Selling the Internet of Things

Marketing the Internet of Things

In an IoT article published today, BGR referenced a December 2013 report which stated the Internet of Things industry will be worth $309 billion by 2020. Further, Cisco CEO John Chambers noted the staggering financial figure of $309 billion is just the tip of the iceberg.

“At the Mobile World Congress trade show, Chambers said he believes the Internet of Things will create $19 trillion in ‘economic benefit and value’ in the next decade.”

Let that sink in for a moment. $19 trillion, with a T, in “economic benefit and value” over the next decade. As $19 trillion is a massive number, here is some more information for you. In 2010, there were roughly 9 – 10 billion connected Internet of Things devices in operation. By 2020, that number is expected to jump to 50 billion. If the history of the IoT history tells us anything, the predictions might be right and yet, if predictions tell us anything, the numbers might be coming from thin air.

Why? The answer is market education and marketing campaigns.

Learn Adoption Lessons from the Cloud

As I wrote about over on the Solar VPS blog, for the Internet of Things to take hold before marketing teams begin the process of branding/marketing, they need to learn from Cloud Computing education/adoption efforts. You see, Cloud Computing companies learned a hard lesson from 2010 – 2013 in marketplace education – – > marketplace adoption. That lesson: without providing concrete examples of what your technology actually does, selling that technology as a business/life altering solution will not stick.

Even though the public embraced and used social media networks along with highly popular streaming and storage solutions like Netflix and Dropbox, for years the public had no idea what the Cloud actually was. Study after study revealed the public believed the Cloud was either an actually cloud in the sky or a general term applied to everything IT. Because IT marketers created and applied the term in blanket fashion, the new hot buzzword for “grid computing” simultaneously meant everything and nothing. The term, due to horrible marketing campaigns (see Verizon Uppernet and over saturation, became amorphous. By taking on everything at once, the term lost meaning and thus, in the process, lost the public even while the public marketplace cravenly consumed Cloud Computing services like a hungry zombie in The Walking Dead.

This over saturation and over use slowed Cloud education and adoption. Instead of speeding up revenues, marketing by providers only helped to
confuse the market and dissuade them from adopting Cloud based services at a quicker clip.

Luckily for Internet of Things companies, they can learn this lesson.

Educate with Real World Solutions

Nest, Internet of Things

Earlier today, I noted for the Internet of Things to become a viable real world solution, providers need to continue to make excellent tangible connected devices. This said, making excellent tangible devices isn’t enough. If the Internet of Things is going to fly through the education to adoption phase which Cloud providers so horribly messed up, the first thing they need to do is get away from using the term “Internet of Things”. For people in the industry the term is fine. For consumers outside of it, like the Cloud, it holds no meaning. It could be anything. To bring the marketplace into the fold, providers should market their solutions in terms of services provided without the IoT label. The best example here is Nest.

Nest is easily the most well known connected net of everything device on the market. With Google recently purchasing the company, the reason for their success is because they marketed their product on the basis of services and solutions rendered as opposed to just another cool Internet of Things technology. Sure Nest makes connected devices but the true selling point is how those connected devices can and do positively impact day to day life. Instead of marketing IoT, Nest marketed a product which can make your life more comfortable and save your life. They marketed and educated real world solutions. They didn’t market and educate the technology. Nest didn’t do what so many Cloud providers have done.

This is how IoT companies can move through education – – > adoption much quicker than Cloud companies did. Sell the real world solutions. Don’t sell the technology.

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