I have to thank our Marketing guru, Carolyn, for the inspiration on this one.  She shared with me one of the most unique presentations I have ever seen on the topic of marketing.  I encourage you to watch this Slideshare presentation...

The idea is simple....if you market like it is 1970, 1990 or even 2003, you are likely wasting your money.  All one needs to do is to drive in a major urban center and you get "product overload".  When you see a thousand digital / outdoor billboards in a day, how does one use that media to stand out?  It isn't impossible, and many companies are doing it, but it is becoming harder and harder to get your message to stand out.

And, don't get me started about TV ads.  I haven't watched one in years (well maybe some during last Sunday’s Super Bowl game…but that’s different).  Even being a big sports fan, I typically start to watch my favourite game 30-60 minutes after it starts, to avoid watching commercials (from what I hear, this is common among some, so maybe the idea of sports being the only "PVR-proof" programming may not hold true for much longer).  Is this a wasted medium?  Again, not totally....there are some great and creative ads that manage to get through the clutter of ads, but it also becoming harder and harder to do.

So, how are advertisers best getting their messages out to people?  The Vaynerchuk  presentation talks highly about using social media, which is a great method.  In a very interesting twist, it compares Twitter and others to a cocktail party.  I love his line about how the conversation in social media (like at a cocktail party) needs to be two-way in nature.

This is where M2M helps....

If you are going to have an interactive, 2-way conversation, it does help to know a little bit about who you are talking to. Forward-thinking companies are using M2M solutions to do just that. 

Here is how:

They are doing it proactively to better understand their customers in general

This is something that is the latest rage in the world of retail....how do you personalize the experience of shoppers as a way to increase both their average purchase spend as well as their level of loyalty?  Many retailers are using rewards cards....by offering rewards, the retailers gain valuable information about you, their customer. They are using some of the most advanced Big Data analytics methods on the planet to know about you....what products appeal to you, when you tend to buy more, what you aren't buying and more.  They are using this data to provide a much better experience.....providing customized coupons, finding ways to creatively package offers that most appeal to you and even ways to know if you are mad at them (and haven't shopped for a while).  However, what do you do if your customers never come to your location?  How do you know about them?

M2M allows this experience to be used by many more companies.  By getting reports from devices in the field, companies can see how products are being used like never before.  They know if there is an increase in issues (such as error codes or device resets), if devices are being used in ways that are not expected and even if certain 3rd party accessories are being constantly used (to know what partnerships to make or products to carry themselves).

They are doing it reactively, in real time, to individualize offers to customers

In some cases, companies are using this information to reach out to customers with unique and customized offers.  As an example, if a remote device reports that the device is being recharged more often than expected, it would make sense to reach out to this customer with special offers on a replacement battery before they start to see battery issues. 

Another example is how companies are using information to better sell managed or professional services to their customers.  In one scenario, where the customer was unable to bring their device back online for several hours (and the vendor could see this), the vendor was successfully able to customize a package that guaranteed a certain level of uptime.

They can get more information from customer trials and tests

Ok, this benefit is not only the exclusive domain of the Marketing team.  All companies can gain benefits by getting more information from the field during a customer trial.  However, from a Marketing aspect, this information is vital.

One example is in the Pharma space.  M2M solutions are used to better gather information as to the regularity (and the adherence to schedule) that medicine is taken during trials.  Again, this information has great value to the scientists, for obvious reasons.  However, Marketing teams can get a better understanding on how the drugs are used and they will be better able to use this information to market their products. 

Another example would be in the world of pre-production devices that are capital intensive (such as medical equipment and large scale printing machines).  Marketing teams would get a much better understanding of which features were used and the issues that occurred.  This would allow them to know how to best approach certain users and how their products are used in a regular world environment.

Bottom Line

The world is becoming a much smaller place and consumers hate "one message for all".  They want to interact with everyone, and this includes the companies that they buy products from.  Giving Marketers as much information as possible will allow them to get the message out to people in a way that no other method has.....or you can continue to pay money to have your commercials fast-forwarded! The choice is yours.

As always, Novotech is ready to assist with your M2M needs. Whether you’re looking to control, track, monitor or back-up, Novotech has the solutions and products you need. View our Line Cards and let us know how we can be of assistance.

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