Marketing challenges in IoT

(and how to overcome them)

IoT is everywhere these days. There’s more than 25 billion devices currently connected around the world, and that number is set to rise to 50 billion by 2010. More and more people are dealing with multiple IoT devices in everyday life.

But as the impact of IoT is so broad, it can become a struggle for those in the B2B marketing behind the Internet of Things. With some many ideas and devices fly around, messaging can easily become cloudy. Good marketers need to be able to overcome these barriers to help customers learn about transforming their businesses. Read on for a list of common IoT barriers, and some tips on how they can be overcome.

IoT sounds expensive

The Internet of Things is so often described as a gigantic network of connected devices. For someone new to the world of IoT, this can be understandably a little daunting. Describing a large network could give off the impression that a large investment involving a wide variety of devices is required to get an IoT solution up and running. This is obviously not always the case.

In this situation, having a simple, real-life case study can make a big impact with customers. For example, the Microsoft Connected Cow case study shows how a really simple idea along with a relatively small investment has helped to transform the dairy farming industry. Microsoft also encourages customers to use and add to the hardware they already have for an IoT solutions. This Internet of Your Things approach is an effective way of keeping costs down, whilst also letting customers carry on using systems they’re familiar with.

So IoT doesn’t have to sound quite so pricy.

It’s hard to know what customers are looking for

IoT can be viewed as the headline of a large Venn diagram. Under ‘IoT’ sits a huge range of device types and solution offerings for different industry verticals. With so much on offer from the world of IoT, it can be challenging for marketers to know what information customers are actually looking for.

Marketing challenges in IoT


Source: VentureBeat

One way to look at this problem is to simply consider what your customers will type into their preferred search engine when they begin their hunt for information. For example, a customer looking to streamline their factory environment will probably not even search for the term ‘IoT’. On the other hand, ‘Industrial Automation’ or ‘Inventory Management’ could be very relevant terms for the customer. Investing in market research of search terms or search engine optimisation for your target industry could be a worthwhile venture as it can boost the number of customers who find your solution when they go looking.

Getting the timing right

We are all aware of the frustrations of being sold to before we’re ready to take the plunge. Unfortunately, when it comes to the Internet of Things, it can be hard to predict when it is the right time to start selling. Some customers will be taking their first tentative steps towards IoT, whilst others will be well-educated about the industry long before they need their own solution. One benefit of the huge spectrum of IoT understanding is that marketers can use their content to decipher what kind of customer they are working with. For example, the inexperienced customer is more likely to be interested in a high-level infographic which helps them to improve their understanding. In contrast, the customer who has chosen a solution and is looking for a provider would probably prefer a technical guide to getting started. This knowledge can be used to a marketer’s advantage, whether it’s for examining existing content, or for creating something new.

Who to talk to

Implementing an IoT solution is likely to have a direct impact on lots of different departments within a business. With each of these departments having different priorities, successful IoT marketing should appeal to as many individual agendas as possible. For example, the CFO of the business will be keen to hear of the financial cost and impact of the solution whereas an IT manager may be more interested in potential changes to the technical infrastructure of the company. With an amalgamation of departments all needing to agree, marketers should align their messages with each department’s priorities. Once again, targeted content marketing is a great way to do this.

Security can be a bit daunting

IoT security is a hot topic in the news right now. It’s likely your customers have already heard some examples of IoT security gone wrong, and this may prevent them from jumping feet first into implementing a new device or solution. Poor cyber security can be catastrophic for a business, and everyone wants to avoid getting caught up in a hacking scandal. Educating customers about a device’s security measures can be reassuring. Customers will also want to hear that they’ll be continuously looked after, for example with security updates and patches. That being said, IoT security is a place to tread carefully. Promising the earth to your customers is never recommended, as no device is ever 100% secure. However, you can help to raise your customer’s awareness of security issues, and this may be enough to win them over. A collection of security tips for someone embarking on an IoT project can be found here or you can download the IoT Security whitepaper for more information.


If you have an IoT solution, project or device, get in touch.
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