Content Marketing and the IoT: What You Need to Know
Do you know what the Internet of Things is or how it's impacting content marketing? Find out as we discuss what you need to know about the growing impact of the IoT.
The world is evolving at breakneck speed. Ten years ago, the idea of using drones to create a patriotic background lightshow during the biggest NFL game of the year would have seemed like a movie plot. But technology has seen huge advancements in the last decade, especially with the Internet of Things (IoT).
Picture this: You stop at the grocery store on your way home from work and buy some ground beef. By the time you get home, there’s a notification on your tablet for a ground beef meatball sliders recipe. More importantly, you also have all of the other ingredients, and your tablet provides substitution suggestions for your dietary restrictions. How is this possible? The IoT.
What is the IoT and why does it matter?
The Internet of Things has a variety of definitions that all center around one main idea: the connection of devices to the Internet, each other, and people. Per Stuart Leung, “It refers to everyday devices that are able to automatically exchange information over a network.” But what does that actually mean? In the recipe example above, it means that the instant you purchased ground beef, your refrigerator scanned its contents and reported it to your tablet, which used your other recent purchases to determine a recipe you could make with the items you had available and even provided substitutions for any dietary restrictions it knows you have. This may seem far-fetched, but the technology is not far off.
In fact, Cisco predicts that by 2020, there could be more than 50 billion objects connected to the IoT. Other estimates suggest even higher numbers. Nearly everything in our lives is already becoming connected. Your phone talks to your computer, your tablet, your car, and even your TV. Your apps sync across multiple devices with little to no delay. How we interact with the world around us is constantly changing.
The exponential growth of the IoT has led to discussions about how the IoT is being implemented, including:
- Data privacy. Companies and governments are collecting enormous amounts of data about people from the IoT. How can this be balanced with a person’s right to privacy?
- Safety. Taking human error out of our data by having sensors report directly to devices that then analyze the data autonomously can significantly increase safety in everything from road conditions to medical treatment and more.
- Ease of use. There’s an entire market of connected products being created to make our lives simpler. From Fitbits and Apple Watches to connected appliances, there are numerous convenience products that people use every day that are already part of the IoT– and more are being developed all the time.
How has the IoT already impacted content marketing?
Marketing has been heavily influenced by the IoT in recent years. Social media, specifically, has seen huge growth in this area because it is already IoT-integrated. Companies can respond immediately to concerns and issues by monitoring their social media accounts. This leads to happy, loyal customers as well as better conversions.
The difficulty that marketers face today with increasing urgency is the sheer amount of data now available. That data can be overwhelming to a company that doesn’t know how to utilize it correctly. Knowing what your bounce rates are on every blog post broken down by device type is only helpful if you can run reports on that information to discover what types of content your customers find most helpful and which devices they’re using to access this information. While the initial data is not actionable, the specific breakdown of what type of content people are actually reading and converting from — along with the most popular form for reading that data — can help you plan a very targeted content marketing campaign and set new KPIs.
The rise in digital content marketing in recent years has already been heavily influenced by these trends. The more data that is available, the easier it is for companies to give their customers exactly what they need. Companies need to have a well-executed content strategy covering the various ways that people now consume information, from traditional written content to videos and infographics as well as polls, podcasts, and social media-integrated storytelling. Companies need to be a part of a wider conversation in order to continue engaging their customers.
Does SEO still fit in the IoT?
Yes! Keywords and search optimization will be just as important as ever with the continued expansion of the IoT.
What’s coming next for content marketing and the IoT?
Neil Patel states that the “IoT will boost the reach of marketing to new levels. No area of life, no product, no service, no solution is unmarketable.” So how can companies use this to their advantage? By utilizing the ever-growing amount of data at their disposal to learn what their customers like, need, want, and must have.
The IoT opens new marketing avenues for companies, including dynamic pricing, new buying options, and predictive advertising. Companies can already see items that get abandoned in online shopping carts and use that data to trigger everything from discount offers to newsletters with content showing the benefits of such a purchase. With the IoT, companies will be able to send this type of information before the person ever even puts something in their basket by tracking purchase timelines and search history to know exactly what that person will likely buy at a given time.
The key component that continues to be honed through the collected data is targeting your audience. You can narrow your funnel but increase your leads (raising your overall content ROIs) by knowing who your buyers are and what your window-shoppers need to push them into becoming buyers. As Ben Barone-Nugent so aptly puts it: "Valuable content built around rigorous customer insights is the difference between Red Bull and preloading a U2 album." Red Bull is known for its innovative marketing campaigns that resonate with its audience while Apple received ridicule online for pushing a U2 album to every iTunes user, causing many to download it unknowingly (and unwillingly in most cases). Knowing your customers intimately is the best way to keep your company on top and avoid marketing missteps.
What can you do to keep up with the changing landscape?
With new developments every year, it’s more important than ever to know what changes are coming in your industry. Invest in a diverse content strategy that incorporates new innovations, and ensure that all content displays your unique brand voice. Setting yourself apart is going to become more difficult than ever as more data is available at a simple voice command. With so many changes coming so quickly, it will be very easy for companies to fall behind and be forgotten.
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