This blog post is Part 2 of a 3-part series on the role of Internet of Things with marketing by Jason Grunberg, Director of Content & PR, and Ian White, CTO & co-founder. Read Part 1.

We all know that our world is becoming more connected every day and that as the Internet of Things continues to take shape, we’ll see creating vast opportunities to learn more about our customers and massive changes in how we engage with them. But figuring out where and how to tap into the evolving and ever-more connected consumer is an overwhelming challenge. The volume, velocity and variety of data will be more than we’ve ever seen before.

To make it a bit more approachable, I think of the IoT as a piñata. Hear me out for a second. Every marketer is sizing it up, looking for the best positioning. It’s going to take us a few whacks to figure it out, but once we hit the right spot the ground will be littered with candy-covered data. Everyone will go dashing in, grabbing everything they can. Those who are first in will walk away with volume, others will sit back figuring out where to break through. We’ll then figure out what what’s valuable to us, what’s worth trading and what we’ll toss away.

We’re already seeing the impact. Data about how and where people spend their time is more accessible than ever, and will only continue to grow with the anticipated explosion of the Internet of Things. Until recently, this data regarding how consumers spend their time at home, interact with their communities and manage health and wellness had not been directly captured. And it presents one of the most exciting opportunities in marketing’s history for brands to redefine the customer experience by understanding how people live their lives–from their homes, cars, as well as wearable devices that monitor a person’s habits.

While being first on line at the proverbial piñata will have its benefits, we believe that, as with any marketing effort, it’ll be those who think first and consistently evaluate that will have the right approach. We’ve outlined three areas that you need to consider today, well before marketers worldwide start lining up to take a crack.

The Connected Home

In the home, data regarding appliance usage, food consumption, entertainment habits like gaming and television, home security and surveillance, and schedules will be readily available.

This data has a wide range of purposes. Systems allow people to remotely control thermostats, set security systems, and turn faucets and lights on and off, for example. Brands can ascertain a person’s schedule by analyzing this data, which creates the opportunity for a brand to cross sell different services to a homeowner.

Sometimes it’s not about cross selling, but, rather, the customer relationship. Understanding a person’s entertainment preferences allows brands to personalize the experience and generate brand loyalty, locking in subscription fees for streaming services, for example.

But while most consumer brands have a place in the home, not all brands have a point of entry to the data that the connected home will generate. Marketers already considering partnerships with electronics companies, utilities and other consumer products and brand families are taking the right approach.

The Smart Car

And then there’s the car that Americans use to get around. Where people go, the routes they take, the music they listen to, and the businesses they frequent are powerful marketing and branding data points.

Eventually, connected cars will drive themselves, and we may not be too far off from this. But in the meantime, connected cars can generate data using monitoring devices and diagnostic applications whenever a driver turns on the engine that can be used by manufacturers to improve safety features and refine products.

While connected cars have navigation systems that can help drivers arrive at their destinations faster, for one, they also provide information on how someone interacts with a community. An auto dealer may not know where someone banks, for example, but this information can be captured through navigation services, so that . autoCar manufactures can determine if better banking partnerships can be established at the dealer level. They could further improve the customer experience by providing localized content personalized based on individual user routes. This presents a tremendous potential point of entry for companies of all sizes.

The data potential for the connected car has us buzzing. We believe that every brand needs to be accessing explicit behavioral data and implicit interest data to build out a true understanding of each individual customer. After all, there’s much more to you than what you do, right? Well think of the potential interests that could be collected via a connected car.


Wearables are the most mainstream of the IoT possibilities right now, and these have the potential to provide data across all aspects of a person’s life. The most popular are fitness bands that collect health and wellness data about a person’s 24-hour mobility and sleep habits 24 hours a day. This data can be used to cross-sell fitness gear or provide nutritional information and monitoring, for example.

Wearables have many forms, such as bands, shirts and jackets made of smart fabrics, shoes, watches, fashion jewelry, eye glasses, contact lenses, helmets, gloves, hats, ski goggles and tattoos. When combined with technology, these everyday technologies have the capacity to capture an incredibly detailed and personal level of information that’s inside a person’s personal space. They track our behavior and record our lives. Along with health and wellness, the broad base of applications include gaming, aging, mobile money, fashion, and education.

This data can could be used to cross-sell fitness gear,  or provide nutritional information and monitoring, or simply to improve your understanding of how consumers interact with brands thereby fueling product innovation and content development. for example.

Using This “Connected Life”

Understanding a customer’s behavior is the cornerstone to developing a high quality consumer experience. This will be even more critical for brands as the IoT comes to life. No matter the connected device, whether it be a home, car or on a person, using this data intelligently can lead a customer down a path that creates more brand loyalty and increases revenue.

There is a catch though — this data is very fragmented and growing exponentially. Along with knowing which data will make a difference and how to harvest it, a key challenge is how to share information across platforms and partners while maintaining an appropriate balance with privacy. Customers will be increasingly concerned with the type of data that’s collected and where this data is shared. As you begin exploring your strategy you must ensure that you keep this front and center by evaluating potential directions and partners on both their potential to provide data and their approach to protecting data.

In the end, it’s really about being relevant to the customer at that moment when they are ready to engage and having what you need to predict what each individual will do next.

Using data to better the customer experience means that everyone wins.

–Jason Grunberg, Director of Content & PR at Sailthru