“Fabrizio called,” said the mirror to Rita as she glanced at it on returning home, “He apologizes profusely and says he loves you.”
Bizarre? Kafkaesque? Slapstick?
However it strikes one, the coming Internet of Things era might well see similar scenarios acted out in real life. Many will involve personalized marketing messages and content. Alongside Fabrizio’s confidences to Rita, of course.
Ten years ago smartphones and social media began revolutionizing the way people handled information. Now IoT is waiting in the wings to do the same. This brave new network and its devices still have some way to go before they become as widespread as mobiles and social media. But at some point users will begin finding IoT indispensable. When that happens, mirrors might or might not begin to talk, but a revolution in online content strategy, content distribution and marketing shall be a certainty.
IoT Will Deliver to Marketers What They
Have Always Dreamed Of
Why? Because IoT will deliver to marketers what they have always dreamed of: a microscope. Today’s marketer can at best hope to narrow a target down to group level. Identifying target groups involves lengthy trawls. But precisely because they are groups, even the most prolonged and costly research still contains a huge error. Tomorrow’s IoT will comprise billions of interconnected devices owned by individuals. This means that marketers would aim precisely targeted content at each individual. They could hone this content further by micro timing and localizing it.
The technology to send content to IoT devices already exists. One reason why it has not attracted content is that there is still no critical mass of IoT users. As to likely user reaction, recent surveys found that some 60 percent of North American IoT users were willing to receive content on their networked IoT devices. This hints that IoT content creation and distribution will snowball after the first targeted message hits a smart home or networked car.
The greatest technical barrier to IoT content is security. IoT network security has a way to go before becoming acceptable. For the time being, IoT devices cannot accept attachments. This is a relieving factor as manufacturers have to protect only devices’ entry points to allay user concerns. In time, IoT functionality should match that of any current mobile. Incompatibilities between currently available devices are another barrier to content.
Content Marketing Strategists Face the Challenge of Users’ Cultural Expectations
Content marketing strategists face a more intricate challenge. It is users’ habit patterns and cultural expectations. Speaking objects are the perennial stuff of fairy tales. How would users react to a smart mirror talking? What devices would they deem suitable or unsuitable as content mediators? Making IoT messaging customary would take time. What will change are the very mindsets of several generations with experience of an interconnected world.
Still in its nascent stage, IoT is set to reinvent content marketing. It will gain critical mass in coming years. When it has gained it, content marketing will enter an entirely new, very promising, but as yet unpredictable era. Nonetheless, it will never be the same.
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