In my last post, I talked about the meaning of the Internet of Things (IoT) for marketers. As a quick recap, marketers must understand that (1) their customers are ALWAYS on and (2) they must always be ON to their customers. In this post, I intend to cover IoT versus personalization. In an earlier post, I mentioned that marketers must remain customer-centric. Therefore, the IoT should not be a distraction, but an enabler to building better relationships with their customers. Marketers round the world agree about the gravity of the IoT. Acccording to recent research from the Economist Intelligence Unit, marketing executives believe that IoT, compared to other trends, will have the biggest impact on marketers by the year 2020. Personalization fell just short of IoT on the ranking, by a mere 1%. At Manthan, our point of view is that the customer comes first. The marketer should work to cultivate a meaningful relationship with the consumer using personalization technologies. These technologies should be based on critical customer insights supported by predictive analytics. To arrive at critical customer insights, relevant data sources much be aggregated and analyzed. This includes data from internal systems (e.g., CRM, transaction data, browsing data, etc.) and external systems (e.g., social media, third party data providers, consumer devices). IoT comes into play with the data collection and the personalization pieces of the puzzle. But here’s the danger with buzzwords and marketing phrases of the minute like IoT. Like Big Data, IoT is a concept. We see that marketers are still struggling to build effective business cases for Big Data (they are out there though!). When you look at wearables like Google Glass and Apple Watch, it’s easy to fall into the trap that it’s all just hype. Unfortunately, it is likely to stay in the realm of hype until marketers commit to customer-centricity first, then execution second. A recent Ad Age article warned against the hype of wearables, noting that marketers must create a vision on what the future customer experience should look like. At Manthan, we agree with this recommendation wholeheartedly. Therefore, marketers must arrive at an understanding of the current customer journey to architect the future state journey. This involves analytics. IoT has the capacity to provide very personal data – what I’ll call “micro-moments” for now. The customer journey is not linear, it’s a series of ups and downs and loops around points of interaction. Each interaction point results in a customer action or non-action. Today, many marketers can create assumptions as to why the customer decided to act or not act to a given trigger (e.g., ad, coupon, etc.). But IoT, with the promises of smart watches, apparels and otherwise, can start to record some very interesting data points, like heartbeat, moods, location, stress levels, calendars and more. Instead of sending a new email offer when a consumer abandons an online shopping cart – could we possibly obtain data regarding the consumer’s individual sentiment at the time of abandoning the cart? Then, instead of delivering an offer to incentivize a return to purchase – can we provide an intelligent offer that overcomes the exact customer objection to the sale? This is the “micro-moment of truth” and when the rubber meets the road, in terms of IoT. However, the “micro-moment of truth” is still under construction. Marketers need to understand the path-to-purchase first, then layer over additional characteristics on this journey, such as customer emotion. So, how can marketers get their proverbial feet wet with IoT and get closer to the customer – perhaps even as close as the moment of truth (note that this is not the micro-moment of truth!)? The answer lays within the beacon – which I’ll cover in my next post. Stay tuned.