The internet of things, which, by name, sounds a bit boring and somewhat confusing, is poised to transform the way the world does business. The internet of things and big data are some of the hottest buzzwords floating around today, but many people still don’t understand just what they are, and just how they are changing the face of business.
What is The Internet of Things?
The internet of things, quite simply, is putting everything we do online. Much of what people do is already online – shopping, consuming entertainment, navigating, etc. The internet of things takes it to the extreme. Everything from cars to appliances to parking meters will be connected to the internet, and therefore, collecting massive amounts of “big data” about personal and consumer behavior.
Any time we connect to the internet, our behavior is cataloged. Even when privacy controls are in place, we still leave a data trail. When we talk about “big data” we aren’t just talking about the gathering and storing of data, but also analysis of that data. Companies in all industries use big data to help understand customer intentions, customer behavior, and help drive business decisions.
How do the Internet of Things and Big Data Fit Together?
Together, the internet of things and big data have enormous potential to change the way things get done. In fact, things are already beginning to change. Consumers are experiencing highly personalized buying experiences when they shop a large retailers. Organizations are initiating personalized and highly effective marketing campaigns based on big data, and they are using data to generate better products and services. As the internet of things expands, the amount of data collected will increase. With that increased data, companies have more information to draw from when it comes to improving sales, marketing, customer service, and product development.
Corporate and Consumer Benefits of Big Data
Both consumers and corporate entities will benefit from the internet of things and its resulting big data in a variety of ways, including:
Most people are familiar with customized internet advertising. Users know that the data trails they leave online will generate personalized ads based on their previous behavior. Users and businesses also know, however, that targeted ads in their current iterations, can be hit or miss. As the internet of things becomes more prevalent, companies will be able to generate even more personalized and targeted ad experiences for consumers. This will go a long way in helping to generate customer loyalty in e-commerce. Loyalty has been notoriously difficult to cultivate in the highly competitive world of online shopping, but many believe that the internet of things will help shift that trend.
Improved Products and Services
As big data gets bigger, companies will be able to use that information to provide better products and services. Currently, organizations have to actively search for and gather user feedback, and a lot of decisions are still made based on statistical equations, inferences, and assumptions. The internet of things will help gather real-time data from users that will show how, where, when, and why people utilize their products, and they can also gather critical information on how and why customers choose not to return. They can then use that information to make strategic improvements and help increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Improved Marketing and Sales
Marketing and sales are not just important for businesses, but they are also important for customers. Consumers want to purchase products and services that benefit them in some way. Unfortunately, even after billions of dollars and decades of research, most marketing and sales efforts fall flat. If you sat in on a sales meeting in 2014, it’s likely you’d hear many of the same tactics and strategies you’d have heard in a sales meeting from 1944. Even though technology has evolved, not much has changed about how businesses approach sales.
Currently, both sales and marketing efforts are often about casting a wide net. The internet of things and its resulting big data will allow companies and salespeople to talk to individuals on an individual level, addressing highly specific needs without a customer having say, “These are my needs, how can you meet them?”
Marketing campaigns can be personalized to be more relevant and unique to the consumer, helping to improve relevancy and capture more leads. The entire process of customer acquisition will become highly focused and far more efficient.
Improved Customer Service
When we talk about customer experience, we are talking about how the customer feels from their very first interaction with an organization through their very last. Companies have spent a great deal of time and effort attempting to improve customer experience online through big data collection. The internet of things will continue to improve online customer experience, but it will also help improve personal customer service interactions, as well.
Through the use of big data, call centers will become much more efficient. Customers won’t have to wade through a lengthy menu in order to connect with the right department. Based upon their customer history and profile, they can be routed directly to an agent who is poised and ready to address their concerns based on that customer’s detailed profile. Agents can be matched with customers based upon their own unique skills and expertise, helping to improve interactions and reduce the need for issue escalations.
The internet of things and big data are a dynamic duo. They are set to improve both customer satisfaction and organizational effectiveness in myriad ways, changing the world of business in new and exciting ways as they increase efficiency, improve effectiveness, and establish deep and meaningful customer relationships.