The short answer to my question is yes, obviously. In today’s marketplace, data is everything, whether you’re using artificial intelligence to make your next stock purchase or to choose when and what to market to your prospective customers. Marketing teams who are focused on harnessing the power of the IoT—and doing it well—will easily rise above their competitors. But when it comes to CMOs and IoT specifically, what are some tips to keep the relationship on track?
In truth, CMOs and IoT aren’t always included in the same conversation. That’s because we have a tendency to think of the IoT as something that connects smart (or at least somewhat smarter) cities, allows for remote healthcare monitoring, or improves efficiency in the supply chain. But the same AI that tracks data from stop lights, heart monitors, and cargo ships can also track things like customer purchases, purchase times, abandoned shopping carts, opened emails, and web views. The issue for CMOs and IoT is simply knowing how to use that data in the most powerful ways.
Whether you’re new to IoT discussions or a seasoned marketing / data veteran, below are some tips to help ensure your CMOs and IoT projects operating at full steam.
CMOs and IoT: Must Be Data Proficient
The entire point of the IoT from a business standpoint is to collect data. Thus, as a CMO using the IoT, you need to be proficient in data analytics—or employ someone who does—to ensure this portion of the IoT is working for you. That’s not as easy as it sounds. By now, most of us understand the importance of keeping our data clean and—hopefully—gathering and processing it in real-time. But the truth is, “big data” is about more than simply pulling data from your IoT sensors. It’s about knowing how to look at the data critically, knowing which data points hold the most value when used in which algorithm, and using those insights to make real, critical change at the customer experience level. This is where many CMOs and IoT projects fall short.
Because many companies are still in the no man’s land between legacy-era marketing efforts and truly badass digital transformation, we’re seeing a lot of projects and IoT efforts that are a little, for lack of a better word, clunky. How many times do you see the same message in the same boring format from a company across multiple channels? Have you ever been asked to donate more money to a cause before you’ve been thanked for your previous donation? What about ad campaigns that are clearly targeted to you based on a factor like weight or age? Most CMOs haven’t yet mastered the IoT, and that’s fine. But they need to be making efforts to do it soon. After all, nearly 90 percent of B2B companies are using digital content marketing in 2019. Chances are good some of them are already doing it better than you.
CMOs and IoT: Must Curate Content
Not too long ago, we talked about marketing personalization. For many companies, that meant simply adding the person’s first name on an email marketing blast, or inserting the name of their recent product purchase in the body of the email. But today’s CMOs need to be constantly thinking of new ways of not just personalizing content within a message, but curating content specifically for each individual customer. That means not just sending customers tons of emails and social ads focused on items they recently searched for in hopes that eventually they buy it (a common approach, by the way.) It means taking a holistic view of how the customer is using your product, what other issues they’re dealing with in their lives, and how you as a company can help them use your product to solve those issues. It requires collecting data points not just on your website or email marketing dashboard, but on the customer’s social media accounts, as well. It’s about using the IoT to understand your customer as a person, not just a payout. That’s what the IoT is all about.
What if you had a refrigerator that was connected to the internet that could monitor your normal purchasing habits. It could send an alert to your phone when you’re out of milk. Savvy marketers could take this information, partner with a grocery store, and send you an alert about a milk sale or a coupon when you’re near the store. I’m sure my wife would love not having to remind me to get milk! This is the kind of personalized thinking marketers need to be doing.
CMOs and IoT: Keeping Up with Transformation
The thing about digital transformation is that it never stops. We are getting new devices connected to the internet daily. Do you have any Amazon Dash buttons in your home? What about smart appliances or personal assistant devices? Whether you like it or not—and that’s a separate conversation—someone is collecting data about you. CMOs need to be able to keep up with technology changes. CMOs and IoT can go hand in hand if they learn how to use the data collected to offer solutions, be it a coupon or just a reminder about something, to improve our lives.
The truth is, lots of data initiatives fail. Up to 85 percent of them, in fact! No amount of data, in and of itself, is enough to make marketing efforts succeed. CMOs and IoT projects need to be focused, intentional, and smart to truly experience the power and potential they want to deliver. Keeping the above tips in mind will go a long way in keeping your project on the right track.
The original version of this article was first published on Forbes.