Time for your weekly supermarket trip. You could order online and have the groceries delivered to your doorstep, but you head to the store. You're old-fashioned that way. You grab a cart and put your smartphone, containing your list, in the docking device that doubles as a charger.

Based on your preferences and history, you receive alerts with coupons for items that you want. You're directed to the aisle and shelf for each product and given an option to compare prices. Your phone notifies you of a product sampling of something you'll love down aisle three. As you place each item in the cart, discounts are applied and your total updates. You breeze through checkout, scanning—and paying with—your smartphone.

OK, maybe you're not so old-fashioned after all.

That scenario is fictional but not far from reality. With technological advances, we're entering the next Industrial Revolution, and it will have profound effects on B2C and B2B marketers. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the next big thing.

IoT Explained

What exactly is the IoT? It is the interconnection of objects, people, locations, and the Internet. In short, inanimate objects supported by Big Data become smart and can talk to each other and to consumers. IoT is a marketer's wildest dream come true!

According to Stuart Leung of Salesforce, in a column for Forbes, the IoT will make marketing smarter in five ways:

  • Easy exchange of sales data
  • Smarter CRM (instantaneous customer analysis)
  • Devices that know they're dying
  • Predictive social media
  • Significantly improved click-through rates

I agree. Not only will the IoT make marketing smarter, IoT will make it more efficient. When applying customer and product data, lots of magic will happen...

  • Advertisements will be more relevant.
  • Marketers will save fortunes currently wasted on irrelevant or poorly targeted ads.
  • Purchasing patterns and consumption can be tracked.
  • On-demand marketing will increase.
  • Pull marketing will be the new norm.

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image of Philip Paranicas

Philip (Phil) Paranicas is director of new product development at ThomasNet.com. He is responsible for creating new products and services that support ThomasNet's mission of helping bring buyers together with sellers. Reach him via pparanicas@thomasnet.com.

Twitter: @Flip2Market

LinkedIn: Phil Paranicas