The Consumer Internet of Things is About to Explode

In industrial manufacturing, machine-to-machine communications allow sensors in one place to communicate with control systems for an automated response.

For example, if the temperature in a commercial food processor reached a critical high, a sensor could send that information through a supervisory control and data acquisition system. In response, the control system could trigger a cooling system to bring the temperature down. No human interaction was necessary and plant operations sailed along without any downtime.

To allow these communications, devices had to be connected to each other and to larger systems using standard protocols like wifi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee. These systems are referred to as the industrial Internet of Things (IoT).

While the industrial IoT got an earlier start, the consumer IoT is not far behind and it is going to be big. Really big.

Reimagining the Point of Sale

Using many of the same underlying technologies, the consumer IoT gives merchandisers a whole new perception of what ‘place’ even means in the multi-channel universe. Coffee makers, laundry machines, fridges, stoves, cars, watches, smart home monitors and many other items will become customer touchpoints.

The consumer IoT ushers in an era of personal, contextualized selling opportunities, allowing companies to place purchases right into the context of when and where people use an Internet-connected device. Say for example your company manufactures refrigerators. When the milk runs out, people can simply push a button on the fridge to reorder more. The milk can be delivered alone, or along with other commonly ordered items on a standard grocery list – all sourced and delivered by your local grocery partner.

If you manufacture almost any product, now is the time your organization should consider supporting this kind of transaction – right from the product itself.

Manufacturers are Doing it Already:

Samsung’s new Family Hub refrigerator is one of the early entrants in the consumer IoT. The Family Hub comes with what looks like a tablet screen on its front door. Built-in apps connect to various services through the home WiFi network. To keep your fridge supplied, two apps let you order food directly from the screen. Instacart, a US national online grocery delivery service, will deliver to your front door in under an hour. Groceries by MasterCard lets you order online from leading retailers like Fresh Direct and ShopRite.

There are also three webcams inside the fridge. They take a photo of the contents when one of the doors closes. So if you’re at the store and can’t remember whether or not you have milk, you can look through the smartphone app to check.

GE has been adding functionality to get more out of their appliances, connecting their washers, dryers, and dishwashers to more than a hundred other applications including Facebook, Twitter, smart lighting, and various other smart home products

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Millions of New Customer Touchpoints:

Basically, appliances are going to be more software intensive and connected. Consumers will be able to buy “apps” for their washing machines, which means they could actually change the things it can perform. Building connectivity into products allows companies to communicate with customers in new, meaningful ways.

Send them alerts on their coffee maker each month reminding them they need to descale their machine. Provide the details of the procedure to make it easy. Send them discounts and coupons they can take advantage of right from the machine.

It’s not just appliances either. No matter the industry, businesses everywhere will need to adapt to the changing demands of consumers due to the consumer Internet of Things. Thinking about the extended ecosystem required to allow the consumer Internet of Things to flourish, there are a couple of classic technology pain points that companies are going to have to address.

Handling Multi-Channel Commerce:

From a brand and customer experience point of view, selling through multiple channels—in-store, online, through a mobile app, via Facebook—presents challenges enough. Now think about how your back-end commerce systems might handle the sale of food items from a local grocer via your refrigerator interface.

These kinds of transactions make commerce and transaction systems even more complex – and they must feed information to back-end systems of record like CRM and ERP. If you thought that the integration effort was ridiculous when there were only five channels, think about it when you add even just ten internet-connected products and thousands of people buy them. The challenge here is to ensure that the commerce system you choose moving forward is capable of adding new sales channels without the massive integration efforts of the past.

Buddy Up or Go Vertical:

From a partnership perspective, the consumer IoT opens massive new opportunities. Who are you going to partner with to sell coffee from your coffee maker? Which brands in which cities will you support? Or will the coffee arrive via UPS or Fedex from a central location?

If you are a car manufacturer and the tire tread detector senses they need replacement, do you recommend the factory choice? Or spread the love to other tire manufacturers? When the car alerts a driver to the fact that they need more gas and drivers search for a nearby station from their car interface, do you promote all brands equally?

Depending on how brands work together, the consumer IoT might be the driver for mergers due to attractive economies of scale resulting from vertical integration.

Get Connected:

More and more consumer devices are being connected. The IoT gives marketers a whole new perception of what ‘place’ even means in the multi-channel universe. Think about how your products might fulfill customer wishes to make their lives easier. Then build that service right into your products.

With the right underlying back-end commerce platform, adding new channels is easy, so the only limitation is your imagination and your ability to conceive of your products in a booming consumer IoT.



Should a Startup Outsource Sales and Marketing?

While the term ‘outsourcing’ does tend to conjure up a few negative connotations, it’s not a new concept for startups or most small businesses.

Many growing companies frequently use the outside help of book keepers, accountants, and lawyers to keep their operations running smoothly and fill in knowledge gaps. Given that most entrepreneurs don’t have in-depth accounting skills or law degrees, this spontaneously makes sense. Should entrepreneurs outsource sales and marketing?

As a startup, being close to customers and prospects is very important, so to completely outsource sales and marketing wouldn’t a great idea. That being said, I do think there is a place for advisers to help startups with their sales and marketing efforts, areas in which passionate entrepreneurs typically lack formal training.

I believe that even when entrepreneurs elect to use consultants like Marconix, they should still be heavily involved in all sales and marketing activities. In essence, a good consultant should become an extension of the startup organization.

Here are a few of the top reasons that startups should consider outsourced sales and marketing services.

  1. You Don’t Have Funds to have full setup Hire

Hiring experienced full-time sales and marketing talent can be extremely expensive for a startup. Additionally, often times the best marketers and salespeople aren’t willing to take on the unique challenges that working in a startup presents. A outsource sales and marketing arrangement is a great way to tap into the expert resources you need to grow your business without the full-time headaches.

2. You Don’t Have the Time

Running a startup can keep you extremely busy with development challenges, finance issues, operations, human resources, and sales and marketing. Bringing in an experienced sales and marketing consultant can help you use your time more effectively as part of the sales and marketing cycle. As well, many startups just don’t have the runway to adequately develop a sales and marketing team before their business starts to face financial challenges. Outsource sales and marketing services allow entrepreneurs to start selling from day one.

3. You Don’t Have Expertise in Sales and/or Marketing

While there are lots of free sales and marketing resources available to growing companies, startups just can’t afford the learning curve. Furthermore, hiring a sales and marketing team without having the experience needed to manage those type of employees can be tough. Outsource services can help you go faster with a great plan, and are flexible enough to help your organization pivot as your product pivots as well.

Every entrepreneur should examine their own situation and decide whether or not it makes sense to outsource sales and marketing in some capacity. If you have the funds, time, and expertise, you should hire full-time employees. You should consider a consultant to help you grow your business if you are lacking in any of these key areas. Please connect with Marconix if you would like to talk and determine whether outsource sales and marketing help could be right for your organization.


– Mitesh Gandhi 

The Art of Herding Sales Cats

If businesses hired animals instead of people, we would all hire dogs. They are loyal. They come to you when you call them. They look lovingly in your eyes for any acknowledgement. Pat them on the head and they will jump for joy and give you a nice wet kiss.

Dogs would simply love working for you and do whatever you ask them to do. Fetch!

Business owners would never hire cats! They lie around most of the day, often sleeping on the job. They look on you with disdain if you ask them to do something. The minute you stop watching them, they are doing something to get in trouble and break something.

Unfortunately, sales people are cats. You don’t quite understand them. They don’t seem to do much. When they do, there is usually a mess to clean up. They creep you out when they want something with their purring and rubbing up against you.

At Marconix, we specialize in herding sales cats.

We understand the breed. We know how to get them off the couch. We know how to keep them from causing too much trouble. We know how to handle their mood swings from total excitement to complete depression and to bring them back in focus on their purpose – to sell something!

Herding sales cats is an art. While we take great pride in our mastering the art of herding sales cats, we also recognize that REAL ARTISTS SHIP, so we apply deep science to our art as well.


The Science of Sales Management

2010. No, not the novel of a totalitarian future society.

2010 is when the journey that became Marconix Sales and Marketing began. Along the way, we built a nationwide Sales and Marketing network. We generated businesses for our clients. Planned and advocate over 70 sales and marketing processes and then stopped counting. We consulted with hundreds of businesses in dozens of industries, ranging from Fortune 100’s to the smallest of start-ups.

In 2012, we launched Marconix Sales and Marketing Outsourcing. Why? Because what we were doing simply wasn’t enough to drive sales results for our clients. We needed to do more. Marconix became your outsourced Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), with accountability for your sales results.

Regardless of how much we do in marketing planning, automation and execution, we will never forget our roots in sales and sales management. We understand that NOTHING HAPPENS UNTIL SOMEBODY SELLS SOMETHING and firmly believe that is what a sales and marketing company should be all about – sales results!

What have we learned about sales and sales management?

  • Process: First, the profession of sales lacks discipline. There is a very weak commitment to executing the fundamentals of selling. We bring that discipline to every one of our client relationships. We design the optimum sales process for their business. We measure it. We analyze it. We improve it. We control it. We bring a scientific yet practical discipline to driving sales results.
  • People: Second, sales is “people buying from people.” We apply the same rigor and discipline to the sales people we manage for our clients as we do to the process. We recruit and select only the best available talent. We train continuously. We relentlessly work on the inner game of selling in motivating each sales person. Last but not least, we hold our sales people accountable for sales results.


Science, Art and Driving Your Sales Results

– Mitesh Gandhi