Don’t you love acronyms? Well, this is one that has been around for a while. I was at a recent American Marketing Association meeting on the topic of Internet of Things, and the speaker was from Microsoft. Although he was a bit challenged with technical difficulties and his presentation was a bit weak, the attendance of nearly 100 said a lot for the interest from the DFW marketing community.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects—devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data. For some it’s a very scary thought which makes Orwell’s “1984” pale in comparison, or makes Tom Cruise’s “Minority Report” a glimpse of the near future rather than fantasy. It’s reality for firms like Microsoft and Adobe who are creating and implementing strategies to help marketers to gather this information and create new ways to market directly to clients. Needless to say many of these methods don’t involve print – which is Chicken Little speaking. Yet, there are opportunities for many.
The ability to manage the data and understand the various channels of advertising/promotion is unique in today’s world. Marketing folks see the value of 1:1 marketing – especially in a mobile environment — but are challenged in using the right tools – and right mix. Print providers which are presently handling extensive variable data projects have the technical knowledge of parsing and formatting data to create a message, but are struggling to find ways to say that they’re more than a print provider. Over the next few years (some say 3-5), the use of Big Data will grow logarithmically, and the firms which understand how to manage the data to create messages (regardless of media channel) have tremendous opportunities. It’s just a matter of finding a way to become more than “just” a print provider.