Buzz or Bust: The Internet of Things (and More)?

An enduring factor or a passing fad? We asked some honored laborers in the marketing tech trenches to give us their thoughts on some of the buzzwords (and phrases) of 2016. Let’s play Holiday Buzz or Bust: The Internet of Things from a marketing perspective.

Lewis Gersh (“Chief Stamp Licker” at Pebblepost): It’s a bust, or soon to be. The FTC is smart to smart TVs, and what they may mean for consumer privacy. Also, recently consumer watchdogs filed with federal regulators saying a children’s toy-maker is violating the privacy of children via its speech-recognition software.

Daniel Incandela (SVP for global marketing at Return Path): I’m going with “bust” on this one. IoT often feels like technology for the sake of technology. IoT should exist to enhance people’s lives and from a brand perspective, it has to fit into the entire product strategy and roadmap. Strategy around IoT feels somewhat scattered at the moment, but it’s clearly still evolving.

David Panek (SVP of marketing at Aprimo): With the rapid growth of the Internet-of-Things, marketers will absolutely get many opportunities to use this technology to enhance the delivery of their campaigns and engage with customers in new and exciting ways. However, with the growth of IoT, the number of channels will grow exponentially larger and more tactics to optimize and advertise on IoT devices will spring up. As a result, increased pressure will be placed on marketers to be on the right channels, at the right time, with the right content.
Verdict: Things are still evolving, but some our experts are calling “bust” right now.

We also garnered some insights on other buzzy topics which we’d like to share:

Digital Transformation

Kevin Gavin (CMO at Five9): The term digital transformation was without a doubt a “hot” term of 2016, but in 2017 we will still feel the impacts of its importance on industries of all types. From healthcare to retail to government, organization leaders will continue to realize that if they do not make changes to become more digital, modern and agile in the way they operate, they will not be able to compete any longer. You can call it a digital transformation or not, but with nearly every business function moving to the cloud these days, it’s inevitable that operating a business in a more traditional way will not be successful.

Predictive Analytics

Anita Gandhi (VP of Consumer Analytics at PlaceIQ): Location data will begin to play an essential role in transforming predictive analytics for marketers, but it’s not the only ingredient. Different data sets will continue to work in harmony help brands better understand the consumer path to purchase, in order to make strategic marketing decisions. In 2017, more brands will leverage data about TV viewership, in-store purchases, automotive ownership to build that understanding, with location data acting as the connecting bridge, and filling in the traditional blind-spot of the physical consumer journey.

What will accelerate rapidly in 2017 is the variety of ways in which this end-to-end view of audience behavior is leveraged by brands. The increased integration of location data will elevate the data ecosystem’s ability inform decisions about media strategy, planning, activation and analytics, as well as open new frontiers for brand executives. 
With a more diverse approach to understanding consumers, brands and will ‘graduate’ the data ecosystem to informing broader business-critical decisions, like where to open stores or how to approach product development. 


Lewis Gersh (“Chief Stamp Licker” at Pebblepost): Buzz, with a caveat. I define programmatic as “data-driven decisioning with high levels of automation that continually enhance efficiency and efficacy of a marketer’s goals.” With this balance, it’s a definite buzz as the value-add to the marketer’s ROI — and the consumer’s experience — is all hockey stick.

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