A brief and non-techy introduction to the Internet of Things for marketers

This paper aims to demystify the Internet of Things (IoT) for marketers. It provides a non-technical introduction to what the IoT is, and how it creates value for users (and, hence, why there has been so much excitement about it).


The paper also presents a general overview of key implications for marketers to consider, in terms of customer behaviour and marketing management. And there are numerous links to practitioner and academic sources, for those readers who want to know more about the topics discussed.


You can access the paper here: iot-intro-for-marketers Let me know what you think of it.


3 thoughts on “A brief and non-techy introduction to the Internet of Things for marketers

  1. I read this and found it informative and thought provoking. I have two comments. In section 5 – Customer behaviour – you are talking about humans. Which is fine for M2H. However, I would like you to consider the M2M scenario as I think there is a customer here. Although the machine is following it’s design/programming, that program was put there by a human. For example (off the top of my head) a human decided to use 32 or 64 bit encryption for the data transfer. Thereby, depending upon the choice made, the designer is giving the machine certain behavioural characteristics. Although this designed in behaviour relates to machines then, by inference, some of the characteristics that are being designed into a product can be classified as trust – data security, accuracy of readings. This M2M trust is not necessary stagnant because machines can behave in unexpected ways. That is why upgrades occur. Designers, in an upgrade, add behvaiour for the machine to deal with a situation that was not foreseen during the design and commissioning phases. As a result of these upgrades, trust may also be upgraded as well. How many Microsoft upgrades have been made to ‘fix bugs’ or ‘improve security’? A good example of trust being built into products is Apple. They do not trust microsoft, therefore Apple PCs are not compatible with Windows PC. (Strictly this is mistrust but where there is trust there can also be mistrust.) In view of this, should M2M be included in Customer behaviour as machines have customer characteristics?

    My second comments relates to section 7. I am, unfortunately, able to remember a time before the internet. As I read what Porter and Heppelmann identified I recognised everything they found in pre-internet products. I use to develop domestic microwaves for Tricity when I graduated from University. Back in the 80s, product development, for microwave appliances, was adding a clock to tell the time to the display then adding a grill. In production we made one control and, using links and switches, turned off and on features depending if a high end or low end product was being built. Tracking was more difficult as it was paper related. Everything made in a factory was made using the international standard for Quality Assurance, ISO9001. A requirement of this standard was to record where each component came from. Therefore, in theory, it would be possible to follow the manufacture of each component to the raw materials taken from the ground, eg take a microprocessor and follow the chain back to the sand dug out of the ground used to make the silicon for the chip. So what Porter and Hepplemann have found is not three new things, but a new species, a post internet species, of an existing idea that itself evolved out of the industrial revolution over 100 years ago. This then raises, in my mind, how much of the IoT is brand new and how much is evolved ideas from the pre-internet age?

    Just my rambling thoughts.


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