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.

source: http://www.getelastic.com

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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.

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– Mitesh Gandhi

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Future of email: what to expert from the next generation of email | Marconix

 

We’ve all heard the inflammatory phrase “email is dead” and I’m sure you don’t need me to refute this absurd claim, but I still see posts surmising that social media, group collaboration software and other alternatives will lead to a significant decrease in the volume of emails sent over the next couple of years. On the contrary, email is more important than ever. If for some reason there is any doubt in your mind, let’s have a look at the following statistics and then quickly move on.

122,500,453,020 emails are sent every hour. We will have 5.2 billions email accounts by 2018. 66% of consumers bought online as a direct action based on a promotional email.

 Emails will be organised automatically:

Gmail’s tab-based system and their new app “Inbox” is just the beginning of a recent revolution in how emails are displayed. For years we were stuck with a list view of all our emails, the “full view”, and sometimes a preview box where we could see the top part of the email. Now emails get auto-organized into folders by a learning algorithm, so we no longer have to create manual rules. This way of “auto-organizing” will be common practice in a few years for every widely used email app with evolved functionality. By then, it will be even easier for us to follow email conversations and teach the system how to filter emails, most likely via hand gestures.

Most of the time, emails will be read for us:

By 2025, typical methods to access our email will be in our car or in our bedroom using our “home computer system”. Not everyone will own a self-driving car by then and have both hands free, but those who do will prefer to get their emails vocalised by their favourite computer voice, which in 10 years will actually sound lovely. At home you will not always carry your mobile device even if it is light as a feather, but you will interact with your computer via voice. This interaction will work extremely well because of the content extraction previously mentioned, so only the important information will be read to us, and whatever system we will be using will come up with recommendations towards the next best action. This could include purchasing a long favoured item mentioned in a promotional email, booking a table at the Italian restaurant to meet Kate who just wrote that she will return from her business trip, and so on.

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What your competition can teach you | Marconix

You know that old saying, keep your friends close and your enemies closer? Well, in the real of digital marketing, that phrase is not working here. Almost every single business out there has a competitor who is trying to get a bigger piece of the pie. If it is your goal to stay ahead of the competition, then you have to know which strategies work and which do not in your industry and use that knowledge to employ smarter tactics.

So where do you start? You start by researching the competition. That’s right, you can learn a lot about what works in your industry by checking in on your competition and learning which digital marketing strategies are working (or not) for them. A little competitive analysis is good for business, so here are the three things your competitors can teach you about digital marketing.

  1. Target Audience
    Both you and your competitors may already have a good idea of who your target audience is, but perhaps they are capturing more consumer attention. If so, it’s time for you to take a closer look at the differences between your competitor’s campaign and your own. Are your competitors utilizing print, radio or even TV advertisments while your focus is exclusively online? Even though more businesses are going digital in terms of marketing, keep in mind that traditional outlets can still play an important role when it comes to targeting audiences. How established are your competition’s social media profiles? Does your competition appear to get higher levels of engagement out of their social media audience than you do?Finding the time and resources to properly engage your audience over social media while simultaneously running a business can be a challenge, and if you are lacking a social media presence, then you are already behind. Hiring an outside firm may be your best.

         Marconix Connect dedicated Social Media Team can help bring your social media profiles to the next level.

  1. Local Logic
    Bring up Google and search generically for the products or services you sell in your area and see what comes up. Is your business showing up in the local results or is someone else’s? If your business does not appear in the search results, then that is a clear problem. Internet users are taking advantage of localized searches to find and research the best products and services near them, so it cannot be overstated how important it is for your company to show up in search results. Local pages are important because they will put you on the map!

While you wait for these local pages to produce organic results, let Marconix Connect strategize a ppc  advertising campaign that will help boost you past your competitors.

  The Benefits of social media marketing:

  • Generated exposure for your business
  • Increased your traffic
  • Resulted in new business partnerships
  • Helped to rise in the search ranking
  • Generated qualified leads
  • Reduced your overall marketing expenses
  • Helped you close business.

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Why You Need a Responsive Website

Having a business website is great, as you can connect with millions of users from all over the globe that need your product or service. On the other hand, having your business online also requires you to have a great website design and stay in trend with the latest technological advancements.

But what is this technique about? In a few words, responsive website design is a technique that allows your website to look the same even if you browse it on your Tablet, Smartphone, Mac or Windows PC. This technique removes the need for dedicated mobile websites and tablet websites, instead it focuses on the creation of a unitary website that looks, works and provides the same feeling on any platform it’s accessed on.

From a business standpoint, having a Responsive Website can really enhance the user experience, allow the user to access the website on all the multiple platforms available, while also informing the user about your latest products, services and discounts you are offering. As a business, you’ll need technology to allow users from anywhere in the world to view your information, and while you can’t control the device from which people will access your websites, you can still make sure that they’ll get the same, amazing experience.

In addition, responsive website design can also help you save time and money. It might take a little more than a normal website but once it’s done, you can access it from anywhere in the world with any device (mobile, tablets, laptops, computers, televisions). On the other hand, creating a desktop website and then duplicating it as a mobile website not only takes more time than creating a responsive website, but the costs are also not justified.

Why do people want to access your website on mobile devices?

It’s just much more convenient, as you don’t have to carry your laptop with you, instead your mobile phone or tablet can easily help you visit the website you want without any problem. This is why the number of mobile users accessing various websites has increased tremendously, especially in the last 2 years.

Mobile devices are now a mainstream product, with low prices and amazing features that just help users get the best experience while on the go.

In addition, a responsive website also provides a sense of fluidity, as it can easily expand or contract to any resolution and keep the same experience.

In summary, responsive website design is surely the way of the future. With more and more Internet connected devices appearing each year, any business website needs to offer the same user experience on all of these. And responsive websites are surely the best to solve this problem.

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