Turning data into information in the age of IoT

If you think about what your home was like even just a few years ago, life was very different.

Think about what grocery shopping was like. You’d open your fridge door to check out what’s missing, scribble down on a notebook a shopping list of what you need, turn off the aircon and switch on the alarm before you left the house and leave.

Now, your smart fridge automatically knows when you’re running low on milk and will order the specific brand and size that you prefer and have it delivered to your front door. Left home and forgot to switch the aircon or alarm on or off? Simply view the app on your smartphone and tap your appliances on or off.

Known as the Internet of Things (IoT), people are consuming information from more connected devices and as a result, marketing practices are rapidly changing. Retailers need to learn how to speak to customers through more channels than before.

As IRI’s product solution director Adam Fisher explains, while more devices are creating more communication, marketers are getting blocked where they weren’t before. What happens when your fridge starts ordering groceries for you? Where a marketer could previously capture customers at the shelf in a grocery store, they now need to work out how to get your attention when the fridge automatically orders milk to your doorstep.

“From a marketer’s standpoint, there are so many devices vying for people’s attention — How do you get the right person’s attention at the right time?” Fisher asks.

According to Fisher, one of the biggest challenges for retailers is knowing how to turn all the data into actionable information.

“It’s knowing how do I bring [the information] in, how do I make sense of it, but on top of that, how do I know when I need to do something when it’s signalling something?” he asks.

Creating cut-through

Marketing automation can give brands more insights and data into how people are responding to these different channels and how they should be approached, suggests Fisher. It’s one of the biggest trends in retail today and can help businesses engage with their customers by programmatically finding the optimal marketing and promotional activities for defined customer segments.


A major benefit of IoT is the fact that based on all this new information from devices, brands and retailers are able to bring products to market faster, allowing them to keep up with the ever-changing retail landscape.

However, it is vital that businesses have the right infrastructure in place in order to deliver real business growth.

Fisher says: “It is important that they have the technology and the right partner in place. In order to do this, brands and retailers will have to combine mobile and cloud technology infrastructure and go entirely digital to build a new business model by connecting people, things, processes, and data to keep up with technological innovation. That is the essence of what we do at IRI, is connecting the dots to help make faster and stronger business decisions.”

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