Internet of Things

The future of marketing

The future

Internet Of Things is the future of things. IoT (Internet Of Things) is enabling more and more devices and machines to talk to each other using internet. Marketing in the time of IoT (Internet Of Things) will be very different from the traditional. Everything, from watches to product packaging, shipping containers, medicine dispensers and suitcases will generate data. The increased volume of data will bring an exciting opportunity to collect and analyse a variety of new behaviours, in the future. But will today’s marketing be able to survive through it.

BusinessInsider’s latest reports predict internet-device connectivity of around 34 billion devices by 2020. It mentions nearly $6 trillion will be spent in the IoT sector over the next five years. You should consider some form of automation to help you organize, index, and make sense of all the new information flooding.


Death of marketing?

Let’s imagine a future when, unlike the present time, you will never run out of milk at the last moment. Sensors will collect data from your refrigerator usage and past consumption pattern. Basis that the near by grocery store will know when to send you milk packets. It will keep you well stocked, perpetually.

Does it mean marketing will have no role to play in the future when machines will be deciding for humans? Or, will marketing involve a host of new things like managing dynamic pricing systems, overseeing meta-tagging and so on. Do these go beyond the traditional responsibilities? It also means IoT will open up a multitude of digital channels for marketers to keep track of. Amazon’s ‘Dash button’ is a small step towards such channel optimisation. ‘Dash button’ provides a powerful marketing channel by combining a WiFi receiver with some plastic. Just a press of a Dash button enables easy reordering of consumer products like washing powder and so on.

So you see, a big shift is coming in the world of digital marketing. The faster IoT develops, the more pressing the need becomes for marketers to start planning strategies for their digital campaigns and practices. This way IoT will transform and expand what it means to be a marketer, in the future.

Data flood: Method in madness

Now, in the milk example, not just the grocery stores, around you, will collect your data but various milk brands will do the same too. It will put a lot of information about you in the brands’ hands. It will help them deliver the exact right message at the right time to influence your decision making. Don’t you think it will dramatically enhance the effectiveness of marketing efforts? Isn’t identification of contextual media going to be a tough task?

Also, the various grocery stores can send you discount coupons of milk brands available with them when they know that you are about to run out of milk. Brands and stores can use your information for cross selling. For example, along with milk discounts, the stores and the brands may inform you about a new health drink mix available for adults.

This way with connected devices, the marketing teams will know accurately when and where an individual will eat lunch, watch a movie, or even squeeze in a workout. So is the power of connected devices.

Way with Voice

Today, more consumers know about, or own voice enabled AI devices like “Amazon’s Alexa” or Google’s “Assistant.” Often people dictate their queries in a more natural way where they aren’t afraid of using imperatives and pronouns. Search engines attempt to understand the intention of the user as opposed to honing in on a keyword in such a case.

Recently, Facebook launched DeepText to understand people’s conversational patterns and interests. Meanwhile, the move towards natural language interfaces has already picked up steam. In the nearing future, we will be able to ask our personal devices for information regardless of subject. Some examples are – ‘How much money do I have in my account?’ or ‘When did I last visit a doctor?’.

Going back to the milk ordering scenario, the milk brands and the nearby grocery stores may use AI enabled chatbots, and digital assistants to confirm with you the milk brand of your choice. They will then send milk packets of your choice to your doorsteps.


The IoT will give brands the capability to process information about connected devices and products and then personalise them for each consumer like an advanced CRM. Organizations will be able to deliver enhanced services and messages across many different channels. This will provide for omnichannel or cross-channel personalisation at every touch point making a seamless and integrated customer journey.

The marketers can completely personalise the marketing data for target consumers, ad campaigns, the timing of sales and so on. Let’s say, if a customer is nearby one of your client’s stores then you can set up a campaign that will send them a completely personalized ad depending on their distance, the weather, past purchases from the store, previous purchases from competitors’ stores and so on.

From one-to-one emails and dynamic ad copies to customized web experiences, Artificial Intelligence will make hyper-personalization very much possible. Then it will be a perfectly streamlined marketing system. The possibilities are endless. Exciting, right?

Marketers of the future

The move towards platforms – databases, automation tools, programmatic ad programs, etc. — has been happening for years, now. But the rise of the IoT will need the technology stacks to be smarter and more powerful. They will need to be capable of handling large volumes of data, intelligently deliver the correct messaging, and learn from the outcomes. So, soon having a strong tech foundation will not be just nice-to-have, but an absolute necessity for brands.

Going forward, the traditional work approaches – groups in silos, step-by-step campaign launches, etc. – are ill-suited for the fluid, VUCA environment.

Just as marketer’s functions will increasingly involve technology, their ways of tackling tasks will need to be increasingly similar to that of tech workers. Especially, many of the processes that enable development teams to work collaboratively and iteratively – scrums, agile approaches, etc. – could be invaluable for marketers to embrace.

Today, much of the IoT technology is in the infancy phase, and there are many practical questions to be answered; the security of these connected ‘things’ will be one major question. Privacy and security are paramount to all who would use this type of embedded device. It is because of a large amount of data, about them, that will be available. Building super secure systems and incentivising customers generously will prove to be useful ways around such challenges, going in the future.



Marketing Management Student (PGMPW-2017) at SPJIMR (S P Jain Institute Of Management & Research)
I am an enthusiastic learner trying to grasp every fragment of knowledge that comes my way, be it in school or outside.
Marketing, Brands, Strategy, Technology, IoT, Innovation and Design are my favourite subjects besides the lessons I learn from the school of life.

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22 thoughts on “The future of marketing

  1. Hey Suchi, very well written. It will be interesting to see how IoT would be applied in medicine and changing human lives for good. If there were ways that could could prevent diseases, early indicators with the help of sophisticated sensors. That would probably change the face of the how pharmaceutical companies operate. The focus would change from curing a disease to preventing it. Am I dreaming or would this be a reality soon? I believe in my dreams 🙂

  2. A very insightful article Shuchi. While I was a aware of IoT your article has clearly captured how it is going to be a game changing technology. A interesting phase coming up and let us see how big corporations in India deal with this technology which is already at their door step.. Are they gearing up or are they going to be swept under?

  3. Very informative and thought provoking blog. Suchi, your blog have a good insight into the subject.well written.We are moving towards a smarter world…let’s hope to extract the best out of IoT.

  4. You are right. The line between sales and marketing will also get blurred. We will probably see a change from outward marketing to inward marketing. The biggest assets for marketers will move from a brand to our person(a). Voice as a medium of interaction is getting bigger, away from keypads and touchscreens. Connecting all these dots is going to be the next marketing challenge I suppose.

  5. A very strong one. Always thought that IOT will take over but never realised it was coming like a wave

  6. Very well written and informative article! Specially for people like me who feel it’s more of sci-fi stuff and are still new to this concept. After reading your article I feel more at ease with the whole idea and have actually started looking forward to the implementation of the IOT in day to day life!

  7. I must say it’s really insightful. You have explained very well about IoT, what interests me is your closing statement on how big giant will safely secure data and how will they store it.
    Looking forward for your next article.

  8. Interesting Shuchi! IOT indeed will play an important role in our day to day lives. We need to wait and watch what else will unfold

  9. Very well written article Shuchi!! Times are changing and so must we. IOT is definitely going to play a significant role in our day-to-day activities. Your article gives an insight. Looking forward to read more!! All the best.

  10. So true!IOT has opened a pandora’s box of unique challenges for business organisations-the test of their efficiency and productivity would be determined by how IOT-ready they are!Interesting article-Keep up the good work!

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