Google made more than $89 billion dollars in revenue in 2016, Amazon $136 billion. These companies (and others) revolutionized their industries by taking an existing platform (the web) and maximizing its marketing potential. Such fantastic opportunities exist again thanks to IoT. Now you can take a basic IoT infrastructure and maximize its value via up-selling and cross-selling to consumers. Much like web technologies, IoT-driven marketing treats each user as unique and delivers a personalized experience that both increases sales and enhances loyalty over the long term.
Behind the scenes . . .
Before we get into specific examples, let’s look at what makes the ‘Marketing of Things’ tick. IoT allows smart devices to gather immense amounts of sales data that later can be processed automatically, without the need for expensive IT intervention. When coupled with customer relationship management (CRM) tools, you can generate instantaneous customer analysis that can lower buy cycle times dramatically — customers get exactly what they want, when they want it. And IoT ideally is suited to social media, enabling automated posts and shares created by enabled devices. This fact is especially significant as research of brand marketers showed that 74% of respondents saw substantial increases in traffic after only investing six hours per week in social media efforts. Imagine your devices socially active 24/7.
Some real world examples
There are a wide variety of ways to maximize up-selling/cross-selling opportunities with IoT. Here, we’ll just focus on a few.
- Interactive, self-serve kiosks enhance the customer experience unlike ever before. Potential buyers can get the information they need up front, similar to researching via the web, without ever speaking with a salesperson. And that interaction can be highly customized, even to the point of reacting to weather conditions—kiosks could offer a ‘flash sale’ on rain gear if a storm suddenly appears. All of which creates ready-to-purchase customers that empower human salespeople to be both more effective and more profitable.
- Personalized offers and coupons, already widely prevalent on the web and elsewhere in ‘primitive’ forms, take on a new sophistication with IoT. Smart vending machines, in-store displays, and even home appliances can harness customer data for a positive sales impact. Sensing a customer’s past purchases (and even preferences based on social media interactions), an aisle kiosk instantly could generate coupons and limited-time offers for that specific shopper. Similarly, an IoT-enabled home printer could generate ink coupons and ordering alerts (via text or email) when replacements are needed. Of course, such detailed interaction in both scenarios would require prior consumer consent—otherwise such marketing efforts would be treated as spam.
- Smart cameras, when used in accordance with privacy laws, can generate unique insight into customer behavior and responses for things such as shelf/display placement, special offers, and even smart kiosk effectiveness (how many people walk by versus interact). This data then can be utilized in a variety of ways, including delivering a better customer experience (“this store knows me!”), maximizing inventory management (removing a product if customers are walking past it, or moving it to a higher/different traffic area), and segmenting demographics (a family of four traditionally buys the following items, a single person different items).
- Creating long-term relationships are something many marketers don’t focus on, but are a key benefit of IoT-enabled devices. Relationship building is a different animal than revenue-driven up-sells/cross-sells and, as Facebook has proven, people love it. For example, rather than generating a coupon, a kiosk could send a text to the user’s phone asking them to join a free club (sponsored by the store) where other like-minded customers share ideas, tips, etc. Or the kiosk could generate information without any ‘agenda’ such as, “Did you know there’s a jazz concert in the mall today at 4 p.m.?” if the customer had indicated a previous interest. Such efforts create stronger brands and fierce customer loyalty.
The IoT industry is just starting to flex its muscle, and that means it’s an ideal time to get in on the ground floor. Implementing solutions that enable up-selling/cross-selling opportunities and relationship building are a great way to start. Best of all, IoT gives you amazing flexibility to try campaigns or other ideas and alter them on the fly. There is little or no additional investment required as with traditional marketing (creating signs, store displays, etc.), and the payoffs could be substantial.
For many more ideas on how to monetize the IoT, visit Aeris / Neo.