With the current hype in predictive and AI-driven marketing, one might wonder what comes after AI. Some of what I’ll discuss here might feel like science fiction, but I can assure you, this is not the case. Quite on the contrary. Let’s take a journey into the (near) future.
The Internet-of-Things (IoT)
Before starting my current business, I spent most of my career marketing software that is used to develop the next generation of electronics devices.
The software development tools I worked on have been used by organizations like NASA and major Japanese consumer brands, as well as some of the most well-known European and American industrial corporations.
They have purchased the software to design products like drones, instruments for space missions, thermostats, automotive diagnostics, navigation systems, utility products like solar power inverters, robotics, airbags, industrial machinery, and more.
For over two decades, I worked in what is now known as the Internet-of-Things (IoT) industry, which is an evolution of what we once called the embedded systems market.
Consulting firm McKinsey predicts that a trillion devices will be Internet-connected by 2025, and most of them will upload usage data to cloud servers.
Currently, marketers mostly look to use AI to find predictions based on data generated by leads and customers, such as using their digital footprint or purchase history to target the right people with highly personalized marketing messages. This will soon change.
Marketing Insights from Machine-Generated Data
With a world where almost all devices are Internet-connected, machines will generate far more data than humans will. This machine-generated data can be used to find business insights that can help drive marketing.
Consider these examples:
- Bathroom scales can report weight-change patterns, enabling predictive algorithms to determine someone will likely gain weight a month down the road. Marketing automation logic can then be triggered to offer healthier food options or change the daily recipes to include fewer calories.
- Machines can detect when they are about to break down using predictive maintenance based on vibration or heat patterns. Marketing automation logic can then be triggered to offer service or send spare parts automatically to prevent the machine from breaking down in the first place.
- Training results from gym equipment can be analyzed for correlations to previous members who canceled their club memberships. Marketing outreach can then be initiated to prevent this from happening.
- The usage pattern of some device indicates the owner may be a good candidate for up-selling, cross-selling, or replenishment, and marketing automation logic can be commenced automatically to promote such options, for example using email, SMS/text messages, chatbot conversations, or push notifications.
- Real-time online weather data combined with moisture sensors installed in farmers’ fields can predict when more fertilizers should be ordered.
- Coffee machines or washing machines can order more coffee beans or detergent automatically based on usage patterns.
I predict that after AI-driven marketing based on data from people, the field will be driven by AI-insights based on data coming from Internet-connected machines (IoT devices).
Marketing systems will react by sending email sequences, push notifications, schedule customer service tickets or sales rep phone calls, or use the data for segmentation or lead scoring.
This will take autonomous marketing to the next level, far beyond what most marketers currently anticipate.