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Marketers in 2016 will turn to creative new applications of technology to gain the attention of consumers, already deluged with brand messages. Traditional means of storytelling and getting consumer engagement are giving way to highly innovative approaches. Marketers will have to be more tech-savvy than ever to grab and keep consumer focus, as explored in a new eMarketer report, “Canada Trends 2016: Marketer Mastery of Tech, and the Consumer Tastes That Make It Necessary.”
Data crunching will be an essential marketing skill in 2016, and a major reason is the internet of things (IoT), with the vast amounts of new consumer data it provides. If marketers interpret this source correctly, they will cut down on guesswork and more effectively target consumers, delivering more relevant, contextual marketing messages.
International Data Corporation (IDC) expects there will be 114 million IoT connections in Canada by 2018. The research company also estimates that the IoT market will be worth CA$7.2 billion ($6.5 billion) by 2018, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18% from 2013 to 2018.
[Editor’s Note: Costs in US dollars, included in parentheses, are calculated using the average exchange rate in 2014: CA$1.1043=$1.0000.]
The idea of IoT became mainstream with real-world examples everyone can relate to, mainly about the smart home. Refrigerators talking to grocers, thermostats that “learn” and energy-saving lighting are all a reality today, but they’re still not widespread. An April 2015 survey by Icontrol Networks showed that connected home cameras and thermostats were the connected/smart-home devices that internet users in North America were most likely to purchase in the next 12 months, each cited by 37% of respondents. About one-third were interested in connected lighting, connected door locks or smart-home hubs, while 31% found smart-home services appealing and 25% connected appliances.
Gathering data from consumers is enormously attractive to marketers, but they must be cautious to avoid the “creepy factor”—when users’ every move is open to data collection. Clearly, getting consumers to opt in is essential. To do so, brands need to offer value in return to build an accepting group of consumers willing to trade off personal data. Going forward, marketers will be required to understand the privacy implications of IoT data collection, and it’s a lesson many will learn in 2016.
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