Economist_Logo_175pxThe key observation is that in the “internet of things” brands need to learn to change and regain control of the connection with the customer. With distributors like Amazon increasingly taking more and more of the retailers’ market share, it is the distributors who are learning about, and communicating with, the consumer – not the brand.

With the unstoppable advances in technology the article talks about the possibility of placing sensors and microchips on products. Whilst these have their place, especially on high-end products, Linkz has an easier, cheaper and faster solution – to “activate” the product’s EAN/UPC barcode instead.

Take the example of the activ8 nutrition brand. The product’s barcode was activated giving the customer timely information and product after-care, in this case, support for their exercise regime. To activate the product took minutes – even after the product was on the shelf or in the consumer’s home. This gave activ8 a powerful way to engage with their customers but at minimal cost.

To embrace the technical revolution, manufacturers will need to completely change their cultures, argues the author, employing more IT specialists to crunch data, for example. In the example of Linkz, a full mobile marketing site for a specific product line or SKU can be built by anyone in minutes without the need for programming skills. This gives marketing teams the wealth of behavioural data and insight on the consumer that they need in order to help shape future NPD and marketing strategies.

In the “internet of things” manufacturers and brands will have to grapple with unfamiliar issues as privacy and cyber-security, stresses the author. A recent survey by The Economist Intelligence Unit of 561 executives worldwide suggested just how far the average business is from understanding any of this, with only 19% planning radical changes to harness the potential of smart things. The Safe Harbour ruling on data adds yet another layer of uncertainty.

One thing is clear. If manufacturers fail to embrace the change, they will be left behind as other types of businesses draw ever closer to customers. Linkz changes this paradigm – easily, quickly and at low cost. Contact us to learn how to change the conversation with your customers.