As our semester of graduate classes are coming to an end, I found this to be a great article tying together and summarizing some of the important takeaways we discussed over the last couple of months. This article found in Mashable written by Elisha Hartwig really detailed the importance of the Internet of Things and what it means to companies who truly want to succeed and stay afloat, such as Cisco, in this new era of Marketing. Nowadays, it can be so easy to get overwhelmed by the abundance of data that modern marketers have at their fingertips.
Cisco CMO, Blair Christie was asked to describe how marketing is changing and transforming in her industry and her response was as follows:
“Marketing is definitely shifting to B2Me approach and the customer journey has changed tremendously. According to the Corporate Executive Board, 57% of the purchase decision is done before a customer ever reaches out to a company. It’s now a marketer’s responsibility to engage with their customer at every point along the journey, and the majority of that will happen before they even contact a company. With the influence of digital and the data and analytics now available to us, we can target and serve our customers in a way that wasn’t previously possible.”
It is extremely important and challenging at the same time to create an emotional connection to the brand which is what most marketing campaigns are striving to accomplish. Content is seemingly more critical now than it has ever been and it is definitely quality over quantity. Cisco discovered that content generates 3x the leads compared to traditional marketing activities. However, it is important to note that this is not a one-size fits all strategy and content needs to be customized for specific audiences. As we’ve discussed in class, the human component and engagement is critical and what compels consumers to keep coming back for more in order to create that on-going conversation. Marketing is transitioning away from “mass marketing” and really working to create a connection with the buyer. Such methods include, connecting with PEOPLE who work at businesses, not just businesses. The ways Cisco connects is through engagement via:
1. Customized Offers
2. Content that is focused on their business challenges and outcomes
3. Opportunities to partner with them for their success
Some of the ways that the Internet of Things (IoT) is helping to change the game for Marketers at Cisco is by providing the right content to the right customer and vice-versa – the desire from the consumer for that personalized experience from a brand. For example:
“One way Cisco employed real time and connected marketing tactics is through our connected billboard we placed on Highway 101 last year in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Connected Billboard showcased the power of IoT by connecting a static marketing image to the Internet and having it respond to real time traffic by displaying content that changed based on traffic conditions and speeds. Through a connection to the internet, the billboard monitored and received API traffic data, and the result was delivering either longer or shorter messages to drivers based on how fast they were going.”
This is a perfect example to demonstrate that the customer is in charge and the IoT is helping to engage that customer as best they can to provide what they need/want. Similarly, “Big Data” was also mentioned throughout the article and Christie is intelligently using this data to better understand her customers; for example, what is their appetite for content, where are they searching for this information, etc.? All of these efforts are being taken to engage customers on every level of their journey to build that deeper, emotional connection to a product or brand.
Blair Christie feels this is an extremely exciting time to be involved in marketing and she is working extremely hard to drive a predictive marketing focus. To summarize in her words, “This idea of being “market-sensing” is truly the beginning where we are going to be able to deliver customized content, when the customer wants it, where the customer wants it and how the customer wants it”.