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How Connected Devices Enable Ultra Targeted Messaging How Connected Devices Enable Ultra Targeted Messaging
The Internet of Things is one of those rare tech manifestations where there is no shortage of feasible business-cases, including targeted messaging. Here is... How Connected Devices Enable Ultra Targeted Messaging


The Internet of Things is one of those rare tech manifestations where there is no shortage of feasible business-cases, including targeted messaging. Here is how connected devices enable ultra targeted messaging.

Sure, IoT is bound to spawn its share of ill-conceived ventures – heavy on concept and low on value. But, by and large, IoT overflows with potential for genuine B2C usefulness.

User adoption

User adoption, arguably the chief metric when it comes to illustrating the value of a new tech paradigm, has been astonishing for IoT. And business spend in this space is, as can be expected — similarly impressive. 

IoT’s combined consumer and corporate spend is expected to reach $1.2 trillion in 2022. And the average private citizen is expected to own 15 connected devices by 2030 (we each own nearly half that now). Think phone, computer, tablet, watch, camera, doorbell, smoke alarm — and the number is growing.

These are not the growth figures of a technology with speculative value.

Connected devices represent a multitude of visible business opportunities. And new ones are constantly being unearthed by innovative tech companies.

The future sees us inexorably connected through numerous channels. And each channel will be capable of mining its own unique spectrum of data about our behavior. And the ways that companies can leverage this knowledge represents an endless source of business opportunities. Digital marketing, in particular, has shown a remarkable appetite for capitalizing on widespread IoT adoption.

A network of connected devices creates an extremely wide spectrum of data about potential customers. And the ways that this data can be parsed into highly-personalized messaging is the stuff of a tech-savvy marketer’s dreams.

More Devices, More Usable Knowledge

Effective targeted messaging cannot happen without accurate source data. 

A company can build hundreds of marketing messages that cover a massive range of purposes. Still, the effectiveness of these messages  depends on two factors:

  • personalizing the message for the recipient, and
  • mapping its broadcast to a valid, real-time trigger.

The more connected devices, the more accurate the information. And the more effective the messages.

Not so long ago, devices capable of generating and transmitting this information were limited to the usual suspects: mobile phones, tablets, and laptops.

While the data mined by these devices was critical in creating personalized messages and sending them at the right time, it can’t hurt to have another dozen doing the exact same thing. And this is the hyper-connected era we’re finding ourselves in.

From FitBits and smart-watches to Alexa and self-driving cars, there’s no shortage of devices creating info that marketers can use to sell their products more effectively.

And it doesn’t end with these “obvious” devices. As hardware enabling data transfer becomes smaller, cheaper, and easier to integrate into physical products, opportunities to innovate abound.

Chips integrated into product packaging can inform a retailer when their product has been opened or assembled.

Pro-active after-sales support becomes a breeze when a product notifies the manufacturer of a specific malfunction.

As consumers interact with more connected devices, they receive more valuable marketing messages.

Knowing the Customer’s Journey

The potential customer’s position in the sales journey is arguably one of the most important “unknowns” that a marketer needs to establish if they want to send a hyper-targeted message. 

Several models exist illustrating a customer’s progress from questioning whether a product is worth the investment, to buying it and, eventually, becoming an ambassador for the brand.

The most common route is as follows: 

  1. Awareness becomes consideration. 
  2. Consideration becomes acquisition. 
  3. Acquisition becomes retention. 
  4. Retention becomes advocacy.

Messages that guide a consumer from one step to the next have to be purpose-built depending on the audience segment. 

A good example of this is from sleep-focused company Each Night (dot com). This company has set their sites to take readers on different paths based on their goals. That’s because someone looking for a brand new mattress has different needs than someone looking for a solution to their poor sleeping habits.

Image source: eachnight.com

Using IoT devices, a company could identify a consumer as a lead by monitoring their Google search history. Targeted advertising converts this lead into a potential customer who is aware of their product.

GPS coordinates obtained from someone’s mobile phone could notify a retailer that a potential customer is nearby. This also indicates that the person has now moved on to the “awareness” level.

Cue a slightly more assertive sequence of sales messages, knowing that the potential customer has been to one of your locations. They could install a mobile app to track sleep quality and compare sleep patterns against healthy benchmarks.

Smart Segmentation

Once awareness evolves into a purchase, something that can be logged via the retailer’s cloud-connected point-of-sale system, the customer is then placed into a new segment. Now, the retailer’s goal is to ensure that the customer is delighted with their purchase.

Smart-packaging informs them that the product has been delivered and opened and three days later, the customer is contacted by an after-sales representative. Does the mattress meet your needs? Is it the correct size for your bed? How can we improve our service? 

Oh, and are you still using the mobile app that monitors your sleep? Mind if we compare this data with your previous sleeping patterns and use it in our marketing material? How about if we throw in a discount on the next purchase you make on our site?

Incentivizing the customer

Incentivizing the customer to actually see data that proves to them how their investment has improved their life is what ultimately converts them to a brand ambassador. At this point, they are proud of the decision they made to buy their mattress, and they have the science to back it up – science that the business can use to create more compelling marketing material.

Messaging that Requires Response

Targeted messaging can be useful as a guide through the sales journey and as a key component of a digital communication product.

Online information collection tools like Forms On Fire aim to put the power in their clients’ hands when it comes to collecting data from people in their respective business processes.

Customers, suppliers, employees, and several other stakeholders often need to capture online forms critical to a company’s operations.

Has a customer received the package they ordered? In the condition they expected? Can they send a photograph to prove damage? 

Tracking your package

By giving a company the ability to compile an online form through a WYSIWYG interface, Forms on Fire can integrate bespoke info-gathering fields into their business processes.

However, the last thing that a company wants is for the customer to be sent this form six hours prior to taking delivery. Or a day after, for that matter.

By making use of the relationship between two connected devices’ physical proximity to each other, the driver’s iPad and the customer’s mobile phone, access to a personalized form can be sent within seconds after delivery.

This use-case is also ideal for after-sales service or customer support. Electronic products that experience technical difficulties can inform their manufacturers in real-time, and within seconds, the customer can be sent an online form requesting more information on the defect. 

Sending forms for information

Sending the customer a form shortens the time and overhead necessary to resolve the problem. It also helps recover credibility for the company that just sold a defective product.

Receiving information from stakeholders can be a critical cog in the wheel that drives a company’s operations. It can also create information that drives strategy. By embracing the role that connected devices can play in simplifying this process, companies can provide better quality service and build knowledge that shapes their future.

Leveraging Collaboration and Real World Interaction

Cloud-hosted apps, the rise of the SaaS business model, and the ubiquity of connected devices all contribute to massive innovation in the collaboration space.

Remote teams need and want to feel more connected to their colleagues. Workers who are dependent on frequent in-person meetings with customers or partners need tools that simplify scheduling and collaboration.

Rethinking the tools

As innovative tech companies start fundamentally rethinking the tools that we use to schedule and collaborate, marketing companies are enabled to get even more precise in their messaging.

Despite the continued decentralization of company workforces, networking events, trade shows, and conferences are still immensely popular and crucial to company growth.

Every industry has a plethora of events where professional relationships of various types can be created and nurtured. No matter how comfortable the world gets with digital interaction, face-to-face meetings more reliably lead to solid professional relationships.

Networking events create an interesting use-case for how connected devices can be used to send hyper relevant marketing messages.

Organizers can build a mobile calendar app and incentivize attendees to install it as they enter the event. By logging personal and professional metadata relevant to their reason for attending the conference, attendees contribute to a database that can be mined for business partnership opportunities.

Targeted Messaging Informed By Real-Time Interaction Data

Let’s suppose an attendee specifies that they are at the event specifically to find a film production partner. As the attendee approaches a stall or speaker that works in this specific field, they receive a push notification to their mobile device.

The push notification can be accompanied by a photograph that helps identify the person, along with a summary of their professional details. 

A real-world connection between the two parties can be logged by the tap of a button and a date and time for a meeting suggested without either of them having to scroll through their calendars.

Event organizers can also opt to embed IoT devices at each location where a meeting is possible – be it a conference room or an empty table at the center’s restaurant. They can even filter these locations by the number of meeting attendees or the equipment necessary to make a presentation.

Logging an event on your Calendar

By logging the calendar event and its metadata, organizers are also able to fine-tune the information they have about each attendee. They will be able to answer questions marketers may have, such as: What type of services are they looking for? What type of relationships are they looking to build? What products are they selling?

Markgeting agencies

Marketing agencies can then use this information to send highly-targeted automated messaging. The customers’ responses to the message, rejecting it or indicating interest, could place them inside the agency’s marketing funnel along with other qualified leads.

One of the primary benefits of using connected devices at this kind of event is that obtaining information and subsequent messaging happens in real-time.

Sale opportunities for customers

Taking advantage of a sales opportunity is sometimes extremely time-sensitive, especially at a three-day event attended by numerous competitors.

So marketing agencies with access to attendee data about the professional connections made can use that data for ultra-targeted messaging.

Bear in Mind Recipient Appetite

Overly enthusiastic or inexperienced marketers may be so overwhelmed by opportunity that they forget to consider that the recipient may find hyper-targeted messaging rather hyper-intrusive.

At best, such a person will simply ignore the message. 

At worst, the potential customer will find the monitoring and leveraging of their behavior for marketing purposes unethical. And they may go out of their way to harm the sender’s reputation.

The marketing balance

How does a marketing company balance a person’s right to privacy and the opportunity to shorten their sales cycle?

The answer lies in one word: convenience

Potential customers may feel uneasy about targeted messaging. But if they receive messages that make their life easier, they will likely respond positively. 

What does this mean in practical terms for the marketer?

Sadly, there’s no hard and fast answer to this question. It’s a notion that has to underpin the entire messaging strategy. Will the message you are sending provide real value for your potential customer?

Ask yourself whether it is making their life easier. Consider the possibility that it isn’t. 

Is the message a soft reminder of the company’s values or product range? Or is it a notification that they are nearby a store where a product they’re interested in is on sale?

There is a multitude of ways that marketers can strike a healthy balance here. And the only way to find this is to constantly assess the true objective of a message.

We highly recommend that this remains a priority throughout the marketing campaign.

Travis Jamison

Founding Director of Smash.VC

Travis Jamison is a search engine nerd, interested in emerging technologies, and investing in “lifestyle” businesses.



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