How can marketers ride the wave of the IoT?


The Internet of things (IOT) - which refers to ‘a network of connected objects able to collect and exchange data’[1]  - is progressing from science fiction to omnipresent reality. Smart watches, VR headsets, fitness tracking devices, mobile health monitoring, intelligent packaging and a range of Wi-Fi -enabled household items are already part of our day to day lives. But this is just the beginning! How can marketers tap into this market now and win the IOT revolution?

A fast-growing trend

According to a projection from Gartner, “there will be 6.4 billion internet-enabled “things” worldwide this year and nearly 21 billion by 2022. [2] Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Amazon, Cisco Systems, IBM and all the others: the number of players involved gets larger every month and the rapid adoption by consumers worldwide is hard to ignore.

From a media perspective, the impact that the IOT has on media coverage, advertising spending and consumer habits is noteworthy.

IoT ownership

For example, Kantar Media’s data reveals that close to 2,8 million households already owned connected devices at the beginning of the year[3]. Moreover, the data saw a regular increase in ownership growth over the last year, surging 20% in just the last 6 months. The first half of 2016 was also a record-breaking period in terms of advertising expenditures, with twice as many brands concerned as last year[4].  

That’s not all: the IOT's media coverage worldwide is overwhelming, not only in the media but also in the mainstream media. TV/radio programs are increasingly dedicated to the Internet of Things, not to mention the social media venues, like Twitter, which are awash with posts and tweets about it. Kantar Media’s data reveals there were over 340,000 mentions on Twitter from August 17 until August 24, in just one week! 

IoT twitter

Become data collectors

Up to now, gathering data on the usage of a product was often impossible. By connecting their products, marketers now have a wealth of customer information at their disposal. Despite the issue of privacy, marketers can take advantage of the unprecedented amount of data being shared by users to get to know them better.

Where are my customers in the buying journey? What stage can I improve upon and why? Between social media, product sensors, wearable apps and other platforms, all digital signals can be now captured in real-time to anticipate needs, predict trigger points and determine the best ways to reach them. New solutions are available to help connect data from every sensor, device and interaction to gain an even more comprehensive understanding of customers. Aligning the buying journey is now a real-time dynamic route. Beyond email, web, social, mobile, with IOT the whole paradigm is shifted as customer interactions are everywhere.

With IOT data collection, brands can also understand how and why their services/products are being used, how they reached the household, etc. Valuable data about how people interact with devices and products offscreen is available in the form of measurable data in all disciplines and sectors. For example, retailers can use this data it to better understand shoppers’ needs (beacons, interactive displays, virtual closets, smart mirrors, connected cameras…). Healthcare organisations can collect patient-generated data to predetermine future medical care needs, provide guidance on life improvements, etc. Insurers can capture customer data by connecting to cars and homes and provide quotes tailored to individual behaviours. Harnessing this data presents an opportunity for for-profit and non-profit companies alike to deepen their analysis of customer buying habits.

iot omniscience

Become experience leaders

In the end, how can marketers leverage this torrent of data and insights? Above all, by improving user experience. Finally! Brands can segment their customers according to the use they really have of their products. From smart diapers and glasses to intelligent Coca-Cola vending machines and door sensors - every object using connected services or even virtual reality will provide an opportunity to improve immersive user experience.

Customer service can also be improved through IOT. Real-time data gives brands the opportunity to quickly resolve issues to close sales and keep customers happy (level of consumption, good condition of use of a product, etc.). For example, a sensor in your coffee machine determines that the coffee is running low and automatically reorders through an online subscription service. Another example is the Netflix service called “Switch Netflix”: a button that automatically starts your Netflix queue, silences your phone, controls your lights or orders food, giving subscribers the ability to get everything they need for a movie night with just a touch.

The idea of content is also changing. Engaging customers means delivering relevant content in the right context. What device is the person interacting with? Where is the device located? Why is the person interacting with this device? CRM can serve as a bridge between digital and physical worlds to trigger action in real time, generating higher conversion rates than any other channel that we know today. Our watches, fridges and mirrors are serving us news, advice, recipes, entertainment… Marketing strategies are built around what people actually want – not simply what your brand wants to say.

This also takes advertising to a new level! Advertisers not only have access to a wide variety of new channels and devices but they can also engage in highly contextual and tailored ads with customers, to maximum effect. In short, the Internet of Things provides plenty of opportunities for brands to improve their relationship with the consumer!

IOT relationships

Become innovators

With IOT, marketers can develop an innovative brand at the cutting edge. The simple fact is that if a brand does not evolve by keeping abreast of market trends and the latest technological innovations, it can damage its reputation in the industry. Adopting a connected object is also a good way to attract a new digital audience and rejuvenate the existing relationship with targeted clientele.

For example, thanks to a range of innovative IoT devices, Samsung has positioned itself more and more as a technology pioneer. Recently, Gwen Jorgensen, the world's best triathlete, had been preparing for the Olympics by using a Samsung Gear VR headset. She used it to learn every bump and turn along the cycling route in Rio. The company’s top marketing executive, Noreen O’Leary, even declared a few weeks ago that “[her] biggest challenge [was] to obtain more share of mind from millennials.” And she added: “It's crucial for us to keep our Samsung Galaxy brand as a young and fresh mindset.” Samsung just announced that the company will spend $1.2 billion over 4 years for U.S.-based Internet of Things (IoT) R&D and investments.[5]

tgi consumerAlso, launching a connected object is an opportunity to reach an audience which is attentive, always on the lookout for new products, and good consumers. For example, Kantar Media’s data reveals that users who own a connected device are consuming more media than average through almost all types of channels - even if social media, online music and online video are their favourite ways of engaging with them.   

So, get out there, leverage IoT for your brand and let us know what you think!

[2] Source : eMarketer
[3] Audience targeting based on declarative data (15-year-olds and older)
[4] Source : Kantar Media


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