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The Internet of Things and the Segment of One

The Internet of Things (IoT) is inspiring some new (and some not so new) lines of marketing speak.
Notable is Segment of One.
What does that mean?
Simply, knowing vast amounts about your spending patterns, marketing effort is so tightly targeted on your needs, aspirations and requirements, it’s like a homing pigeon bullet, straight to the heart of your wallet.
So, I am talking to you, Segment of One!
Where can this kind of use of big data go wrong?
Once again, simply, in the delivery!
Personal Story
As a child growing up I lived in the seaside village of Muizenberg. Everybody knew everybody, we went to the same schools, shopped at the same stores, sat on the beach over the weekend, and if you didn’t know somebody, there was always a connection.  It was literally one degree of separation.
If I popped into Raad’s, the local greengrocer, he would greet me warmly, and send me home with a watermelon that was just the kind my dad liked.
At the pharmacy, they would give me my mom’s meds without needing an ID, and at CNA, they kept all my favourite magazines for me, without having to ask what they were, or whether they should.
Every shopkeeper asked about my sister and brother, knew where I lived, where I went to school, and later, where I worked, and not in a scary way…
It was the personal touch.   A natural segment of one.
Move forward to 2015
We know more and more about the things people want, and less and less about how to make the experience of buying pleasurable.
I shop at a small centre, and frequent 3 shops regularly.  In fact, I rarely go into the greengrocer without first visiting a national supermarket.   While the staff at the supermarket greet me, I am a complete stranger to them.  The lady (Gill) at the greengrocer knows my name as well as my major purchases, and gives advice.
The segment needs to feel special
You can slice and dice, target, spend time with focus groups, understand your market to the most microcosmic level, but if your delivery people are disengaged from the process, the impact is the same as if the raw data had never been analysed into business intelligence.
The risks of putting people into boxes because of their demographics
For example, a few childless (not by choice) couples have shared how they are constantly sent marketing material around education and fabulous toys because they fit the age demographic. 
Another regular scatter gun marketing is to senior exec women that frequently get offered special opportunities to become a better receptionist or secretary.
Utilising tighter segmentation should definitely improve both of the above.
The impact of larger and larger businesses
As you get bigger, you just get further and further from your clients and your staff, so segmenting and business intelligence make more and more sense.
But we all need to remember that the Internet of Things is to help us deliver better service and solutions to the Internet of People.  
When we forget that there are people at the end of the chain, and the processes we are following become more critical than the person we are providing a service to, when Things are more important than People, that is the slippery slope to business shortevity.

Links, References and Notes

Note on the word “shortevity” – I made it up!
 Thank you for reading Teryl@Work.   Should you wish to use any of the material, please acknowledge this blog as the source.

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