The Internet of Things and personalization are a good mix.
Knowing the customer in the moment is a key part of this, of course.
This means using a ton of data – in real time – to determine a person’s at-the-moment needs based on past activities.
But the path to personalization is hardly an easy one, since legacy systems and organizational structure often are in the way.
While many companies focus on tracking aggregate data, such as in-store shopping traffic to improve design or staffing, the actual details of an individual’s activities can create intensely personal targeting.
One of the more advanced companies doing this that I’ve come across is Monetate, a company whose technology is used to create campaigns by integrating disparate pieces of customer information on the fly. Retailers using the platform include Macy’s, Best Buy, Office Depot, QVC and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
The obvious question is the coming scope of the IoT impact on customer data.
I sat down with Lucinda Duncalfe, president and CEO of Monetate, who’s been focused on creating predictive experiences, which I consider to be the big marketing promise of IoT.
“Where we are today, as an industry, candidly, is close to nowhere, in terms of how we’re really using predictive,” said Duncalfe.
“I even think the word ‘predictive’ is confusing to people. What you’re really talking about is being able to analyze data using really sophisticated mathematical techniques to be able to provide whatever the best experience for an individual is at a given moment in time. That’s pretty complicated.”
In addition to marketing information available today, which can include mobile location data as well as recent online browsing activity, the Internet of Things will add a wealth of new insights, from sources ranging from wearable fitness trackers and smartwatches to smart home gadgets.
“For predictive, you have to know a whole lot and one of the key ways that IoT plays into this is that there are tremendous data sources that didn’t exist before,” said Duncalfe.
And this is where personalization can get interesting, even just taking the basic things known today.
“You could know how mobile somebody is, you can know where they physically are, you can know whether they keep their house warm or cold,” said Duncalfe. “There are endless things you can know about them.
“You then build models that say, given this person, what’s likely to happen? Every system that interacts with a consumer becomes a data source. Predictive experience is really the ability to make that decision in that moment based on all of that data for that particular consumer."
And it’s pretty easy to predict that there are more consumer predictive experiences on the way.