Black Friday is a little more than two weeks away, and consumers are gearing up for another holiday shopping craze. The latest tech gadgets are always near the top of the holiday gift guide pile, and this year is no different. The Internet of Things is all the buzz this year, judging by the prominence of “smart” electronics, including televisions, appliances and wearable devices, on holiday gift guides.
These connected devices are sure to be coveted items on holiday wish lists, and smart marketers are planning now for how the devices — and the data they generate — can more closely link companies to their customers.
As previously unconnected devices come online, they promise to bring companies closer to their customers by, in part, turning mere products into services. Take Nike, for example. The company’s popular FuelBand wearable bracelet allows the company to engage with customers every time they log a run or track their fitness using the device — not just when they purchase a new pair of shoes or running shorts. The FuelBand is one example of how Nike has moved beyond a shoe company. Now, it’s a connected digital fitness service that legions of people rely on to plan, track and manage their physical fitness.
Nike isn’t alone, of course. The explosion of wearable consumer technologies, from watches and headsets to household appliances. give brands an unprecedented change to develop lifelong relationships with customers that don’t end once they leave the store, or clear their online shopping cart. The challenge for modern marketers is to take advantage of this opportunity.
Smart, Internet-connected products and services enable brands to constantly connect with customers. Forget multichannel marketing for a minute. When devices are connected to the Internet — and to each other — the companies that make those products have additional opportunities to reach customers wherever they are. That long-term, consistent engagement is a modern marketer’s dream.
“The result of these evolving technologies and capabilities is that marketers have never been closer to obtaining that proverbial 'Holy Grail' of marketing: right content, right person, right time, right place,” writes Jessica Groopman, a senior researcher at Altimeter Group. “Technology now enables relationships at a much deeper and personalized level.”
But connected devices, and the loads of customer data they generate, are meaningless if marketers don’t decipher the data. Success starts with a solid marketing attribution strategy to understand all customer touchpoints, both online and offline, Groopman says.
Marketers who are successful will put themselves in position to get closer to their customers than they ever imagined. It’s a lucrative opportunity for those who seize it this holiday season.
[Image via Can Stock Photo]