If I were to tell you just how much money big companies spend on marketing, you wouldn’t believe it. For example, in the movie industry sometimes more than the half the budget is spent on making sure that everybody knows what a particular film is and when it’s coming out. Money that could be used to make a better product is instead spent on reaching the widest possible audience.
Why is marketing so expensive, you ask? Well, marketing agencies need to gather quite a lot of information to determine who their target audience should be. Tools such as surveys and focus groups are applied to this end. Once they know their audience a campaign targeted towards them can be created.
Related Read: How Much Does it Cost to Market an App?
The cost of these marketing activities is something that the different industries are trying to cut. In the end, the final consumer ends up paying the price, and nobody wants their customers to be angry. A solution to this problem is already here, growing stronger everyday, in services like Facebook. In these sites user demographics, their preferences and their habits are extracted and analyzed, to later be sold to companies who want this information. Not everybody feels comfortable with this use of our personal data, but social media has become so embedded in our daily life that it’s almost impossible to keep out of it.
But the next step is getting ever closer. The Internet of Things, sometimes shortened to IoT, is going to be a game changer. IoT refers the ever-growing number of internet-capable devices. It’s no longer just our PC’s and phones that are connected to the web, but also our cars and our TV’s. With social media, a user must actively declare what he likes, where he is and what he’s doing. With IoT, this will no longer be the case. All these devices connected to the internet are able to ‘keep an eye on you’, so to speak, and report on your activities. If all of this is starting to sound a little scary, that’s because it is. Yet, I can’t deny that IoT might change our lives for the better.
Once companies can obtain information about a large number of users, the part of the budget assigned to marketing can be greatly reduced. No longer will they need to ask their customers about their likes and dislikes, they can just access the information taken by IoT devices. It’s not about intruding in your personal data, but about using it to bring you the kind of products that you want. Imagine that all the publicity that you’re exposed to during the day I specifically tailored to your preferences. We’re seeing this happening with Adsense, but it’s clear that there’s room for improvement.
Outside the realm of marketing, it could also be possible for IoT to provide help in important situations. IoT devices, such as cameras, could be able to report authorities when crimes are suspected to be committed, complete with video evidence. Your car may call for assistance in case of an accident. It may even work in conjunction with you phone and recommend you legal representation.
The amount of IoT devices available right now is impressive, from home surveillance systems to smart ovens and air conditioners. I could picture myself getting some food from the fridge, and have the fridge inform me that there is a sale at a grocery store nearby. This next step in marketing might feel as too intrusive, but it’s nevertheless useful and convenient.
As with any other advancement in technology, there will always be people who will resist it. They have every right to opt out of any data mining, and maybe they’ll push for a clear disclaimer to be put on products that would collect information from you. We would all benefit from such precautions. On the other hand, they’ll most likely be the minority, and not unlike social media, most of us will embrace the future with little regard to how it may affect us.
The Internet of Things is slowly introducing itself into our lives, and the changes it brings with it are exciting, to say the least. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t remain wary of any potential abuse that may accompany it. In the end, when the Internet starts to monitor us closely, we must closely monitor it back.