The Internet was created as a military communication project to be used in case of a nuclear war. The digital cameras in the phones are a spinoff innovation from the space programme. And digital innovations in the world of marketing have emerged… Well, you’ll find out how now.
At the China-CEEC Conference on Innovation, which took place in Belgrade, in late 2019, shortly before the huge worldwide chaos erupted in our lives, I had an informal conversation with Chinese digital industry officials. This is what I heard: “Why are we developing all these digital technologies like smart cities in China? AI, IoT, 5G… Which other way can we use to control China’s population of 1.4 billion?!“ Dystopia? No, the harsh reality.
How to exercise control using marketing or rather how to communicate with 7.5 billion people on our planet? This is the highest number of possible clients you can get. True, some companies want more customers, but other habitable planets are resisting that idea for now.
DO OUR “THINGS” REVEAL OUR “BEHAVIOUR”?
Marketing communication professionals have just got used to including the Internet of Things (IoT) in their digital marketing strategies, and they have already been greeted by the IoT’s extended hand, that is the Internet of Behaviour (IoB). While the IoT is based on hardware that exchanges data with each other over the Internet, software that integrates this data into meaningful information and improves User Experience (UX) works for the IoB. And for profit.
With the help of the IoT, companies have persuaded us to use their wearable technologies such as small gadgets built into clothing items and accessories that monitor user activities and UX. Now, these IoT devices (smartwatches, smart glasses, fitness trackers and other wearable devices) are used for the IoB, where technology, data analytics and behavioural science are used to increase sales. Despite these companies claiming they are protecting privacy, this is done through constant digital monitoring of human behaviour, but also of the basic life functions of the individual (heart rate, temperature, eye movements, etc.).
IS “SMART” “INTELLIGENT” ENOUGH?
Smart devices are networked digital devices used for interaction with other similar devices, with or without a user command. Some of them do not provide a sufficient level of privacy and cybersecurity for users. As the next generation of smart devices, today we have intelligent devices which use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies to adapt their relationship with the user to different situations and learn from past experiences. In short, they know better than us what we have been doing and what we might want to do/buy in the future.
Smart devices are networked digital devices used for interaction with other similar devices, with or without a user command
The predictive analysis provides an accurate prediction of the next purchase and is based on the use of Big Data, collected through interactions with customers. Personalization then allows an online shop to show each individual customer the most acceptable offer, customized content, product recommendations and additional options based on their preferences, geographic location, market trends, demographic group and previous purchases. All of this is aligned with current promotions and discounts, thus providing a personalized Customer Experience (CX), as if the customer is in a store where the vendors know them personally.
IS “SOCIAL” A REPLACEMENT FOR “FRIENDLY”?
For omnichannel marketing, it is important to overcome the boundaries between the digital and the real world, in which social media (SM) play a huge role. Nowadays, SM are increasingly becoming a place for e-commerce, which is carried out through two parallel processes – Social Commerce and Social Shopping – which are not the same, contrary to popular belief.
Social Commerce is a subset of e-commerce and is performed on SM platforms where the whole process takes place – from advertising products/services to payments. The goal is to convert potential customers into customers on SM, without going to the company’s online shop.
Social Shopping is the communication and cooperation of customers through social networking which imitates former experiences from the offline world, i.e. those old joint purchases with family members, friends or colleagues. There are also conversations before and during the purchase, recommending products/services and group discounts, but with the use of digital advantages of SM and the desired CX.