The Personalization and Optimization of the Internet of Things

In my previous post, I explored how the Internet of Things is disrupting marketing. The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way we access the Internet and engage with our environments — from the workplace, grocery store and kitchen to the gym and doctor’s office. By turning almost every object and location into an interactive, individualized digital touchpoint, IoT is testing and expanding our marketing methods.

Networked objects can offer more than convenience, responsiveness and data. The Internet of Things promises to deliver unprecedented personalization for consumers and optimization for brands. The IoT’s key potential is the capacity for companies to transform user interactions and grow deeper, more-invested customer relationships.

Connected Devices Create Conversations, Not Just Messages

Imagine a world where each item on the store shelf or rack is networked. When you grab a bottle of laundry detergent, it displays a message with tips for getting your whites even whiter or a discount code for your next bottle. But it doesn’t end there. As Niall Murphy writes for AdAge:

At the crux of IoT discussions for digital media is a rather simple, yet entirely disruptive, concept — that individual physical products can become their own media platform for brands. In other words, a connectable product … can act as its own media channel — operating alongside TV, mobile, magazines and other media channels — and tapping into consumer behavior to create an entirely new form of CRM through physical objects.

This entirely new form of CRM, or customer relationship management, is one in which companies have an even more direct and immediate touchpoint with customers in the form of their own goods. Rather than waiting for customers to call a customer service rep when they have a question, reps can speak to customers from the moment their path-to-purchase begins.

Brand and customer interactions become increasingly seamless and concentrated to one touchpoint instead of spanning the complex omni-channel journey that digital marketers must navigate today. In a way we’ve only dreamed about before, the IoT unites the digital and physical customer experience, collapsing the online/offline divide to converse with customers in the store, at home, and through connected apps and devices.

The IoT Unleashes New Forms of Data and Insight

One of the most significant distinguishing features of the IoT is its ability to deliver “fast data.” Fast data is the convergence of multiple data sets streaming from customer to company at high velocity in real time. The billions of connected sensors and objects that are expected to emerge over the next five years give marketers live insight into customer pain points, market trends and more. This will enable brands to use extremely minute and specific data to set themselves apart from the competition.

For example, a fashion brand that markets to young urbanites can give their campaigns laser focus with smart clothing and accessories such as the Ada + Nik Narrative Leather Jacket. The jacket features a built-in Narrative Clip camera to regularly and automatically gather photos and location data. Armed with this data, a fashion brand could speak to its granular markets with location-specific offers and messaging.

With a real-time lens on customer behavior, brands across industries can stop guessing at the best time to blast emails and post content and instead engage customers who they already know are paying attention.

The IoT Increases the Business Value of Personalization

The IoT shifts focus from the object itself to the web-based service that the object connects its users to. When comparison shopping, consumers will place less value in the physical product and more in the connected sensors and digital services offered. A refrigerator, for example, may be evaluated on how personalized, convenient and extensive its mobile app is. Can I check my phone on the way home to see if I need to pick up milk? Will I get a text alert when my orange juice has expired? Does the fridge self-regulate its temperature based on the contents on its shelves to maximize energy efficiency?

Now, more than ever before, personalization is the product. This presents a challenge for many brands that will have to pivot and adopt a services-based business model. It also presents nearly endless opportunity for creating and marketing new digital-service offerings that bring increased value to existing products. Customers who have owned their fridge for several years may be enticed by a competitor’s newer, more-advanced model. However, you can continually upgrade your digital services with deeper personalization to compete without necessarily needing to manufacture a new line of product.

Personalization in the age of IoT will “leverage the fact that the product is in place to offer a richer overall value proposition to customers.” Whether it’s a coffeemaker, treadmill, medicine bottle or television, users will expect the highest degree of relevance, responsiveness and convenience.

Personalized Experiences Across the Everyday IoT

Personalizing your venture into the IoT relies on highly responsive methods of collecting and analyzing user data. To analyze the rush of new data and effectively apply real-time insights to marketing decisions, companies need powerful, responsive and adaptable IoT analytics platforms. Marketers and marketing technology must be prepared to meet the challenges of IoT and continue evolving.

Adobe Marketing Cloud now allows marketers to reach IoT devices with support for everything from digital-content testing to optimization and personalization of IoT services. Adobe Target delivers real-time content to diverse, everyday touchpoints like appliance screens, car dashboards, ATM machines and more. Don’t meet the IoT revolution unprepared: Start investing in the business value of personalization now.