As sensors collect data through a rapidly expanding network of the Internet of Things, it’s generating unprecedented amounts of data that could be applied for marketing and personalized experiences.
I sat in on two different conferences last week — one for media people and another for entrepreneurs — that came to a similar conclusion: Collecting the data doesn’t mean marketers have the resources to work with it effectively.
What’s more, it’s not the data, it’s the motivation behind the data that can offer the real breakthrough insights and opportunity for the right messaging at the right time.
Speaking on a panel at MediaPost’s IOT Marketing Forum in New York, Sara Bamossy, chief strategy officer for Pitch, emphasized the importance of getting at motivation.
If your washing machine knows you launder clothes every Thursday, does that mean you should get a delivery before every Thursday? Not necessarily, she noted. If an ATM vestibule lets you use your phone for entry and does not require you to remove your wallet, that could tap into a consumer motivation for security. Smart doorbells let you know who is at your door and let them in. But big data analysis wouldn’t tell you that a surge of calls at 4 p.m. is kids making the after-school call to their parents letting them know they arrived home safely.
Greg Boullin, strategy director for Sapient Nitro, says knowing when the consumer is ready to engage with you remains the holy grail. Brands are still figuring out how to identify and engage during “downtiming,” say, at an airport.
Or what about behavior? Do you travel by bike, do you walk, are you in a car? Just as you’re in different mindsets depending on the device you’re using, your state of mind can be different depending on where you are and what time of day it is.
You might be receptive to a certain message when you’re riding the bus and able to focus on your smartphone. That kind of personalization — giving you a message when you’re most receptive — seems to hold the most promise.
One individual’s personalized message is another’s creepy invasion. And everyone disdains retargeting that keeps selling them things they’ve already purchased based on a visit to a Web site.
Over in Montclair, N.J., at an event on innovation hosted by the Montclair State University Feliciano School of Business, Michael Liguori, co-founder of Vognition, predicted government oversight of who can and can’t use one’s data is inevitable.
He emphasized to a roomful of entrepreneurs that all applications should stem from a customer need, not just because it can happen. Vognition provides a voice portal connection to all parts of the home.
“What we’re seeing is a privacy personalization paradox,” he added. “We’re seeing more and more people are willing to give up their privacy if they’re giving it up for something that is customized.”
Who has the best data? Google and Facebook. But making efficient use of it is something else.
Jarrod Bull, head of account management for Hearst-owned iCrossing, is also an entrepreneur building a brand with his wife. He said Facebook is the hands-down place that has it all. The question is whether you can marry the richness of what Facebook offers back into the infrastructure of your marketing system. You must build the programs where you test and learn from it, then drive back and capture the data generated.
The luxury market has the best opportunity to deliver personalized service based on what they know about their customers. Take hotels, said Bamossy.
Do you like to sleep in? Are you active? Build in anticipatory service. When do you want a human touch? When do you want to be left alone? She envisions using the smart TV, iPads in the room and smartphones.
“It will be interesting to see what they do first and how it translates into homes,” Bamossy said. “It’s super expensive.”