Discover a shocking new way to approach your content marketing strategy.
How would you feel about receiving an electric shock every time you overspent? It might not be much fun but it would certainly make you stop and think before reaching for your credit card. This electrifying idea has been made a reality by Intelligent Environments, a start-up whose platform connects a wristband with almost any digital system. Go overdrawn and you get a 255-volt shock.
Will husbands and wives soon be able to shock their spouses if they stray too near their favourite boutique or pub? How about fridges that trigger a nasty jolt if they sense you reaching for the icecream? The possibilities are endless, and in the case of the wristband, horrific.
Welcome to the Internet of Things (IoT) – the brave new world where anything with a microchip can plug into the worldwide web and all the possibilities it presents. Data flows, new products and services can be created: it’s a joined up universe and one that should have content marketers drooling in anticipation.
The marriage of IoT and content marketing
When marketers create content for their audiences they are providing a service. The more useful the content, the better the service. This is why an understanding of audience is so key to successful content marketing.
We should look at content as a service that builds trust and engagement with customers. It is that creation of trust and engagement that is important – how it is created is secondary. Viewed in this way a world of opportunity emerges to the switched-on marketer.
The golf club manufacturer doesn’t just create videos on how to improve your swing, they create an app that hooks up with Apple Watch to track your progress around the course and uploads your data to a handy dashboard.
A CRM software firm could win the favour of a legion of salesman by offering them an automated expenses completion service. Pharmaceutical firms build relationships with doctors by providing an inventory system that logs the withdrawal of every item from the medical store. A baby-monitor app that can adjust the light and heat in the nursery is provided by a pushchair producer.
Content marketing insight
Such services cost money to create and maintain and such investments will clearly need to show a return. But quality content is not cheap to create and distribute effectively. There are also risks that businesses will be distracted by offering services that stray away from the core competence. This is where they will use agencies and third parties, just as they might currently use content agencies and marketing platforms.
And some businesses are already offering such value-adds for customers. Reed’s tax calculator is a simple example of the cross over between content and service, as is InStyle magazine’s app that lets you model new haircuts.
The Use of the Internet of Things is not a pre-requisite for successful services aimed at building audience engagement. The IoT will however create a huge range of innovative services, some of which may not be commercially viable without the support of a partner who is looking for brand equity rather than cold hard cash.
Content marketers, with their knowledge of audience and focus on providing practical benefits, are perfectly positioned to lead this march to the bright new digital dawn. Miss out on the opportunity and the results could be shocking.