Mastering mobile enables success in an IoT world

Forrester’s Thomas Husson argues its time to focus on allowing mobile to facilitate the internet of things, in a new report The Internet of Things redefines brand engagement.

Marketers are always falling in love with mobile’s latest “shiny new object” and new technology acronyms — 5G, BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy), NFC (near-field communication), RWD (responsive web design), etc. — and they’re constantly looking for the next platform, whether it’s virtual reality (VR), bots, artificial intelligence (AI), or the internet of things (IoT).

Yet despite the hype around the dozens of billions of connected objects to appear in the next five to 10 years, the internet of things (IoT) seems to open up more business opportunities in the industrial and B2B space than for consumer brands.

Even if IoT applications are still experimental for B2C brands, marketers should prepare now for the next wave of brand innovation, powered by sensors and connectivity that will explode beyond mobile.

In the near future, IoT will enable brands to create and deepen relationship with consumers and force marketing departments to shift from managing products to crafting experiences. This report will help B2C marketers, whatever their industry, to distinguish the IoT hype from the reality and understand how IoT and mobile will overlap in the years to come

As a result, he says, marketers will need to develop experiences rather than managing products – a process to which mobile phones will be key.

“Reports of IoT killing mobile are greatly exaggerated, if not completely inaccurate,” said  Husson. “Instead, brands need to define engagement scenarios where smartphones are the primary interface and remote control of connected experiences.”

Forrester predicts that this year, a third of US online adults will use some form of IoT whether at home, through wearables or in their car. But adoption of connected devices in smart homes or cars is still low, especially in Europe. The findings show that as yet only 4 per cent of UK online adults use their mobile or tablet to control or monitor home utilities or appliances.

As yet, IoT-based marketing to consumers is still limited, but Husson suggests in the report that this industry will eanble marketers to listen to consumers and analyse their real behaviours, interact with consumers more frequently and in a more intimate way, as well as differentiating their customer experiences. They will also be able to build new offerings and business models.

The key to doing that, argues Husson, is by delivering utility through the IoT – and marketers must improve their skills before they can do that. That includes the challenges of using data to put customer behaviour in context and keep control of the customer relationship. Privacy and security must be a differentiator, while design thinking will help marketers to move from products to experiences.