January 7, 2015

The Internet of Things < The Internet of ME and how Marketers must adjust

Though I am not physically present at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, I am participating in the next-best way – on Social Media. It’s difficult to keep up with all of the chatter (615 new posts referenced #CES2015 in the last 40 minutes), but as I scan my newsfeed, a few trends stick out to me:

Wearables are getting more advanced and fashionable:

Wearable Tech 1

Wearable Tech 2

The Internet of Things is a major focal point

Internet of Things

Nearly every attendee has a selfie stick:

Selfie Stick

What do you get when you consider these three trends together?

The Internet of Things is already outdated, replaced by the Internet of ME.

Internet of Me

A few years ago, the buzz was all about inanimate objects that connected to the Internet and could collect data. This year, the focus is personal – what does that data say about me? How can I take control to ensure that I am the center of the picture of my data-driven life?

Psychology has long explained humans’ fascination with themselves. We want to know everything about ourselves and we want others to recognize us as individuals. Through the Internet of Things and Wearables, we have access to more information about ourselves than ever before: our watches and wristbands track health data, our water bottles tell us when to drink more, our desks tell us when to sit or stand, our bikes tell us how efficiently we ride, even our snowboard bindings can tell us how to beat our kids down the mountain.

It is now up to marketers to recognize us as individuals.

To do this, marketers should consider:

  • Personal data that could help the brand make customers feel like individuals, such as an Insurance company that receives customer driving data directly from the car (like Progressive Snapshot) can offer a unique experience to each driver
  • A company could allow customers to own a deeply individual experience to develop stronger brand loyalty. Customers could opt-in to share their personal data, from a wearable, like fitbit, with a fitness shoe company. The company then uses the data to recommend shoes and remind the customer when it’s time for new shoes.

Though marketing has always considered customer experience, the prevalence of the Internet of Things and wearables among more consumers in 2015 means that the focus on the customer relationship is more important than ever before. Customers are inundated with information and social chatter. Generic offers might not get noticed, but reaffirming something a customer already knows about herself or telling her something new about herself is valuable. We must continue to innovate, tapping into the data our customers have about themselves, and use it to show them that we know them personally.