How to Market IoT?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly transforming how we do business, socialize, communicate and learn critical insights from the world around us. Digital devices now connect people and ideas through apps. Similarly, IoT will connect the many different components of our day-to-day personal and business world in ways we can only imagine.  And if these few tidbits haven’t caught your attention, then maybe consider joining the IoT party because the market is expected to increase at over 40% Y/Y and have a $2 trillion market size by 2025.  So yes, this market is here to stay!

If you are already in the game, leaping across the chasm, or considering adding IoT to your portfolio, how should you actually think about marketing IoT to your clients?  How do you market IoT so that the concepts don’t appear too esoteric and the tangible benefits of how IoT alleviates pain points are clear?   

Let’s explore five methodologies you can use to begin building your IoT marketing strategy:

  1. Surf’s Up!   Grab your board and jump on the 5G wave.   Few tech topics will garnish more attention or have quite the impact on the telecom sector as the 5G rollout. Its effect on the reliability and security of IoT deployments across nearly every vertical is equally significant.  So don’t hold back. Link your IoT deployment strategy to the increasing 5G coverage and performance.  Look for IoT access via 5G to overtake 4G by 2023 as more and more of the world’s data moves closer to the network edge and benefit from the fact that 5G can handle tremendous numbers of simultaneous connections, inherently important when running virtualization, and management across various deployments. That said, keep in mind that the 5G wave is not a perfect Bonzai Pipeline wave. There are, of course, pricing and range limitations better served by other less publicized solutions such as LoRa, Sigfox, WiFi, ZigBee, Z-Wave, and even Bluetooth.   So the surf is undoubtedly up with 5G but keep in mind as you market, not all the waves are equal!

  2. Explore New Pricing Strategies.  IoT enables companies to disrupt by implementing totally new pricing strategies. For example, SKF, a bearing and seal manufacturing company founded in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1907, switched from charging per ball-bearing to selling rotation as a service. (Low cost, out of region vendors couldn’t match that service).  A great practical example of this was when the tall ship Gothenburg was built a few years ago. It was equipped with an IoT system that would sense when bearings or other parts would fail and send spares to the port the ship was heading for next.  So when under pricing pressure, look towards alternative pricing strategies where the competitors leading with price won’t be able to compete.

  3. Look In The Mirror.  Be honest with yourself, understand, and embrace your role in the IoT ecosystem.  Is it to connect devices? Maybe secure devices and enable access? Management is critical. How about integration or AI?   And perhaps, most critical, IoT analysis and reporting. Or could you be all of the above, and in that case, you're on the path to becoming an IoT Superhero!  Also, decide on your organization’s role in the channel ecosystem: Vendor, integrator, installer, MSP, Agent, or Business Intelligence? Once you are sure about who you are, make sure your expertise shines through, and you can easily communicate how you became an expert and why a customer would trust you.   Faking your role in the IoT ecosystem will only damage your reputation in the long run.   Be true to your current expertise levels and, through industry training and client success, build your reputation and methodically growth your scope of influence.

  4. Have 20/20 Vision.   Focus on a vertical or a few verticals. Domain expertise is critical in IoT. Becoming the trusted advisor to a limited number of verticals will help you achieve more significant margins, offer differentiated services, and build increasing domain expertise.   Each vertical or industry has its unique language, and few can successfully translate speeds n’ feeds to business value to every vertical out there and still sound credible. So be authentic and build credibility with a focused approach.   Focus on business outcomes and look for adjacencies to then build a holistic approach for your client. Think vertical buyer personas and pain points and offer solutions that show you’ve done your homework and have earned the right to speak the vertical’s language.

  5. Are You Adding Value?  Services will play a significant role in determining the winning proposals and the profitable companies. As sensors and gateways follow other hardware products' direction, constantly pressured towards commoditization, you must market the value add that is unique to your business. We suppose you are not a company transacting solely online, and therefore ideation by real humans will be essential for your clients. Let your creativity shine as you piece together the right combination of connectivity, devices, management, and services tailored for the specific deployment.   Once launched, how are you helping your client monitor, analyze, optimize and scale their business.  For at the end of the day, the insights gleaned from the devices and your ability to take millions of data points and make sense of it all will be the most significant value add of all.