We are using more and more connected products everyday. Smartphones were the first piece of technology that enabled us to carry the internet to wherever we go. Today the internet is no more a “computer thing” thanks to wearable technologies like smartwatches and IoT products like connected air conditioners.
Before diving into the effects of IoT products on the world of advertising, let’s talk a little about the concept of the Internet of Things.
Here is Wikipedia’s definition of IoT: “The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the network of physical objects—“things”—that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet.”
As you can understand here, IoT is not only the products that connect to the internet. It’s the whole system that enables all these products to work in harmony.
In 2020, there are almost 20 billion active IoT products globally.
It’s All about Data
We all know that Don Draper’s good old days in advertising are long gone. Sitting around a table and taking insights from consumer research is something we don’t do anymore. We have more sophisticated tools to collect data about people we want to reach.
As smartphones produce more data signals then personal computers, it was already a breakthrough in the advertising world. Now, IoT gives us lots of new data signals.
Marketers Will Be Overwhelmed
Data is something that makes marketers smile. And having more data must be something valuable for every marketer at least, on paper.
But in reality, data means nothing on its own. To make it valuable, data must be converted into information… That’s the basics of marketing research.
To be honest, as marketers it’s hard to say that we’re making most of the data we get from personal computers and mobile devices. And adding new devices, so more data signals, into this system will make everything more complicated for us. It’s already really complicated.
Technology changes quickly but humans need time to get along. Finding a solution to a technology problem is much easier than designing new working systems to adapt to new technology.
So, there is a problem for marketers today. And this problem will remain the same for IoT: “What the hell will we do with all these data?”
Collecting healthy, clean, and legit data is a problem. Dealing with different aspects of this problem is relatively easy. Marketing companies, technology firms, marketing organizations, NGOs, and governments are already struggling with these problems.
But transforming data into meaningful information is another game.
Persona to Person
As marketers, we are familiar with the concept of persona. Persona is a fictional character we create to have a better understanding of different consumer clusters we want to convince.
Creating personas for any kind of marketing campaign is not that different to create “target audiences” in conventional marketing.
Creating personas is an obligation for a marketer since marketing efforts must be manageable. Personalization of a marketing campaign for 4 or 5 personas is something doable for most of the marketing organizations.
But grouping consumers into smaller clusters is not exactly the most effective way to reach them. Because everyone is different and has different needs, there is a different way to convince everyone.
IoT will give us lots of data to talk to our consumers “personally”. But the interpretation of data will be the key here. After finding effective and ethical ways to collect data, we must find a meaningful way to process and use this data. This way, so we can customize our messaging in our campaigns to match each consumer’s personal needs.