Storytelling with IoT: What Brands Need to Understand to Maximize ROI

Apr 18, 2019


BEST PRACTICES SERIES

You’ve stepped out of your house for a run around the neighborhood. Half an hour passes and you check your smart fitness watch and are pleasantly surprised to find that you’ve achieved more mileage than usual for that amount of time. Smiling, you head home knowing that you can eat that doughnut in the kitchen without shame.  

Now imagine that when you got home, you received a notification on your phone that said, “You’ve run a total of 30 miles this week. Right now, you’re about 2 miles short from beating Brenda’s mileage. Based on the areas that you’ve been running, we suggest these routes. Tomorrow is your chance to grab the glory!”

Watch out, Brenda. Your watch has your wrist and your back and you’re amped up to win. It’s true, you may not actually run those two miles the next day, but you WILL think about doing it and you’ll certainly remember the message and even the support that was given to you from your (apparently anti-Brenda) watch. That’s because you received content with a story and it was personalized, relevant, and highly resonant. This is just one example of the goldmine of storytelling possible with consumer-facing IoT data.

Consumer IoT Data Will Revolutionize Marketing

By 2030, each person will own 15 connected devices and that means unprecedented amounts of data. What marketers and brands do with that data is up to them. But if they choose to not use that data to tell stories, they might as well be walking away from money on the table.

Competition for customer attention is at an all-time high. As marketers, we’ve found all these ways to “spray and pray” our messages to our audience, and as the competition increases, we’ve since understood that only the highly resonant messages will make it. That’s easily achievable with IoT data.

According to a Marketo infographic, 51% of the world’s top global marketers expect that IoT will revolutionize the marketing landscape in the near future. And we believe it. While most consumer-facing IoT applications will probably be managed from smartphones for the near future, other connected devices—including watches, wristbands, laptops, and tablets—can be gateways to customized content. Point blank, it’s changing the way content is discovered and enjoyed.

Connected devices have given marketers a new touchpoint in the customer journey and a sneak peek into a future of what always relevant, always personalized content can look like. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can create immersive content experiences with IoT data that delight and even amaze your customers.

What Can You Do with Your IoT data? 

The answer to that question is, “A LOT.” Marketers are using strategies like targeted email campaigns, tailored product recommendations, text notifications, and even custom videos to deliver personalized marketing experiences to customers and prospects. Below are some of my favorite examples of how big brands are using IoT data to deliver innovative and experiential marketing moments. 

  • Bonnaroo Music Festival used IoT bracelets to deliver real-time, event-related offers to attendees.
  • Diageo Whiskey experienced a 72% increase in sales when they used IoT technology to connect 100,000 bottles to the internet, allowing users to send personalized digital videos to their father for Father’s Day.
  • The Syfy TV network partnered with Philips to create a program-synchronized lighting experience. The Syfy Sync app lets users coordinate the colors of their Philips Hue lighting with scenes from Syfy movies they’re watching on TV.

Still, none of these brands would’ve been successful if they hadn’t taken the time to synthesize the data into stories. This is where content strategy is still a differentiator for brands. If you don’t envelop that data in a story, you’re not any better off than when you started—with a slightly targeted but not so subtle and not so loved marketing campaign.

Data Isn’t Memorable, Stories are Memorable

When it comes to IoT data, success starts with content strategy. While all this real-time data can help marketers understand what’s working and what isn’t, it can’t help them make consumers care. Only stories can do that. Storytelling can keep your customers and prospects engaged, no matter who’s competing for their attention, because you’ve built brand loyalty.

Scientists have a saying, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” The more neurons that fire together at the same time, the longer the memory lasts. And through research done for The Storytelling Edge, we see that stories get all your neurons firing: they light up the brain, which means increased memorability. So what do you do when you want to rise above your competitors? You outlive them… in people’s memories.

Allow consumers to become characters in your advertising. Give them a voice and a fully immersive experience enhanced by augmented reality and personalized content, and in return you’ll have the opportunity to reach new levels of ROI.

What Story Will You Tell?

All brands have stories to share and effective storytelling is all about knowing your audience in more detail—what they seek and what they respond to. Your marketing team or your agency will need to evolve into more technical and data-centric partners. Agencies in particular will need to become more involved in developing internal systems and manage the implementation of tagging and synthesizing content.

It’s critical for brands to elevate their marketing team’s or agency’s capabilities to include storytelling and determining what kind of data is meaningful. Incorporating the right consumer-facing IoT data will influence which story needs to be told and help you to outrun Brenda (or in this case your competitors) and find the right route to your customers’ hearts and minds—and wallets.


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