50 billion devices will be connected by the end of the decade, according to Cisco. We now live in a world where there are more devices than people online . Known as “the Internet of Things,” it’s the new reality for the digital sphere: People connecting their devices to the Internet to enhance their quality of life. And it goes way beyond just phones, tablets and glorified exercise watches.
Imagine a world where your washing machine tells you it’s about to break via email, or a door that lets you check whether or not you locked it from your phone. Those aren’t science fiction examples or even something “a couple of years off.” You can have both today in the here and now. But how will a more connected world change the way your business markets content?
More than anything else, the Internet of Things will make content marketing more ubiquitous. You’ll be competing with more and more companies for customer attention. Your competitors won’t just be in your own field. They will be anyone trying to garner customer interest using content marketing. There are only so many hours in the day for customers to read this increasing amount of information. Customer attention will be harder than ever to grab.
However, the Internet of Things also allows you to drill down and target your customers in a far more precise manner. For example, a connected stove could provide insights about what kinds of food a potential customer likes to eat. This provides an opportunity for you to provide that customer with recipes for other foods they might like. Likewise, you could send off DIY auto repair information to a person whose car is acting up — and you just so happen to sell the right part.
The Internet of Things challenges companies to provide consumers with greater value through marketing. You’re no longer machine gunning the public with data only tangentially relevant to their lives. You will now have to send them articles and information so specifically targeted to who they are and what they do that it seems kind of spooky — right before they click your link, read your article and buy what it is you’re selling. Your marketing has to be seen not as an intrusion into public life, but rather as increasingly indispensable.
Marketing is no longer a means to get the word out. Every company is now in the service business. The Internet of Things means that every company’s content marketing has to provide value, free of charge, to customers and non-customers alike. Customers who are already buying your products will receive additional value and a reason to remain loyal. People not buying your goods will likewise receive the same value — but don’t be surprised if they become brand loyalists in their own time.
Content marketing in the Internet of Things comes with challenges, but also opportunities. You need to offer top-quality products and services, but also innovative industry thinking. Those who can do both will be cutting into the margins of those who cannot.