Susan is a highly experienced marketing executive with over 15 years in a variety of key leadership roles. When she's not building a great business (Vovia), she is off adventuring and travelling the world. You might also run into her on the ski hill or in a hot yoga class.

Other posts by:

‘Smart Gifts’ For Christmas—Are ‘Smart Gifts’ Really That Smart?

Smart Gifts? You Decide!

It was a trend we touched on earlier this year and see it continuing to grow, namely Wearable Technology and the ‘Internet of Things‘ (IoT) like smart thermostats. This is an area I am personally interested in as I continue to incorporate these technologies more and more into my daily life. I often wonder about the potential both personally as well as professionally, being a marketer. As much as these technologies add ease and convenience to our day to day, they also have their limitations. With Christmas right around the corner, I also wanted to help you make an informed decision this holiday season!

Smart Gifyts? You Decide!

What Are the Perks?

1. Convenience and Assistance – Having the ability to manage more from your IoT solutions or wearables is high on the list when it comes to ‘smart’ benefits. Have you ever ran out the door and realized you didn’t turn the thermostat down? Now you can from work! Have you ever been late for a meeting? Sometimes I get caught up in conversations with colleagues, but feeling the zap on my wrist to notify me that a meeting is coming up has been a life saver. Or my latest favorite … you might have concerns about security? Well now smart security cameras  can notify you if motion in your home is detected and can also let the intruder know you see them and have contacted the police. It’s quite the world we are living in now. As the options and products continue to grow, the mom side of me is wondering when they will put out an app to help find lost mittens (I’d buy it right now!).

2. Enhancing knowledge – I never knew how many calories I was burning during Yoga. Now I do! I also choose to do it more often now as a result as I can better understand the benefits and outcomes of my activities. Many at our office also have fitbits that inform them on the number of steps per day and have made lifestyle changes as a result of that information. Knowledge is power. Everyone knows that they should be active, but not many can pair their activities to real results, which is why it’s so fascinating to me. Having this information not only empowers us to make choices around how we live our lives, but also enables us to find efficiency in how we do it.

What Are the Limitations?

1. Security – There are a number of articles out there that indicate wearables have authentication and encryption issues… This might not be to worrisome today, but as adoption grows, it makes these devices more attractive for hackers. Be careful of both personal and corporate data being transmitted through your smart devices.

As these smart devices continue to track more and more information about us; our health, our temperature preferences (when we are home and are not home), our home security, etc. – one hopes that manufacturers ensure privacy and data security is a top priority for future models. In the meantime, users concerned about privacy and risk of security should minimize the amount of personal information they place on these devices. Pair only with known devices, use strong passwords and be careful if you purchase them second hand to ensure it isn’t compromised.

2. Cost – Most of these devices need to be paired to a mobile device and transmit the data between the two. Also, since many of these products are still in their infancy, many also come with a hefty price tag. I’ll leave it to you to debate if the extra benefit is worth the investment…

What Does This Mean for Marketers?

Data, data and more data! We like data 🙂 Consumers purchase and integrate these devices to enhance their lifestyle in one way or another and by allowing these devices to track more information about their work out sessions, their temperature preferences when they are home or not home and so on, this adds another layer of deep and personal insight that can be applied to marketing strategies.

As businesses like Nest and Google merge, it is only a matter of time before their data merges as well. This insight and accessibility to consumers needs to be met with relevance in order to work. Imagine you track your runs regularly and your performance has declined, yet your training and health status predict it should be maintained. Here is a great opportunity for a sports brand to notify you of a new runner you should try that is known to enhance performance and has actually done so for “X” many other runners using the same running app. This is powerful marketing. Customized messaging based upon real human behaviour.

Behavioural targeting has already grown tremendously over the past few years, and with the personal data from devices like this, it will continue to bloom. For the optimization experts, we know the testing, insight and optimization opportunities will be endless! Imagine the possibilities. We could analyze marathon run rates to find the sweet spot to push a new product or offer and then continuously test and iterate on that interaction and the resulting behavior.

Relevance and Convenience

It all comes down to relevance and convenience. As a consumer, we want technology, information, and tools that enhance our lifestyle. As a marketer, we want to reach consumers when our message has the highest likelihood of connecting and driving the desired behaviour. This relationship is symbiotic. Both sides need to leverage wearables and IoT solutions with this frame of mind.

Happy Holidays!!!