers can capitalize on predictive insights to drive purchases.

Let’s say your connected refrigerator identifies that you’re almost out of milk. Thanks to IoT, on your smartphone you could receive an alert to buy milk, as well as a discount coupon to buy milk at your preferred grocery store.This kind of specialized, needs-based marketing could save businesses millions on irrelevant (and often ignored) advertising.

Consider a similar scenario on an industrial level with smart vending machines. IoT makes it easy for companies to remotely monitor inventory, track popular items, and automate reordering and delivery schedules, ensuring seamless service for customers and greater profitability for vending businesses.

PROGRAMMATIC: Automated advertising

Machine to machine exchange of data, machine learning, and predictive modeling tools are empowering CMOs to think more strategically about how to grow their brand, increase retention, and build customer loyalty. AI/ML algorithms can automate advertising processes, like in the milk scenario above.

You’ve seen it happening already: machines choose the ad banners we see on web pages based on our previous searches. As more and more connected devices and services will have automated behaviors, we’re not far from a time when technology, not humans, will make and apply marketing decisions.

Don’t worry CMOs – this is good news as it may free you up to focus on deeper customer insights and innovate new competitive strategies.

This article is the fourth in a four-part IoT series on our blog.

Bottom line: IoT will make marketing more exact and increasingly automated, and will continue to unfold unique opportunities to transform engagement and customer experiences. The real challenge will be in keeping up with consumer demands and expectations as they rapidly evolve along with their connected environment. So get ready.

Read more in our Internet of Things (IoT) series:
Pt 1: Five things you need to know about the Internet of Things (IoT)
Pt 2: 4 ways the Internet of Things is transforming customer experience
Pt 3: Banking and IoT – The Internet of Things will redefine financial services