IoT marketing: When things become customers

In the not too distant future, smart Internet-connected devices might make the buying decisions for their human owners. So how will marketers respond?

Marketing has become more complex and competitive with the proliferation of data and the abundance of consumer choice in the online and offline worlds. Yet its primary function remains: To communicate with consumers about products and services to meet their needs and wants.

But stop for a moment and consider the disruptive force of devices made smart through the Internet and what that will mean for the business of marketing. Here’s a big one: The rapidly evolving Internet of Things (IoT) is set to change one of the core tenets of marketing: That the customer is always human.

Think about Internet-connected devices today, and what springs to mind are smart TVs and other gadgets that can update their firmware and send usage information back to the manufacturer; personal assistants or smart speakers which play songs and answer questions; and networked printers that can initiate service requests. The growing list also includes smart light switches, doorbells, security systems, fridges, sensors and trackers.

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