Insights

Why connected objects should be the next big marketing innovation for brands in MENA

May 4, 2015
IoT mena

Wearable technology and the Internet of things are no longer science fiction. Although not mainstream, they are real, and, like the smartphone and tablet before them, they have the potential to disrupt brand’s marketing.

The impact of mobile, connected and wearable devices, combined with digital and social media, has transformed how people make purchase decisions today. Brands are starting to see the potential of engaging with consumers through these devices in different ways and they are now realizing that by serving information that is actually useful and that adds real value, they can change the way people experience their brand and create a more intimate relationship through a better customer experience. Creating interactions with consumers through wearables and all other connected objects will allow brands to read and gather contextual data about their behavior. When information is contextual, it is relevant, accurate and useful to the user – and therefore creates a positive reaction from the consumer’s end.

Here are 4 ways Internet of Things will helping brands achieve a better customer experience:

1/ Embracing “big data” to learn about consumer’s behavior

Brands that thought the whole “big data” movement did not apply to their business were wrong. Data collection related to user’s behavior is the key to any IoT strategy.

Brands should start using wearable devices to measure direct reactions of their consumers and gather information about their behavior. With new gadgets like glasses, watches, pedometers, fitness trackers, and sleeping monitors that will be everywhere, it will be easier for brands to understand context and drive a much more relevant message, which is better for both the advertiser and the consumer. A fitness brand, for instance, could push notifications to people who work out, a record company would be able to address individuals who spend a lot of time in transit and therefore might enjoy music, and a pharmaceutical brand could target people with specific heart conditions, moving away from traditional ads on health magazines or websites that reach broader groups.

2/ Creating a new brand experience through true personalization

Beyond the iPhone, any connected device becomes “my device”, shapes by “my data” and every interaction “I have” with it. Let’s take an example in a real life situation: I drink a fresh orange juice before my gym session every Wednesday at 9pm. One morning I don’t have the time to press my orange, but since my juicer is connected to my iPhone, it is aware that I didn’t get my juice at the right time. And since the iPhone has the hour and the address of the gym, it communicates with a service that can find a place that sells fresh juices, and sends me a coupon and the address of the juice place so I can get my juice on my way to the gym.

This is the kind of personalization services everyone will be looking at. Building an entire experience around a connected juicer is useful: it delivers an added value beyond just “making juice” which has now become a commodity. Brands like Johnny Walker have already started transforming their products into connected devices, creating a disruption in bottles’ packaging.

3/ Helping the consumer in the decision making process at the right moment

Brands are already creating content for web-based application. With the rise of connected objects, they will start creating useful content through augmented reality, geolocation and push notifications, a must part of the retail marketing strategy. By providing content that will help evaluating, navigating and monitoring at the right time, brands will assist customers in decision-making by adding value through relevance and efficiency. Some retailers are already using sensors and data integrations to guide shoppers towards finalizing purchases by providing helpful content for in-store product comparison. Another example of this is a shopper receiving a location and/or loyalty-based promotion after passing by an in-store signal.

 4/ Enabling action though service innovation and facilitation

Have you ever found yourself searching for a specific item in a pharmacy, wishing you could click control-F to locate it, pay, and leave quickly? Consumers are looking for the ability to access, acquire or accomplish what they need with ease, just when they need it. This can be done through indoor mappping softwares such as Aisle411. Companies benefit from connecting product, service, and customer data because visibility into these elements informs support, sales, and other service opportunities more quickly. For example, connected car manufacturer, Tesla delivered a 45-minute software update to more than 29,000 vehicles to resolve a recall for overheating wall chargers.

But we’re still not there yet, even on a worldwide level:

Although the IoT has clear benefits when it comes to improving customer experience, there are two main obstacles to overcome:

– Many users are still not very open to sharing such personal and intimate details about their lives. Brands need to figure out ways to entice them, such as providing rewards or educating users on the value of sharing anonymous device data.

– Most wearable devices currently available don’t offer enough utility for most consumers to continue to wear them beyond the ‘honeymoon phase’ after their initial purchase, like it was the case with cell phones in the early nineties.

For the time being, brands are still too focused on the screen when it comes to online engagement with their consumers. The real question is: what is beyond the screen? How can brands create technology-based interactions without using a screen? Marketers need to take risks and try things out. And now is the time to experiment without too much repercussion because adoption is low.

Check out the below infographic for a glimpse about the state of the Internet of Things with a focus on MENA based on predictions done by Deloitte and Cisco.

 

The Internet of Things Middle East

 

 

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