taking pictures at a concert
The internet of things offers unprecedented opportunities for access and data — two factors which support great personalization

IoT and personalization really belong together in the same breath. One facilitates data and the other represents opportunities for the use of that data. 

That’s because when we talk about IoT, we’re really talking about amazing opportunities to harness the data coming from myriad personal interactions, including many interactions we’ve never even considered before this moment in time.

More and more, IoT offers the kind of unparalleled customer access and insight that no website — or mobile experience — can compete with, in terms of connectivity, real-time integration and personal alignment.

For marketers, IoT represents a tremendous opportunity to go beyond traditional web or CRM data to embrace a world of 50-75 billion connected devices and the highly connected customers behind them.

Connected Customer Experiences

The deep, interconnected potential of merging IoT and personalization arises from our innate desire to make and strengthen our connections. At a very basic level, we crave connection because we crave better customer experiences.

In today’s always-connected and customer-driven landscape, more personalized connections are better connections. More personalized means more relevant, more interesting, less distracting and more enjoyable.

Relevant and Welcoming

That shouldn’t be news to anyone because we’ve been laser-focused on delivering relevance at scale across our collective digital and mobile experiences for quite some time now. Up until recently, delivering that relevance was much simpler because the focus was simply on making customers feel at home when they landed on one of our digital experiences.

We wanted those customers to feel welcomed. To do that, we’d call them by name, reference their past purchases, make relevant recommendations and do what we could to facilitate positive, proactive and spot-on journeys, from that first hello straight through to checkout and beyond.

IoT Meets Personalization

That’s how we’ve all thought about personalization up until this point. But with IoT in the mix, that all changes. Now, in this IoT-meets-personalization world, we can be more connected, both to each other and to the things that make our lives better and more comfortable.

And that becomes a powerful cycle: After all, if the things that connect us aren’t inherently personalized, then what good are they? What value do they offer if they don’t offer relevance? In fact, we see many connected devices that facilitate connected experiences, but ultimately fall flat because they don't provide real, relevant value.

Reinventing Personalized Experiences

As more and more companies dive into the IoT landscape, relevance will become a key differentiator. Companies that can effectively personalize will be well positioned for success, while those who can’t won’t be around for long.

That means that for brand stakeholders, marketers and consumers, it won’t be about making better recommendations or being everywhere the customer is. Instead, it will be about how we think, act and engage now and in the future — and how we can reinvent those thoughts, actions and touch points as new, even more spot-on experiences.

Who Let the Dogs Out?

As both a digital marketer and a consumer, I’m already experiencing some of the potential and promise of IoT personalization in my own life — and those of my children and pets. For example, I have installed an app called Petzi on my smartphone, which enables me to check in with my dogs throughout the day.

I can use the app to see what they’re up to, say hi and even wirelessly dispense a long-distance treat or two, all with a few quick clicks. The app lets me connect with fellow pet owners and talk to my dog through the camera. No, my dogs don’t talk back, but the experience is fun for me and feels like the peak of personalization when I’m away from home.

From Goldfish to Fitness Goals   

I also have a few Amazon Dash buttons in my house that let my kids can summon an endless supply of their favorite Goldfish crackers on demand. It’s pure utility, designed to facilitate a commerce-driven experience between my family and Amazon, but it works for everyone’s needs.

And in case I want to keep track of my own Goldfish consumption, there’s my Withings scale, which records my weight and body composition, while coaching and rewarding me for progress I make toward my weight-loss goals. Could things veer into the creepy zone if Withings and its marketing team start tapping into my personal info a little too much? Absolutely, but so far, so good.

Conversions and Commerce

These three very different touch points illustrate just a few of the ways that IoT and personalization can open the doors surrounding data, the experiences that emerge from it and where and how those experiences take place.

What’s more, all three of my personal experiences are facilitating conversions and creating commerce. For example, I can now buy treats designed specifically for the Petzi, which didn’t exist a year or two ago.

Bigger and Broader IoT Applications

So interesting opportunities abound, whether you’re pulling the strings behind your company’s IoT or personalization initiatives or not. And as these powerful marketing forces continue to infiltrate our homes and businesses, the ripple effects of their impacts will be felt even more widely.

These opportunities will challenge our organizations to think in much bigger, broader ways. Pretty soon, that pet cam won’t just be a pet cam. It will be a way to interact with an entire brand and the community that surrounds it. IoT will soon be pushing every envelope there is to push and setting the stage for how we deliver relevance as an integral part of doing business, now and in the future.