The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing everywhere.
Technically, the “IoT” encompasses everything linked to the Internet. But it’s typically used to refer to devices, from an Apple Watch to a Nest thermostat to even automobiles, that communicate with each other.
And nearly every ubiquitous device seems to be joining the IoT. Not only the everyday thermometer, but your egg tray and your infant’s changing pad. Each year at CES there’s a new medley of IoT offerings, from startups and evergreen brands alike, being pitched.
It’s anything but vapor-wear
You’ll be wearing IoT nodes soon, and not just as a smartwatch or fitness tracker. Last year, packaging and materials giant Avery Dennison announced a partnership aimed at launching the “world’s largest IoT deployment,” adding 10 billion apparel and footwear products from leading brands to the IoT over three years.
Analysts’ forecasts predict the IoT to keep skyrocketing. The North American IoT consumer market alone will surge from $90 billion in 2017 to $180 billion in 2022, a CAGR of 12.25%. That’s in addition to dizzying growth in industrial, infrastructure, healthcare and other segments.
How many total devices are we talking about? Hold your breath: one prediction claims we’ll see 30.7 billion installed IoT devices by 2020, and 75.4 billion by 2025.
What does the IoT mean for MarTech?
Anyone who’s seen or used an Amazon Dash button knows exactly why marketers and martech providers are rushing to exploit the IoT.
First of all, it’s obviously a way to extend actual brand-to-consumer engagement into a new variety of everyday moments and locations. But it also opens up an incredibly rich trove of consumer data to use in an email marketing strategy, a vein the right marketing tech tools can mine to power campaigns more personalized, precise, and effective than ever before.
So what are three ways we predict the IoT will impact martech email strategy?
Consumers expect and demand personalization, and martech’s ability to collate data like a user’s geolocation, daily routines, even health data, will take this several steps further over the next few years.
For instance? A fitness enthusiast – let’s call her Sheila – who’s partial to workouts at home or anywhere but a local gym (an insight gleaned by analyzing her geolocation and fitness wearable data) can be targeted with a membership offer featuring content customized to her exact behaviors – running, swimming, biking, tae bo, or whatever. Plus, the email gets timed to a daypart where Sheila has historically shown a higher CTR.
With the analytics allowed by the IoT, the best martech platforms will be able to accurately segment the Crossfitter from the couch potato, and engage each via a perfectly personalized email strategy.
An evolving emphasis on “mobile first” marketing experiences
In a recent survey we conducted among email marketers, one crucial concern they cited? The need to provide responsive design that works across multiple devices and enables greater user interactivity.
The IoT will only multiply that challenge, because it multiplies the number of different devices and channels to contend with. Email strategy and execution will need to be optimized for a desktop, a smartphone, a smartwatch, an auto infotainment display, possibly even for smart glasses that will try to avoid Google Glass nerditude.
So it’s fair to predict that MarTech platforms, agencies, and clients who invest in responsive design and interactive email solutions will gain a very real advantage in the era of the IoT.
More app-generated and transactional email
That rich trove of consumer IoT data we mentioned earlier? It’ll provide marketers with more data points than ever, as well are more opportunities than ever to deploy app-generated and transactional email to deepen customer engagement and loyalty.
It makes sense that an IoT wearables company, Fitbit, is already leveraging this approach. They’ll send a customer an email alert when the battery in his or her’s wearable is running down – along with instructions on how to replace it.
Let’s say Sheila, the fitness enthusiast we mentioned above, decides to take us up on a trial gym membership. At a basic level, the data she’s sharing from her wearables (or from a membership app she downloads) can trigger emails offering loyalty rewards for making a certain number of visits.
But the IoT can take it to a more granular level: Via her wearable and its connections to other IoT devices, we can identify when she’s taken a spinning class and capture data from the stationary she rode. So Sheila’s session data can be used for an email that recaps her performance and gives personalized coaching – great incentives for her to stay a post-trial member.
The state of transactional email will change enormously, even unpredictably, as the IoT evolves over the next several years. For martech users, staying on top of that game means investing in transactional email technology that’s flexible and scalable enough to rise to the opportunities the IoT presents.
And as we’ve seen, those might be as limitless as the IoT itself.