Will the Internet of Things (IoT) End Marketing as we Know it?

While technological innovation is often credited with driving industrial trends and change, the fact remains that the job market has been a constantly changeable entity for generations. From social influences to political reforms, there are numerous factors that combine to popularise and diversify some industries while sounding the death-knell for others.

Innovation and technological advancement is certainly the main driver of industrial change, however, thanks primarily to concepts such as big data and the Internet of Things (IoT). The later will be particularly influential in the next decade, as it has the potential to impact heavily on some sectors and alter the way in which particular disciplines are undertaken and measured.

How will the IoT Impact on Marketing and Sales?

Marketing and sales are likely to be heavily impacted by the IoT, as these disciplines have already been transferred online through analytical CRM systems and Cloud-based programs. The IoT can complete a thorough transformation of the sector, however, especially in relation to branding, packaging and promotional campaigns. 

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At present, companies measure the reaction to their brand by drawing customer feedback through integrated online forms or corporeal market research. While this can be stored and analysed through CRM software to guide future decisions, the accuracy of this data remains questionable (especially when it is drawn from a wide source).

How will the IoT Change this?

The IoT has the potential to correct this imbalance, however, by using sensor technology to capture the reaction of individual consumers’ to everything from logos to a firms’ overarching branding message. Depending on the precise sensor and software used, companies would be able to measure consumer preferences, brain activity, heart rate and eye movement in order to gain a genuine insight into how the brand is being perceived. This technology could be used comfortably alongside existing CRM programs, creating a more efficient marketing process and eliminating the need for human interpretation.


On a similar note, firms will gather feedback from customers’ concerning their experience of the brand, the quality of service and the purposefulness of their products. They use online and offline forums and resources to garner this information, but there are considerable issues in terms of gathering honest feedback that reflects the true nature of the relationship between brand and consumer.

How will the IoT Change this?

While the IoT is generally revered for its potential to provide connectivity between the virtual and physical realms, it is sensory technology that makes this possible. This is best embodied by the way in which such sensors can be integrated into products and packaging, which can measure each customer’s physical reaction to receiving a product, installing it and using it for the first time. These sensors can also relay information to brands concerning how often their product is used, and whether there are any issues that prevent the consumer from receiving value for their hard earned money. More importantly, sensors can open the lines of remote communication between businesses and customers, so that the latter can report faults or issues without having to go through a long-winded or costly customer service process.

Promotion and Product Marketing

Marketing is a constantly changing entity, and one which incorporates multiple facets and platforms. At present, firms tend to operate integrated campaigns through mediums such social media, television and email. While the exact nature of each campaign will vary depending on the nature of the product and the designated target audience, strategies will often evolve with the market (which leaves little room for automation using existing technology).

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How will the IoT Change this?

When marketing multiple products simultaneously, companies are forced to constantly rotate their messaging and adjust the images used on billboards and similar promotional materials. This requires a huge amount of physical work, but the IoT has the potential to reduce this by automatic changes in messaging and imagery according to eye movement, footfall and the speed of travel. In terms of promotional online content such as blog posts or targeted advertisements, IoT can be adjusted according to individual consumer preferences, in addition to other factors such as the time of day or click-through rates. The application of this technology will make automated marketing an effective and viable option, while also reducing much of the labour associated with managing promotional campaigns.

The Last Word

While the IoT is undoubtedly a ground-breaking technological innovation, it’s potential to change the landscape of marketing and sales may be a mixed blessing for the labour market. More specifically, there is a genuine concern that the IoT could effectively displace some human employees, thanks to its capacity for automating and managing processes without compromising on efficiency. So although the exact impact of the IoT can only be estimated, it is likely to change particular industries and disciplines beyond recognition in the years to come.

Image: iStock




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