The Internet of Things (IoT)

Submitted by DigitalMX Online on Tue, 08/28/2018 - 13:53

The Internet of Things is the Inter-connected World We Live in Today

The digital marketing experts at DigitalMX understand the power of the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT), at its most basic, is the world we live in today, where everything around us, everything we touch, is connected to the Internet and to each other.


The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of connected “things” we use daily, like cars, alarm clocks, lights and appliances, door locks and thermostats, baby monitors and FitBits. They’re embedded with processors, software and sensors that links them and gives them the ability to exchange data. These physical “things” are integrated with computer-based systems, which reside in far-off silos and in the cloud, that cannot be touched and felt.


Maybe we’re not there physically, but we’re there – everything about us is there in those silos and in the cloud.


Is this science fiction-y world amazing in its possibilities? Or terrifying in its implications for privacy invasion and the prospect of stolen information?


Whatever your position on that question, there’s no denying: this connectivity is a wonderous boon for marketers.


The first internet appliance was a Coke machine at Carnegie Mellon University in the 1980s. Using the web, programmers could check the machine and see if cold drinks were available.


The number of IoT devices increased to 23.14 billion in the year 2018  and it is estimated that there will be 30 billion devices by 2020.  The global market value of IoT is projected to reach $7.1 trillion by 2020.  There will be ten times as many devices able to talk to one another as there will be people on the planet!  


According to the Ericsson Mobility Report, IoT devices and sensors will generate 400 zettabytes of data per year. All this sharing of data will transform the way we live our lives.


Marketers can use this data to better understand consumer use and buying habits, so they can deliver appropriately-timed and relevant messages to customer and prospects, to increase engagement, generate leads and improve customer service.

Graph shows projected number of connected devices

Graphic from

Here’s a list of IoT devices we’re already familiar with:


  • a watch that sends your step count to your phone and Facebook page;
  • a refrigerator that senses when you’re low on milk and updates the shopping list on your phone;
  • an oven you can turn on and adjust while you’re driving home
  • a door lock that gives you entry with a passcode from an app;
  • a thermostat that can be adjusted from your phone, no matter where you are
  • digital home assistants like Alexa and Google Home that operate by voice command.


These “things” can listen, see, interact with and record our behavior in real-time.


It’s an exciting time for marketers — especially when you consider how we can use this more connected world to promote our products.


Data-driven Marketing, Real-time Customer Data for Advertising & More


Marketo, a digital marketing industry watcher and data analyzer, outlines the ways marketers will use IoT, as follows:


  • To analyze customer buying habits.
  • To gather previously unobtainable data regarding the ways consumers interact with devices and products.
  • To get better insight into the buying journey and in which stage of it the customer is.
  • To provide real-time interactions, Point-Of-Sale notifications and targeted -- and even fully contextual -- ads.
  • To quickly resolve issues to close sales and keep customers happy.

More Data is Great for Marketers


Knowing when people are using products and what else they might be doing at the same time means we can specifically direct marketing programs to them. More data means smarter interactions, and smarter interactions mean more conversions.


With access to a wider range of information from various sources, digital marketers can generate a better understanding of the customer buying journey from start to finish, from when they enter the sales funnel until they drop into the bottom of the hourglass.


For example, marketers can know when a customer’s interest in a product begins – at the top of the sales funnel – and follow their buying journey, up until the point of purchase.


Because it is based so much around making things easier and more efficient, the IoT provides plenty of opportunity for you to create repeat customers. From washing machines that let you know when to order more detergent to light bulbs that tell you when to restock, IoT products themselves make ordering easy.


Here’s how Marketo explains it:  more connectivity leads to more data, leads to smarter data, leads to more relevant campaigns, leads to more customer engagement.


As technology becomes more established in users’ daily lives, the scope and depth of the data available continues to increase.


With increased access to customers, marketers can find new ways of communicating with them to answer questions and create a connection at an earlier stage, rather than having to wait until a purchase is made.


All the data generated by the IoT means marketers can provide more personalized service than ever before imagined. Consider a location-based, helpful message that makes your customer’s life more convenient, and includes a perfectly time promotion? Now that’s communication customers love.


A Change in SEO


Your website should already be optimized for mobile search, but SEO in the Internet of Things is different.


Thanks to the IoT, SEO is experiencing a shift, from keyword-based to language-based content searching.


You must be optimized for the new way of searching by incorporating into your content how voice searchers will search for your products and services, using “natural” language.


The increasingly frequent use of AI technology, like Siri, Alexa, and Google Home, means that “search engines strive to understand the intention of the user as opposed to honing in on a keyword.”


IoT Data is Changing Contextual Marketing


Think about the context in which your audience might now find your content. They are probably cooking, exercising, shopping or driving, rather than sitting in front of a desktop computer.


IoT devices generate extraordinary amounts of data, so every customer interaction allows marketers to capture consumer intent, behavior, needs, and desires. This makes it possible to serve contextually relevant marketing messages at the most optimal place and time.


Based on data received from IoT devices, we'll be able to deliver timely notifications to consumers when they’re in the market to purchase something, rather than waiting for them to show interest.


Marketers Can Deliver Timely, Personalized Messages


The ability to deliver timely, personalized messages at the exact moment it’s needed and/or wanted, to the appropriate device where it will be seen, is transforming digital marketing.


All information about your location must be up-to-date, as geo-based search is increasingly common in the IoT.


For example, using data collected from a FitBit and location data collected from GPS, digital marketers can deliver fitness product messages or emails when the user is near an advertiser’s store, like a smoothie restaurant.


Marketers can use offline purchases, coupled with location data from IoT devices in a brick-and-mortar store, to target recent buyers with an upsell email or asking for product feedback to post on social media.


Privacy & Security Concerns


We can expect more privacy and security regulations focused on protecting consumer data.


The Internet of Things connects billions of devices to the internet and involves billions of data points; they all need to be secured. In addition, it’s up to developers and companies to minimize security risks involved with this massive amount of data storage, tracking, and analyzing.




The Internet affects our everyday behavior, some activities we know about and some we do not.  Since all of our behavior and life is now interconnected, marketers can access every aspect of our lives to offer us what we want -- or what they think we want – or what they want us to buy.

If a consumer presses the same button repeatedly on her coffee maker, gets no coffee and angrily tweets about the experience, IoT marketers can analyze that behavior, address the consumer’s dissatisfaction, order a replacement, and talk to product development about a solution for why the machine failed.


For further reading on IoT


Target Marketing Magazine: What Marketers Need to Know about the IoT

Digital Marketing Institute: How the IoT is Disrupting Digital Marketing

Forbes: How the IoT is Changing Online Marketing 6 Predictions for the Convergence of IoT and Digital Marketing