Does your marketing team have a strategy for the Internet of Things (IoT) yet? If not: now’s the time to start. Michelle Hoyle, Head of IoT Marketing at Vodafone, explains why.
If you think that IoT is just for your IT department to worry about, or your R&D teams, think again. IoT has the potential to transform every pillar of the marketing function, and that’s true whether you sell B2B or B2C, products or services. As marketers, IoT can solve some of our toughest challenges:
Creating entirely new commercial propositions
IoT gives us the opportunity to use our imagination and offer our customers more than just a product sale or a services contract. We can start to price a service based on usage or outcomes in much more sophisticated ways, which aligns more closely with what buyers are looking for.
Take our recent project with Porsche in the Netherlands, for example. Using IoT data and a connected app, a group of friends or colleagues can now club together to share a new Porsche, paying for just their share of usage. For many drivers, this will be the first time their dream car will be within reach; for Porsche, its addressable market has just grown exponentially.
Finding differentiation in competitive markets
In highly competitive industries where companies are constantly looking for a way to differentiate their offerings, IoT is enabling fresh new ideas. Not only is it enabling you to add new features or capabilities to existing product categories — like smart meters, or connected security cameras — it’s enabling the creation of whole new product categories.
One fascinating example is an agricultural product called Moocall. It’s a wearable for pregnant cows. It tracks their vital signs for indications that labour is imminent and alerts the farmer so they can be ready and waiting. It saves the farmer from wasted trips—including unnecessary late night visits—and can help save calves lives.
Building deeper, lasting customer relationships
Every marketer wants to build strong relationships where the customer doesn’t just come back, they stay engaged and bring their friends and family too. IoT is a key component to making that happen. When products are connected, both you and your customer can check in on their status and usage, book preventative maintenance, access relevant offers, and so on. The customer gets better service and is more likely to recommend your products to their network and you can differentiate against the competition and address any issues before they affect loyalty
Take Kärcher for example. Its commercial cleaning machines are used in offices and facilities around the world. They’re connected, enabling Kärcher’s users to manage servicing needs, optimise utilisation, and track each piece of equipment in real time. Customers no longer see Kärcher as just a manufacturer, they’re a partner that can help users get more from their equipment. And as Kärcher gathers more data on how people use its machines it can offer better advice and improve new product development.
More agile, effective promotions
Even if you’re cynical about IoT’s potential to transform your products, pricing or commercial relationships — there’s little doubt that it’ll change how we all sell and promote our offers to customers. Connected signage, in retail stores or in the outdoors, can stream up-to-the-minute offers, tailored to everything from the weather to the demographics of the customers walking by. Mobile point of sale equipment enables store assistants go straight to the customer and offer help or take payment without buyers having to queue. Outside the store, data from cameras and sensors can give advertisers powerful insights into shopper footfall. And, as IoT devices start to appear around our homes, offices and vehicles, they’ll provide new touchpoints for advertising to consumers.
If this sounds like IoT is only for B2C businesses to use in selling, don’t be fooled. We’re working with companies in all sectors to give field sales teams IoT connected devices so they can take orders and access information while on customer sites.
Over to you
Ultimately, underpinning all of these opportunities for marketers is the fundamental value that IoT delivers: new and better data to understand our customers. We can gather much more insight on how customers use our products and services and how they respond to different communications - all in great detail and real-time. Combined with analytics tools and marketing automation this can enable a degree of personalisation that we could only dream of a few years ago and elevate marketing effectiveness to a whole new level. The challenge for us marketers is to shape this new relationship between our business and its customers, building consent and trust.
To find out how businesses are using IoT to transform their businesses take a look at our case studies or to talk to us about your options, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 0044-7444-325-793.