When it comes to marketing smart devices, the sooner we get the ball rolling between Madison Avenue, Hollywood and Silicon Valley, the better. Steve Case, the co-founder of AOL, was recently quoted as saying, “Just as partnerships were key in the first Internet wave, they will be key again in the third. Entrepreneurs won’t be able to go it alone in the third wave; they must go together.”
We're not taking advantage of the very partnerships that make the Internet of Things work as an ecosystem that thrives on relationships between objects. To ease adoption of smart devices in the near future, top organizations need to supply end-to-end experiences that address actual human needs. And they need to clearly articulate the benefits to potential consumers through powerful storytelling.
So, here’s a question to ponder: Can Silicon Valley-based IoT manufacturers and service providers (along with their media, creative and promotional agencies) more easily accomplish this complex communications challenge via co-branding and co-marketing collaborations?
Marketo’s definition of co-marketing sums up the term nicely: “Co-marketing is the process of aligning your company’s interests, resources and marketing muscle with other like-minded companies to accomplish much more than you might on your own.” That’s the beauty of co-marketing: Accomplishing more by working together.
Partnering provides certain obvious marketing advantages. In addition to pooling costs, co-advertising helps the companies involved extend their reach to a wider pool of potential customers.
To be sure, co-marketing was not invented by the IoT. Consider the whopping success that Taco Bell and Frito Lay have had with the co-creation and subsequent launch of the Doritos Locos Taco. The product has sold more than 1 billion units since its debut.
The Intel Inside® Program was launched more than two decades ago and remains today one of the most successful tech co-marketing efforts. The campaign catapulted Intel to become one of the most powerful brands in the world. In return, PC manufacturers were able to significantly reduce advertising expenses by adding the Intel logo to their devices.
So, what could co-marketing look like in the world of IoT? Here are a few thought-starters:
IoT companies need to start thinking about marketing partnerships such as these in order to reach broader audiences. Yes, partnerships are daunting from legal, creative and personal standpoints, but the payoff is going to be worth it. Luckily, entities already exist that can help develop marketing partnerships.
The Internet of Things Consortium (IoTC), a non-profit group that seeks to speed the development of the IoT, connects hardware, software, media and services companies. The IoTC organizes meet-ups and working groups and provides access to business development opportunities.
Co-marketing is not easy. But companies need to spin the story of how all these interconnected things like wearables, smart thermostats and digital car dashboards work together or consumers are not going to jump on board. Let’s all get started.
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