In this opinion piece, Mobiddiction co-founder and director of strategy and innovation Midu Chandra (pictured below) explains how marketers can make the most of the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables in advancing customer experience.
The Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable technology is giving almost everything the ability to be connected. With new products being launched every week, the speed of change is exponential.
I’ve been keeping a close eye on this exciting space and have developed some prototypes, like using IBM Watson’s speech-to-text API to create a conversation UI based on user voice input, running Alexa on a Raspberry Pi and our famous up-time Christmas lights.
So the question arises, should we be considering IoT and wearables as part of the future customer experience? And how should I approach this new area of interactivity?
While the promise is significant, the technology isn’t quite there yet. The major barriers to adoption are:
- Pervasiveness of low energy
- Mobile devices capable of interacting reliably.
- Trust in the amount of information exchanged and levels of security.
That said, it is time to start factoring it into future customer experience road maps. As a marketer, there are three avenues we should plan for and prepare an execution strategy.
Feedback and research
A connected product is a fountain of knowledge, providing a continual unprompted feedback loop.
For instance, if you can track when a light bulb is about to run out through a smartphone, you can then send over a discount meeting this need. If the civil defence force can monitor the population flow across popular destinations using beacons and WiFi data, they can use this to respond faster and better to emergencies.
As the amount of data-collecting devices rises and the amount of data available to marketers increases, we’ll see marketing campaigns based around and catering to consumers’ daily habits. The challenge here lies in having the systems and processes that allow you to capture, access and act on this information.
Building a better brand experience
Major venues and retailers we are working with use sensor tracking to understand the flow of foot traffic and purchase activity. This is then used to optimise everything from store layouts to shop inventory to bathroom locations.
Other global examples are companies such as Disney that utilise RFID-enabled wristbands that provide theme park entry, access to hotel rooms, and a payment method. There’s enormous potential in optimising experiences rapidly based on real-time insight. This kind of insight lets IoT provide answers to many questions that, until now, have been both highly critical and completely elusive.
The challenge here lies in thinking about how IoT can help enhance and streamline your brand experience.
Active advertising, retention and loyalty
We’re already seeing advertisers using IoT to extend their relationship with the consumer beyond the point of sale. Pernod Ricard is a great example – its bottle design lets you order new stock when you’re running low. You can also scan QR codes for recipe and cocktail ideas (do people still do that?).
It isn’t just another way of collecting data on the consumer – it also allows traditional FMCG brands to strengthen customer relationships.
Questions like ‘Is a billboard more effective in fast or slow traffic?’, ‘Are consumers more responsive to sports advertising before or after a workout?’, or ‘Do coffee ads perform better with coffee drinkers who are tired or who’ve had a good’s night’s rest?’.
Marrying attribution analytics to location-based, fitness and sleep-tracking data will provide insights in a state-of-the-art way.
The challenge here lies in embedding a customer journey-based marketing methodology into everything you do.
The IoT train is leaving the station. Make sure you’re on it.
And please remember that computers won’t be human until they can gossip!