2021 will only bring further engagement with customers from a socially ‘digital’ distance. How brands respond in the new year to ongoing shifts in consumer behavior will be telling of who’s jumping on the next marketing wave and who’s not.
One of the core themes for marketing heading into next year will be a blending of physical and digital realms. The Internet of Things (IoT) will vastly expand the reach of information technology, creating a myriad of possibilities. Most notably, IoT capabilities will enhance the connection between brand and buyer using product lifecycle data. In short, it’ll be a new surge of innovation for physical consumer goods.
To understand the future opportunities of IoT and product-based personalization within marketing, it’s important to understand how we got here.
The Evolution of Marketing
With today's consumers constantly moving across channels and devices, it’s hard to remember the days of old where we reached customers through multiple channels like print, radio, and television. Mass-produced products of 75 years ago pushed companies to only care about sales volume, with no concern for quality or customer satisfaction.
Consequently, in the decades thereafter, companies realized that customers were left highly unsatisfied and that focusing only on their own business’ needs was not sustainable. Welcome: the marketing department. Luckily, this bred a new wave at the turn of the millennium—supplying good customer experiences and creating long-lasting relationships with consumers. This shift in focus shined as the new north star. Search engines became mainstream as consumers relied on the internet for answers to any questions.
By now, the tables have turned where consumers choose to follow the companies they want to hear from thanks to social media, email subscription lists, blog posts, and more. We’re not so much in the age of digital experiences as we are customized experiences. Personalized journeys stem from consumers now expecting a seamless and consistent customer journey—and that’s not going away any time soon.
So what’s next?
The 2021 Approach to Marketing
Because of this omnichannel approach to marketing, IoT technology is having a massive impact on product-based content marketing, leading consumers to continue driving demand for new IoT applications, technologies, and solutions in 2021.
Historically, IoT was once thought of by many as a small connection via a sensor or similar technology, with one-way data collection. Now, IoT is far more advanced. With data being collected from the environment, time, and product usage, it can trigger actions, creating a two-way engagement channel. This data enables a next-gen level of touchpoints, and therefore enhancing the overall customer experience. Connecting product-based data sources (be it weather, sensors, time, or usage) to then alert the consumer with education and recommendations is a level of product personalization unlike ever before.
Take a smartwatch. This type of high-valued product may trigger alerts but has yet to take the next step in a personalized product journey. A smartwatch may tell you your sleep patterns are inconsistent, but it isn’t offering any solutions. Instead of the alert alone, what if the watch understood your age, location, and fitness level, and provided a viable supplement option or pillow recommendation to help you catch more Zz’s? That’s where we’re headed.
In fact, Forrester’s recent predictions on IoT growth say that 2021 will only bring more proactive engagement using wearables and sensors to detect patients’ health at home, among other opportunities. Monitoring products with this source data will make it possible to bring data-driven decision making to new heights.
Optimizing the performance of physical goods will be reliant on having the right data route. It starts with the product relaying information back to the brand or company, who in turn provides the best action like education, alerts, or remediation (product recommendation) back to the consumer. It’s a data source engine constantly churning out information to help support the full lifecycle of the product.
Data Route = Product → Brand → Consumer
This trail of information will strengthen the brand to consumer relationship and overall customer engagement. Businesses that fail to invest in these capabilities after the unboxing stage are likely to fall behind competitors that do.
Here’s to 2021! Keeping our products connected, engaged, and delivering the right information at the right time. To see how Blustream can help keep you stay connected with your customers and get the most out of your products, let’s talk!