In the current state of the economy the Internet of Things (IoT) is everywhere. From big brands to startups, there is no shortage of companies in the IoT space to revolutionize the game to stay “always on,” taking advantage of the billion dollar and growing industry. As soon as a problem is identified, a new concept is unfolded on how technology can better it, unleashing data and solutions never imagined. But not without it’s challenges.
A massive and crowded market with numerous solutions and no one right answer, IoT products and services are introduced daily, but without the right strategy in place companies quickly lose out against their competition. What’s more, businesses are now dealing with an evolved communication landscape where thinking beyond the traditional standards is important for success. As the technology continues to advance and improve, PR professionals must strategically articulate the benefits of connected devices to help businesses be trusted, managed and heard.
Trust will need to be re-established
As with all new things, privacy remains a top concern, which is only amplified in the IoT space as most of these devices contain access to personal data. Any security concerns or trail of negative feedback from early adopters can be detrimental for a new business. Google Nest found itself in a bad place early 2016 when news came out that its thermostats had been transmitting unencrypted data. The problem was resolved and no harm came from it, but the case clearly illustrates the operational dangers that lurk.
The first step for businesses introducing connected products and services is to re-establish trust by taking a page from the IoT space: collaborating. Key leaders in the space have already been identified, but not perfected and always looking to evolve or adapt. By piggybacking off of leading players and integrating efforts, new businesses will get a head start in their respective industries in addition to access to a collection of resources. Getting associated with leading players starts with a smart PR strategy to get attention from the right vendors and third party partners.
Managing Data to Your Potential
Data, being the soul and fuel of the IoT and connected devices industry, needs to be managed, kept safe, and processed to demonstrate value, which can be a challenge given the tremendous amount of data that is to be dealt with. Businesses today store over 2.2 zettabytes of data and the need for a well thought out data roadmap is essential to identify how a company can grow and continue to provide value.
Abundant customer data is a boon to communications in two distinct ways. On the one hand it has never been this easy to tailor content to the specific needs and profile of individual customers (be they consumers or businesses). On the other hand, the millions of connected devices are generating ‘big data’ on a daily basis that can tell a story that will make for great material for blog posts, infographics, press releases and much more. PR is data-driven more than ever, and IoT companies find themselves well placed to take advantage of this trend, whether that be to raise brand awareness or solidify the company’s value position as an expert in the field.
Finding Your Voice in Different Channels
The ideation of “digital media” and the push towards integrated campaigns has blurred the lines between traditional and social media. Communicating in one channel and staying in the designated B2B lane is no longer effective, forcing businesses to think through their social and traditional media strategies simultaneously.
Savvy B2B brands have adopted a content-first approach to solve the dwindling media problem from blogging to establishing relationships with trade publications. At the same time, B2B marketers are also becoming more successful at converting social media activity into sales leads, and ultimately, revenue. In 2016, 39% of marketers reported significant ROI generated from social media marketing, contrasted with only 9% in 2015. There is certainly room for growth to further leverage social media platforms and increase the share of voice by, for instance, not shying away from video content in digital marketing given its effectiveness at boosting SEO, brand awareness and even sales leads. The year-over-year increase is a sign that B2B businesses are increasingly discovering the use that can be made of new channels of communicating that were traditionally left for consumer purposes.
The Internet of Things isn’t going anywhere; in fact, it’s coming right at you with an expected 75 billion connections by 2020. So, with billions of new things becoming “smarter,” don’t let your public relations strategy remain dumb.
This article was written by Sanah Sadaruddin, Account Executive with Manzer Communications.