How the IoT could make marketing more personal

By | 2 minute read | September 21, 2016

leadspace image of woman shopping reflecting how IoT might influence personalised marketing

The IoT has the potential to change the way that advertising works, making marketing more personal, more relevant, and more timely.

Effective marketing requires a good understanding of customer base and a decent customer relationship management (CRM) tool to gather and organise data. While a CRM tool and traditional marketing approaches can serve adverts based on age, residential location and previous buying patterns, they alone cannot capitalise on real-time consumer impulses and buying opportunities.

This means that there are missed opportunities for both customer and buyer. Alternatively, customers are simply served adverts that are at best unrelated to their current needs, and at worst totally inappropriate.

Timely and appropriate marketing

Connected devices and the IoT create could enable companies to understand how individual customers interact with them in real time. That means finding out what they buy, when they buy it and where they buy it – and consequently what incentives might be most appreciated.

Take an imaginative leap for a moment and pretend that I’m a keen gym goer. I wear a Fitbit to help keep track of my activity level, diet and sleep patterns, and on my way home from the gym I pop into Tesco to pick up something sensible and nutritious for dinner. Wouldn’t it be great if, knowing all this, Tesco could ping me a voucher for half price fruit and veg before I reach the till?

With the IoT, a timely and handy offer like this is possible. It relies on knowing something about my diet and exercise patterns (thank you, Fitbit), and being able to locate me in real time. This time it’s iBeacon – Apple’s technology standard – to the rescue. iBeacon allows Mobile Apps to understand their position on a local scale, and use that information to deliver contextual, useful content to users.

So in other words, if I’m hungry and standing in Tesco, I won’t get a voucher for Sainsbury’s instead.

Striking a balance

From the customer’s point of view, IoT may be able to deliver adverts that are more relevant, more time-appropriate, and more interesting. From the marketer’s point of view, it provides a rich context for understanding how customers interact with a company, and a means to help incentivise the buying journey for individual consumers.

So it seems like everyone’s a winner, as long as the volume is kept in check. Nothing can sour a relationship like neediness, and overkill on the communications front can wreck customer relations. Having said that, a better understanding of an individual customer’s wants and needs could help tailor the volume of communications to their particular preferences too.

Interested in what the IoT can do for your company? Take a look at this great introduction to IoT for businesses.