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The Internet of Things (IoT) – Should Marketers Care?

By Charles Golvin | September 22, 2016 | 0 Comments

Marketingcustomer experienceDigital Marketing Strategy and Execution

I presented a session titled “How the IoT Will Fit Into Your Marketing Strategy” (playback free but registration required) this past May at Gartner’s Digital Marketing Conference in San Diego (hey, why not join us in San Diego next year?). As I researched that presentation and confronted the voluminous coverage and often breathless expectations therein — being a natural skeptic — I confronted a basic question: Should marketers give a flip about the IoT? The answer I arrived at: Yes, for several reasons:

  • The IoT represents a massive opportunity. According to Gartner’s research there were already nearly 5 billion IoT endpoints (things) active at the start of 2015. More than 6 billion endpoints will be activated in 2020 alone, bringing the installed base to nearly 21 billion, or more than quadrupling the size of today’s IoT. (Point of clarification: Gartner’s definition of IoT devices excludes smartphones, tablets, and PCs, so the number of connected devices generating sensor data is actually quite a bit greater.)
  • That’s a mammoth consumer opportunity. Many of the early compelling IoT stories that I heard were about business efficiency, such as environmental sensors in containers that assured shippers that cargo did not endure excessive temperature or humidity conditions. However, consumer endpoints already far outstrip the numbers in vertical- and cross-industry segments (in large part due to the subcategory of “Information and Entertainment” that includes smart TVs, digital set top boxes and gaming consoles), and the gap will only increase in the coming years. In particular, connected cars and smart home applications will fuel this growth.


  • Your digital marketing experience has prepared you for the IoT. The IoT is a natural expansion of digital marketing — born on the Web, fueled by an expanding range of connected devices

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

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