The team here at Bluetext will wind 2015 down with significantly more Internet of Things (IoT) domain expertise than when the year began. Several clients are playing a key role in shaping the future of this nascent technology – one that is sure to touch more consumers, businesses and government agencies in 2016.

Digital marketers are typically not “Naughty by Nature,” but given that Gartner projects a 30 percent increase in the number of connected “things” next year, it is a safe bet that we will be down with IoT. A study conducted by 2nd Watch earlier this year found nearly six in 10 U.S. IT and business executives leveraged IoT/machine data for digital marketing, though the majority (two-thirds) acknowledged these efforts were in the initial stages.

While the Internet of Things presents a massive opportunity, tapping into it won’t be easy. Marketers, already struggling to stay afloat amidst a sea of data, will find that the exploding number of IoT sensors has them drowning in it. Sure enough, data volume is no longer the problem; it’s being able to analyze data and extract meaningful insights from it that will drive successful marketing and advertising campaigns. Capturing and analyzing this data will place an even greater premium on having the right digital marketing tools to automate as much of this process as possible.

As agencies and brands gain a handle on the data volume, look for the Internet of Things to unlock several new digital marketing opportunities in 2016.

  • Use IoT for marketing to user behavior patterns – Smart home technologies such as connected thermostats and smart fridges offer marketers an opportunity to reach consumers at the right time and with the right message. Thermostats and home energy management mobile apps empower marketers to tap into a wealth of data regarding energy consumption patterns and activity patterns within the home in a way that can trigger marketing efforts around products (HVAC, filters, windows, roofing, etc.). Or consider the sensor data pushed to brands from smart fridges able to recognize the products you buy and supply levels in a way that can feed discounts and coupons at the opportune time and impact brand purchasing decisions in the process.
  • Use IoT to own the buyer journey – The ability to reach target audiences more frequently and with greater personalization throughout the awareness, consideration and decision stages of the buyer’s journey positions IoT to augment traditional touch points such as offline and online advertising, social media, mobile, email, etc. For B2C, smart TVs offer brands a captive audience that can be marketed to before they conduct a product search via Google or in person at the store. For B2B, the ability for technology vendors to understand when printers need to be replaced or cartridges refilled, when warehouse suppliers are running or when businesses are not using energy efficiently can accelerate the buyer journey.
  • Use IoT to pull and push data – At this point in its evolutionary cycle, the great value of IoT is that digital marketers can access real-time information on how business users and consumers use products, when they use them, and what motivates them to do so. 2016 will see the early stages of the digital marketer use case shift from pulling all this data to then using analytics to push information back.
  • Track where wearables are headed – Try saying that five times really fast. Wearables may be among the most hyped aspects of the Internet of Things, and the market trajectory remains uncertain. The Apple Watch sparked a great deal of imagination pre-launch, and as 2015 comes to a close the technology giant – and its customers – are still feeling their way on how these devices can best be used. Internet connected wearables are poised to extend far beyond just watches; from clothing and shoes to augmented reality devices there exists an opportunity for brands and agencies to reach audiences beyond smartphones and tablets.
  • Cars may be ground zero for IoT – Americans drive more than 29 miles per day, making two trips at an average duration of 46 minutes. Those really depressing figures come courtesy of a 2015 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the Urban Institute. For commuters, these numbers are tough to swallow; but for digital marketers identifying the best places to reach target audiences, they are numbers that cannot be ignored. Vehicles are more connected than ever through software systems, and as the vehicle becomes just another data collecting sensor on the move, advertisers and marketers gain valuable insights into when and where people go. The in-vehicle ads become more targeted and valuable, and brands can literally change the course of vehicle destinations based on consumer data.

To learn more about the possibilities IoT offers, contact Bluetext today:

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