The Internet of Things will open an entirely new dimension of consumer targeting.
This matters a lot, since marketers who rely only on demographics to reach consumers risk missing more than 70% of mobile shoppers, according to a recent study by Google.
And pretty much anyone with a mobile phone is a potential shopper, no matter where they are or what time it is.
The higher value than identity of the shoppers is their intent.
When someone has a need for a product, they tend to search, during what Google calls intent-filled moments.
During these moments, consumers cannot necessarily be satisfied by traditional advertising based on demographics. For example, 40% of baby product purchasers live in households without children, based on Google research. Those searchers could be grandparents, friends or relatives, for example.
The most logical current way to market to intent is to meet customers in those intent-filled moments that matter and deliver helpful content, says Google.
For example, the majority (51%) of smartphone owners have purchased from a company or brand other than the one they intended to because the information provided was useful, according to Google.
But The Internet of Things will greatly expand the concept of determining intent.
Fitness trackers provide the physical characteristics of a person’s typical day, smartwatches and smartphones provide location and speed and sensors of all types identify precise location.
But there will be more. Sensors on product packaging will provide real-time information on the location and status of products and smart appliances will self-monitor and share information with other appliances, brands and manufacturers.
The Google study suggests that the solutions today include providing local inventory information so consumers can see what’s in stock nearby, develop how-to videos and offer consumers seamless checkout with an instant buy button.
Most of those interactions today are via smartphone, the hub of commerce-on-the-go.
But once sensors of all types are worn by consumers and become forever intertwined within products and in locations everywhere, everything changes.
Consumer intent will be easier to identify and monitor, messaging will reside with products and consumer interactions will have to be extremely relevant, because it will be expected.
The IoT focus will be less on who the person is and much more on what they plan to do next.
At that stage, the marketing challenge and opportunity will be to create and deliver the value to assist what I call the new IoT consumer.