Is the Internet of Things Changing Content Marketing?
While the Internet is an ever-blossoming phenomenon, content marketing has actually been around for several hundred years. In fact, as early as 1732, Benjamin Franklin published his ‘Poor Richard’s Almanack’ to market his printing business. Since then, content marketing, which is based around giving an audience something of value in its content combined with a marketing message, has evolved and changed to the interactive and imaginative forms it takes today. As for the Internet of Things (IoT), if you thought this was a 21st Century invention, think again! It was actually back in 1989 when friends Simon Hackett and John Romkey revealed the first Internet-connected toaster, which was the likely birth of the IoT.
What is IoT?
For the uninitiated, the IoT is made up of everyday networked devices that sense and interact with the environment and with one another, autonomously communicating their data. People all around the world are pushing buttons on smart watches to send text messages or making their living rooms warmer and brighter. To say that the IoT is fast reshaping technology is something of an understatement. Even the concept of ‘accessing’ the Internet is out of date. We’re now enveloped by an Internet world that works in automated ways to shape our lives on many levels.
Anything with an on/off switch can and will be part of the IoT of the future. Imagine smart drinks bottles, which monitor your alcohol consumption, vending machines that deliver drinks when you ping a tweet, and smart fridges that text you to get more milk when you’ve run out!
For content marketers, this 360-degree interconnectivity has deep implications. The IoT has opened the floodgates for data to come pouring in from every direction, bringing product improvements and new marketing platforms and, therefore, significant changes to all types of digital marketing.
In a nutshell, content marketing is all about enriching the customer experience and so is the IoT. Here are some of the major ways the IoT is influencing content marketing.
Big data is getting bigger
You’ve heard of big data? Well, the IoT is making big data even bigger with serious marketing implications! There is probably no limit to the information available through the IoT. Rubbish bins and shampoo bottles will soon be sending an influx of surprising and valuable marketing data to everyone involved in the various product markets as smart products monitor and transmit data to designers and manufacturers. These key players will be tasked with harnessing a wealth of information to improve products and services. Since data is a marketer’s best friend, content marketers will need to sharpen their campaigns based on the information and messages they’re receiving thanks to IoT. Content campaigns must become smarter and ever more engaging and informative to meet consumer expectations and drive sales.
One of the spin-offs from this emerging data explosion is that using raw data and designing functional products will require considerable collaboration. Content marketers must sharpen their tools and prepare to collaborate with other major players in the industry to interpret data like never before. This will expose a whole new spectrum of consumer needs. Estimates predict that, by 2020, there will be at least 13 billion IoT-connected devices. In response, content marketers must be prepared for their relationships with designers, manufacturers and consumers to broaden and deepen as data mushrooms and consumer expectations rise.
Based on emotions
Content marketers have typically been used to sending consumers product messages based location data, e.g. ‘what to wear now the weather in London has turned cold’. However, the IoT is accessing a whole new level of personal information. For example, in addition to the already familiar smart watches, soon there’ll be miniature sensors in clothing, jewellery or spectacles to transfer biological and emotional data from their wearers as they go about their daily lives.
Marketers will need to adjust to the data they receive being as much about emotions as factors such as location and environment. Content marketing will be increasingly linked to algorithms so marketers can tailor their content to the steady influx of incoming emotional data. In the near future, comfort food promotions will reach out to teary-eyed contact lens wearers as they’re smartly targeted in a new wave of live content. So, the real challenge that content marketers will face is using both location and emotional data together with the IoT to get their messages out there as a real-time response to actual feelings and current events.
Weeding out the good from the bad
As the IoT grows, there’s the risk that all innocent items will be engulfed by the ‘smart’ wave sweeping over everything. No sooner will you blink than an inanimate object will have a sensor attached to it and be hooked into the cloud. But in a market overwhelmed with emerging tech products, many devices will quickly fall by the wayside. So, content marketers must be savvy enough to recognise what’s here to stay and what’s not. It’s no mean feat recognising the important products that will change and shape cultures and societies.
As if that’s not enough, content marketers must seamlessly integrate new devices and platforms into their everyday working methods. As old technology fades away, new platforms will appear everywhere with smart products coming fast and furious. Content marketing messages will need to move just as fast in a bid to keep up with a race that won’t just take place on laptops and mobile devices. A number of IoT-connected devices will be poised to receive content, from car dashboards to flashing LED t-shirts controlled from your smartphone.
The Internet of Things is keeping us busy-busy!
Thanks to the IoT, content marketers are becoming increasingly busy in a world inundated with data as the IoT floods key players with mounting workloads. As soon as data lands in the laps of developers and product manufacturers, they’ll be working hard to create unique product variations for consumers demanding more and more choices and options. This product tsunami will require huge amounts of digital content, conveying unique marketing messages to individual consumers. So, as incoming data drives outgoing technology, content marketers must step up to the challenge of representing billions of individual products in ever-imaginative ways.
The next stage on from target marketing
It’s no secret that newer marketing techniques already target specific individuals based on smart data and programmatic advertising. If you thought that being stalked online by targeted ads was too much like big brother, brace yourself. The IoT is about to go one step further, not only providing solutions for large demographics but also offering individually tailored solutions in real time. Therefore, content marketers must be poised to offer tailored and specific information in their texts, videos, and audio content to target the ad hoc needs of random consumers.
So, is the IOT changing content marketing? Yes, and rapidly so! Indeed, a whole new world of IoT content is fast approaching. Customers will demand content for endless scenarios across a plethora of devices. From talking fridges to tweeting vending machines, points of contact between customers and companies are ever-expanding. The next content marketing wave needs to focus on devices connected to their owners, picking up on the social interaction between the two. Content marketers must, therefore, be prepared to use smart data to delve deeper into people’s lives to offer them what they really want and need through targeted, relevant and interesting live content.