When Things Matter More than People

The Internet of Things is beginning to drive the tech industry and soon the marketing and media sector. You need look no further than this year’s CES to see the trend unfold. At the same time, social media is losing luster in the eyes of traditional technologists and marketers.

Before we get into that, let’s discuss the Internet of Things trend. The Internet of Things incorporates Internet capable sensors into many objects in day-to-day life, including current electronics but also new unthought of ones (like refrigerator magnets).

iStrategy Labs’ Peter Corbett recently noted that Internet of Things trend was becoming a powerhouse in marketing: “If you’re a communicator and you’re not at least conversant in what’s going on in that space you’re at a dramatic disadvantage. With this technology you can build anything from a James Bond style bookshelf opener to a Spongebob Skill Crane that you can play with over the Internet.”

Silcon Valley investors like Marc Andressen are focusing on start-ups that leverage sensors. And with good reason. The market opportunity for this new layer of smart things is huge.

From a marketing perspective, the Internet of Things allows incredible new possibilities for precision. Connected ads allow brands to serve content based on someone’s demographics as determined by their physical body or the data they willingly surrender via social media, mobile phones, and web cookies. Unique applications can be created (like pizza delivery by pressing the aforementioned refrigerator magnet), or apps like Nike’s sensor-driven Fuelband.

Really, we are just beginning to learn how the Internet of Things can be applied to marketing. It will certainly allow a level of personalization that heretofore had only been imagined in science fiction novels (and believe me, I do have a related novel concept brewing).

This kind of precision demands a new series of capabilities, including the abilities to analyze data, and deploy relevant products and content. This skillset group — from marketing automation skills to data analysis — is in great demand within corporate marketing departments.

That’s why young professionals looking to break into marketing would be wise to learn data analytics, and its application to customer segments, lead paths, and yes, conversion. The data analyst is this decade’s lucrative position in marketing departments. Social media, well, it’ll get you a decent job, but not like this.

The Social Star Loses Luster

I have a sneaking suspicion that 2013 will be remembered as the year that social media marketing peaked as a trend.


While still the stuff of social media expert conversations, marketing blogs seem repetitive, and industry publications like Advertising Age are moving on.

It’s not a big surprise, afterall 73 percent of online adults in the United States now use at least one social network site. Really, the only big things that happened last year in social were private messaging (which seems like a reaction against public forms of social media) and video social networking.

It’s not that businesses won’t continue spending on social or that PR people/community managers will be out of work. Far from it. Social isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s a primary driver of data needed for contextual media and word of mouth trust. Social remains a valuable asset for companies.

It’s just that, well, social media marketing is not new anymore. You could argue that companies are in the learning phase, but last I checked they were still determining how to build a decent website, too.

Plus companies just seem to fail when it comes to connecting with people online. The native advertising boom acknowledges that brands would rather pay to play than do the hard work of scaling social media communities.

Such is the way of things. What goes up, must come down.

What do you think?

You can learn more about the Internet of Things at xPotomac this February 28! Use my first name as a discount code to get 20% off.

Featured image by catalysis_comms.