#SESLON: An IoT Mindset Will Make Marketing Smarter

The Internet of Things (IoT) is about the interconnectedness of smart devices and that should serve as a metaphor for your marketing strategy, said Shawn Burns, global head of Web and digital marketing at French energy giant Schneider Electric.

Delivering the opening keynote to a crowded room of delegates at SES London this morning, Burns drew on the common themes between the IoT and marketing, and noted that silos need to be broken in order to create a smart and seamless experience for consumers across all touch points.

“We don’t want a Web team, a digital marketing team, and a marketing content team that’s somehow separate from the social team,” Burns said. “We have to take this corporate Web entity, connect the dots, and make it very dynamic because social is entirely embedded in it.”

While search and social seem like two separate animals, they have one key thing in common, according to Burns: consumers do both, constantly. Every minute, people tweet 100,000 tweets, upload 48 hours of video on YouTube, and share more than 648,000 pieces of content on Facebook. In that same minute, Google processes more than 2.4 million search queries.

“Marketers spend time building these beautiful products and we have to make sure our focus is in these other places,” Burns said. “Business is going to run away from us – or this is going to be our biggest opportunity.”

Data is another facet of that interconnectedness. Schneider Electric has product data, email data, revenue data, and trafficking data, all of which is centrally processed by a Serbian rocket scientist. Data scientists are the future of marketing, Burns added.

Living in Paris, Burns noted French automakers’ penchant for bells and whistles. His own car is such a smorgasbord of operating systems and buttons that he first activated his cruise control after accidentally hitting a toggle switch while reaching for a pair of sunglasses he dropped next to the seat. “It was absolutely insane. It took me over a month to figure out how to turn on the cruise control – that’s not a statement on my intelligence; I’m a pretty clever guy – and I was looking for it diligently!” he said.

As a contrast, Burns offered Tesla as an example of a brand that has really adopted the IoT mentality that he believes will separate the winners from the losers in the future. The California electric car company contacts a consumer to address a glitch it has fixed – meanwhile, the consumer wasn’t even aware there was a problem in the first place.

Operating that way highlights the point that IoT and marketing are ultimately about people.

“Everyone knows how much time [marketers] spend sitting in meetings, how much time we spend with agencies. Somewhere in the middle, marketers often forget we have a customer on the line,” Burns said. “Whether you’re B2B or B2C or just a human being on Earth, everything you do starts there.”

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