IoT Marketing Strategy and How to Understand the IoT Buyer

The Internet of Things (IoT) is quickly becoming a reality. In fact, Cisco estimates that there will be 500 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2030 (compared to 15 billion today).

The IoT is growing 2X year-over-year. — Cisco

With this growth, opportunities abound. But providers need to understand the IoT buyer. Once they do, they can run a successful IoT marketing strategy.

Stats and trends - insights

Growth potential for IoT

For context, Gartner predicts that $400 billion will be spent on IoT professional services by 2020.

This spending breaks down into three categories:

  • Consulting (application support, strategy planning): 16%
  • Implementation (building the IoT): 33%
  • Operations services (managing IoT assets and analytic services): 51%

IoT providers can take a slice of this grand pie. But first, they need a solid technology marketing strategy that addresses their buyers’ specific needs.

Internet of Things Market Statistics – 2016

IoT Marketing Strategy to Answer Buyer Challenges

For several different industries, buyers face similar challenges when they enter the IoT.

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These challenges can include:

  • Unclear business benefits
  • Lack of leadership support
  • Funding shortage
  • Integration difficulties
  • Limited internet skills
  • IT-OT misalignment
  • Security concerns

On average, survey respondents have five different challenges to integration (Gartner).

They can have concerns about device, data, and business process integration. And buyers may also have obstacles with their existing legacy and operations systems.

To face off with these challenges, an IoT provider should become a support entity.

To do this, providers should smooth the purchase process with a solid IoT marketing strategy. The strategy should do several things:

  • Explain alignment and integration process
  • Ease client fears
  • Demonstrate thought leadership

If a marketing strategy covers these needs, it will build trust and close more sales with IoT buyers.

Content is the most direct way to solve these needs. Digital content marketing has huge potential for IoT providers: A content strategy can answer common pain points for IoT buyers. It can also create thought leadership that will define relationships with them.

Any successful IoT marketing strategy will have an array of content to attract, educate, nurture, and close IoT prospects into customers.

Defining a content strategy for the Internet of Things

Differentiation for IoT Buyers

In addition to buyer obstacles, researchers say that buyers are also confused about the IoT services market.

“It’s confusing for providers, never mind the buyers themselves,” said Gartner research director Denise Rueb.

After all, there are new providers entering the market every day.

Additionally, many new types of engagement models are emerging — such as risk-sharing, agile, and dev/ops.

But an IoT service provider can make a difference by helping the buyer understand the IoT ecosystem. Providers should share their expert knowledge and create content that explains each engagement model.

An IoT provider should decide where it “fits in the stack” by defining its niche sectors.

This is an important step for the IoT company to position itself, and therefore help an overwhelmed buyer understand the context around their purchase decision.

How to Justify ROI for IoT Buyers

Arguably the biggest obstacle for IoT buyers is to justify business outcomes and ROI. They want to know: How will this investment work within my IoT framework? Buyers want to know they are making strategic decisions that will pay off.

Rueb identified five main IoT usage models that buyers desire:

Understanding IoT buyers

She suggested that IoT providers should lay out the entire value chain: First, how an IoT solution is implemented, and then, where their product or service will make a difference.

In conclusion

To invest in an IoT solution, a buyer needs to understand the business benefits from the IoT.

Solution providers can stand above the competition with a buyer-focused IoT marketing strategy. Such a strategy should offer ideas and information, help executives explore possibilities, and share the many ways IoT can grow business efficiently.

Marketing Opportunities for the Internet of Things


Cisco. (2015). Internet of Things: Connected Means Informed.

Rueb, D. (2016, Dec. 13). Key Considerations for a Successful IoT Service [webinar].
Tully, J. (2016, February 16). IoT: Key Lessons to Date and Action Plan for 2016.


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