Smart homes are no longer the stuff of the Jetsons or early-2000s SciFi movies. Today, it’s reasonable to expect your coffee to start brewing five minutes before the alarm goes off on your iPhone, and it’s becoming more common that your energy company sends you a text asking if you meant to leave the lights on when the motion detector notices nobody’s home.
In light of the infinite possibilities enabled by connected homes, how can innovation marketing lead to smart ads, and how is technology enabling marketers to find new ways to deliver content to the consumer instantaneously?
Wake Up on the Bright Side
Historically, the easiest way to be the first thing consumers saw or thought about in the morning was to advertise in the newspaper or on a morning TV show. As homes get smarter and more appliances are tied to an app on your smartphone, it will be easier for brands to reach consumers in other ways.
Smart homes are a combination of open platforms and manufacturer-specific software integration, which means that multiple apps can step in to compete for consumers’ eyes and dollars to solve the same problem. The freemium model of apps is an intriguing way to sell coveted targeted ad space—say, the free version of a home control app offers tasteful, pertinent ads, while the premium version goes ad-free. If you use the app to enable your coffee maker to link to your alarm clock, ads for coffee makers, beans, and other brand products would be no-brainers. And if you were to program an app for aggressive energy savings, ads for high-efficiency windows or compact fluorescent bulbs could educate and target clearly interested customers. Even premium, ad-free products can feature “Learn More” tabs that explain more ways to save or tailor your morning coffee experience.
Native advertising, anyone?
Get Online, Hit Close to Home
A key tenet of the open innovation marketing movement is bolstering brand authenticity and reputation by offering potential consumers value regardless of whether they’ve made a purchase. That’s why storytelling and brand journalism are growing so quickly—sharing stories and creating dialogue with customers is about becoming an integral part of the lifestyle your brand is associated with. Light bulb manufacturers would be wise to digitize by offering apps that help users monitor their energy use or educational content that explains the benefits of various types of bulbs.
Stack, a company with a mission to make home and office products more efficient, is making an LED bulb that is responsive to motion (in production). When someone enters or exits the room, the bulb will adjust (gradually) using an ambient light sensor. It also communicates with Nest’s smart thermostat to match heat levels depending if you’re home or not.Among other controls, their app, which will be released the same time as their smart bulb, will allow users to change the color temperature from yellowish-white to bluish-white, change the brightness level of floor and ceiling, and schedule changes for both color temperature and brightness.
What if Stack also delivered useful content to users via their app for energy-saving tips? How about creative ideas for the best light positioning per room type?
Houses are usually the biggest investment people make, so the majority of homeowners are heavily interested and invested in upkeep and innovation. Whether homeowners are ardent do-it-yourself-ers or prefer to research and leave the work to professionals, advertising, service opportunities, and content marketing abound in the home of the future. And where you can’t place a piece of content, you can learn something about the home and its occupants by the data it shares with the cloud.
Just like free apps provide ad space for goods that can’t otherwise be digitized (ie: coffee), great content marketing and complimentary apps that bring hardware into the software space provide a fantastic opportunity for brands to hit close to home.
We still don’t understand all the ways houses will become smarter, as digitized hardware constantly creates new possibilities for innovation. We do know that the best way to successfully market content in new spaces is to get ahead of the curve. The smart homes market is estimated to be worth $58.68 billion by 2020. It’s already well on its way, but breaking into established markets is always harder than being perceived as a pioneer in an impactful space. Whether you have a good or service that’s pertinent to houses or are simply a marketer interested in industry trends, understanding the innovation surrounding smart homes can teach you a lot about the ways technology impacts nearly every facet of modern life.
The future is closer than you think.
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