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Imagine a world where almost everything you can imagine is connected to the Internet. This world is apparently only a few years away according to Gartner who predicts there will be 25 billion connected “things” by 2020, compared with 4.9 billion by the end of 2015.
Up until now, data was derived from customers through direct and inferred means including loyalty schemes, web browsing, registration and so on. However through the IoT data will come directly from the product itself which will create a host of new insights, opportunities and will also drive the next wave of digital disruption in certain industries and categories.
Consumer appetite for IoT down under
Whilst connected “things” present a significant opportunity for brands there are certain “connected device” categories that have seen greater consumer uptake than others.
In Australia, wearables are one category that is growing at a rapid rate. According to Telsyte 370,000 smart-watches were sold in Australia in 2014 and a further 800,000 smart wristbands were sold over the same period. 30% of Australian households also now own a smart TV. However consumer penetration of connected white goods and other household appliances is still in its infancy. Although consumer adoption at present is still embryonic in a number of categories the landscape will evolve quickly with manufacturers in these categories i.e. white goods, home security etc embracing the IoTs in a big way.
IoTs set to power the next wave of CRM
Whilst many marketers are struggling to grapple with leveraging all of the data currently available to them – the IoTs is set to further accelerate the generation of data and create a whole host of new data challenges and opportunities. In particular, the IoTs promises a wealth of opportunities for brands to further enrich their CRM strategy as it will provide new ways to connect with customers and deliver highly relevant, personalised 1:1 communications through the products themselves – all underpinned by real time data. For brands in the FMCG and manufacturing space the IoTs will be particularly fertile ground allowing these brands to develop a direct relationship with the end consumer – something retailers will be very closely watching. Unilever is one FMCG brand that is betting big on the IoTs;
Marc Mathieu, Global VP of Marketing at Unilever recently said in an interview that Unilever is “very keen” on the internet of things area and what the space may mean for the future of its brands, which includes Magnum, Dove and Flora. “I’m a huge believer and very interested in everything related to data, so really understating how data is going to enable us to contextualise and personalise experience and the relationship with people on their terms and not just our terms is interesting.
Equally though, the IoTs will open the door for services like insurers organisation to collect more data on health, wellbeing and even car usage which will enrich the customer data profile and allow service organisations to deliver more relevant communications and offers based on customer needs.
So rich is the IoT territory marketing automation platforms are already jumping on the bandwagon.
According to Marketing Magazine “Salesforce has started opening its CRM platforms to data from connected devices, with support extended to Google Glass, Samsung Galaxy Gear, Fitbit and Facebook-owned augmented reality tool Oculus Rift”. Whilst Adobe announced earlier this year that the Adobe marketing cloud now supports digital content testing, optimization and personalisation beyond web browsers and apps across any IoT device.
The IoT will be the next big to trend that will further drive a significant shift in the way brands market. Is your organisation ready?
Marketing automation growth by the numbers
Globally and locally investment in marketing automation technology platforms is on the up – demonstrating marketing automation mania is taking hold. Locally Gartner has stated that the marketing automation and digital marketing technology sector will grow by 26 per cent this year to top $200m, up from just $170m last year. Furthermore technology providers like Salesforce are experiencing significant growth off the back of an increase in appetite for marketing automation with the technology provider seeing marketing automation sales in Australia grow at 60 per cent year-on-year.
Whilst the allure of a shiny new piece of technology can woo even the most astute marketer successfully embedding marketing automation within an organisation stretches far beyond procuring the tool itself. So what are some of the biggest obstacles marketers need to overcome to achieve success with their marketing automation platform?
1) Finding the right tool for success
Ok let’s start with the tool itself. Whilst there are many other obstacles and challenges – adopting a rigorous process to find the right tool is a vital ingredient for success. Too often platform decisions are placed before strategy – and marketers’ lack of knowledge about platform capability and where the space is heading means ill-informed decisions are being made. Tool selection itself can be a 6 – 9 month process and the time must be invested upfront to avoid disappointment down the track. Developing a robust set of requirements that are platform agnostic should be done upfront – with vendors then asked to respond to how the platforms capability delivers against the set of requirements. Stakeholder engagement through this process is also key to ensure the platform is widely adopted across the business.
2) Becoming BFFs with your CIO
For years I have touting the importance of senior marketers building relationships with IT. With seamless and integrated customer experiences hinging on technology, marketers can’t go it alone. But many CMOs are struggling to do so with a recent global study by Oracle finding only one in 110 respondents referenced a positive relationship with their CIO.
Those failing to build close working relationships to support marketing automation can expect the results to be compromised. A recent study conducted by Engage Digital and ADMA found that the top challenge marketers experience with marketing automation is the lack of integration with other technologies which demonstrates a lack of engagement with the IT team. Therefore a critical action item for any marketer embarking on marketing automation is to reach out to their CIO and wider IT team to collaborate, plan, and execute the same vision.
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