Push notifications are one of the most maligned features in mobile, and at the same time, vastly underrated as a strategic communications and marketing channel. Push is going to be enormously important in monetizing the Internet of Things. It’s a big part of what we’re doing at Scante with our IoT driven customer experience apps for durable goods companies.
Ariel Seidmann, of Sidebar and Gigwalk fame, has some observations that I came to via Semil Shah’s piece a couple weeks ago on TechCrunch. Ariel notes, “An email is like retrieving mail from your mailbox – you do it on your own terms. Push notifications are somebody knocking at your door saying “look at this!!”
There’s only so much incessant door knocking even the most tolerant person can stand — I’m not among those easy going few.
Knowing how things like dishwashers or coffee makers, thermostats, or bedroom lighting are being used in the field is incredibly powerful for manufacturers. Particularly on the industrial or commercial side, if you’re using some device at more than 70-80% capacity, your receptivity to marketing messages for more of that thing may be much higher than normal.
On the consumer side, if you’re making dozens of cups of coffee per day on a year old one-shotter, the odds of you being receptive to a nice promotion for some higher volume unit go way up. Not to mention that if we know how many cups you’re cranking out, we can definitely be either pushing the boxes of K-cups on you, or simply having them show up at your door — if you’ve opted into an automatic fulfillment option.
But these simple examples just scratch the surface of how IoT’s going to be used by manufacturers, servicers, and distribution chain companies. There are lots of powerful incentives for companies to use push notifications for marketing purposes based on IoT usage data.
When a company uses IoT data to drive push marketing and support messages, it has the potential to max out the “creep” factor in ways that the NSA can’t touch. But on the other hand, if the reaching-out-and-touching-someone can be done in a fashion that’s valuable for the recipient, it’s a huge win-win. Think health and safety or compliance help for commercial and industrial users. Help and advice on using the connected thing more efficiently is worth trillions according to GE, and on a smaller scale to everyone with a connected thing. Push notifications are going to play a major role and they have to be done right: Iteratively developed for specific products and market segments. Every effort to integrate IoT has to include real win-win opportunities for both manufacturers and their end user customers. After all, they’re opting-in to IoT and much deeper interaction and data sharing with the companies that make their stuff. We’ve got to make it worth their while.