Connected devices have a role to play in just about every industry, with manufacturing, health care, retail, security and transportation taking home the lion’s share of the benefits. In the coming years, humankind is set to deploy billions of new Internet of Things (IoT) devices around the world for personal and business reasons, which will further reinvent these verticals.
Let’s talk about what role IoT plays in B2B marketing. This probably doesn’t seem like an obvious place to begin, but B2B companies have a lot to gain by learning about what it can do for their business model.
Improved QoS and Uptime
Making big promises about your quality of service (QoS) and uptime is one thing, but following through on them is another. For example, a company that rents heavy equipment to contractors or construction firms must convince them that these machines provide uninterrupted productivity.
The IoT fills this need by providing a way for equipment companies and others to engage in predictive remote monitoring and proactive maintenance. IoT devices like vibration and temperature sensors are cost-effective enough that they can be retrofitted into a variety of new and legacy equipment to enable condition monitoring. If a component is showing signs of imminent failure, it’s possible to receive an advance diagnosis and dispatch a technician before anybody’s workflow or productivity takes a hit.
You make the QoS promises, but the IoT helps you deliver on them.
Better Timing for Outreach
Improving equipment uptime is far from the only practical use for IoT sensors in the world of B2B marketing. Companies use sensors in several ways to improve their marketing messages as well as their responsiveness to customer needs:
- Sensors help companies monitor customers’ stock levels, the locations of incoming shipments and more.
- With advance warning before supplies are entirely depleted, B2B companies can reach out at the right time to make a sale.
This functionality can even be automated, with internet-connected sensors triggering replenishment orders in many cases.
The competitive advantage this creates for B2B companies is unmistakable. With a single device, you can impress clients with your attentiveness to their needs, as well as ensure both companies’ workflows continue uninterrupted. This example makes the IoT not just a useful marketing and upselling tool, but also an awesome way to collaborate seamlessly.
Insights Into Product Usage
Sometimes serving customers to the best of your ability requires that you understand how they’re using your product and whether they’re truly getting the most out of it. Retaining clients requires a delicate balance of proactive messaging plus the ability for them to discover the features and delights of a product or service for themselves.
The IoT provides a great compromise by allowing companies to gather insights about how their products are used in the field. This includes whether customers are using all available features and whether the item has been repaired or modified.
There are many benefits for harnessing the IoT to gather this type of information from products in the real world. Companies can use these insights to deliver more durable, useful or environmentally friendly items the next time around.
Your B2B marketing efforts can benefit tremendously, too. If you find a client or customer hasn’t taken full advantage of your product, you can use usage insights to send them personalized marketing materials. This includes tutorials or discount offers for services that might suit their use case better than what they have now. This kind of customer engagement and education is huge for retention.
Improvements in Worker and Organizational Safety
Among the many important considerations when choosing a B2B partner is whether that company will create value for you or become a liability. For businesses involved in sensitive industries such as food and beverage distribution, medical device testing, or anything where physical labor is performed in demanding conditions, companies need to communicate several things in their marketing. They must state they take safety seriously, utilize the latest technologies to do so and have a spotless record where workplace safety is concerned.
The IoT can help you do this and more. If you oversee a B2B company in tasks like construction, demolition, transportation or warehousing, internet-connected wearables are a great way to check employees’ condition and location from nearly anywhere. Health-conscious wearables ensure employees are working safely and not being subjected to potentially dangerous situations for longer than compliance dictates.
Then, there’s all the health and safety data these types of devices can generate for you. This information is important for proving your conscientiousness to potential customers and partners, and for ensuring compliance and auditability.
Ready to Begin?
By 2021, it’s expected that we’ll have connected more than 36 billion individual devices to the internet. Not all these things are as consequential as others, especially at the consumer technology level. However, the sheer amount of connectivity available to us today is gradually remaking our world.
Even among B2B companies, the IoT provides several exciting new ways to improve the effectiveness of your marketing messages, boost response time and service quality, and provide competitive insights.