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The Internet of Things (IoT) is exploding as the next new megatrend. Some companies that have been established for years are poised to take advantage of their experience. However, they aren’t guaranteed a lock on any market, business, or trend.

That’s what makes IoT an exciting yet challenging landscape to navigate. Companies that will thrive will be the ones that can effectively message their value proposition to customers, address changing market trends, and attract investment.


What IoT Ecosystem Complexity Means for Marketers

At its very core, the IoT ecosystem is a set of complex relationships among the resources, markets, players, platforms, experts and newcomers. The good news is, bigger doesn’t always mean better in this ecosystem. With extreme growth in IoT comes opportunity for niche expertise and tailored applications that serve specific verticals.

This graphic from TechCrunch demonstrates just how busy the IoT landscape has become and highlights many specific vertical or market segment opportunities that exist for IoT platform developers. With this much “noise,” it is clear that any company playing in the IoT realm has both great opportunity to enter an exciting market, but challenge in that they need to clearly define themselves and stand out from the competition.

IoT Ecosystem Challenges

These points are probably no surprise to you if you are an IoT company or company developing solutions to address the IoT market opportunity, but it’s important to discuss these as it relates to how you then address these challenges with your marketing programs.

  • The IoT ecosystem is complex: The IoT ecosystem has multiple layers, platforms, and opportunities than the two Internet waves that went before it — the World Wide Web and mobility. This complexity dictates the need for clear messaging and the benefits of your product when it comes to solving a particular pain-point or problem.

  • It’s already exploding: In the 1990s, the Internet connected one billion users to the web. The second wave connected twice as many users when mobile came along in the 2000s. Cisco predicts there will be as many as 50 billion “things” connected to the Internet by 2020, and a $14 trillion dollar opportunity for those who understand how to navigate it and take advantage of the opportunities IoT presents.

  • It’s constantly evolving: The IoT ecosystem changes monthly, weekly, even daily. It’s just as possible to break into the market quickly as it is to become lost in the potential.

  • The opportunity is huge: Gartner estimates that IoT will support total services spending of $69.5 billion in 2015 and $263 billion by 2020. When you look at vertical and horizontal opportunities in all industries and applications, anyone with an understanding of IoT can easily carve out a niche in their industry and create applications that solve industry-specific problems. What’s relevant now is the data and the specific application.

Messaging To Play in This Market

Identify your niche and message to your differentiators. You don’t have to be Goliath in your market to succeed. IoT will totally rearrange the tech landscape, much like smart phones revolutionized the way we use the Internet. Vertical enterprise applications are the fastest growing B2B market and encompass anything from the connected car to smart cities. Just think of the applications fueled by robots in areas such as manufacturing and transportation.

Pay attention to all of the parts of the ecosystem to find where you can bring the greatest value to your customers. Small and specific, or large and platform-driven, you really need to understand where your company fits, and where the market and messaging opportunities exist. Goldman Sachs reports the five early vertical entries for what IoT can achieve as: 

  • Wearables
  • Cars
  • Homes
  • Cities
  • Industrials

The building blocks of IoT will come from companies who can connect devices, provide common platforms on which those devices can play, create new applications that will attract new users, and provide analytics that will make applications smarter. Where will you and your company fit in?

To learn more about marketing IoT solutions, download our eBook, 7 Marketing Strategies for Cutting Through the IoT Noise.



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