B2B marketers are starting to get their brains and dashboards wrapped around the data explosion they’ve experienced over the past five years. My prediction is that we haven’t seen anything yet. The wearable technology trend now rolling out through fitness devices and smart watches will find massive application in B2B.
Wearable explosion in B2B
PWC’s Andrea Fishman observed in an article titled Wearable Tech & The B2B Landscape, ”where consumers lead the way in adoption, wearable technology is being adopted by B2B enterprises at startling rates.”
The article goes on to describe the various ways B2B is adopting wearable technologies, “from supporting emergency workers during complex rescues to streamlining claims processing.”
This adoption, coupled with widely reported wearable growth rates, shows that now is the time for marketing leadership to do more than look on. If there is any doubt that the wearable tsunami is coming, looking to tech analyst firm Juniper Research who reports that revenue from wearable devices will reach $53.2 billion by 2019.
Even with the novelty of wearables everyone knows that for business the data is where it’s at. The Guardian dedicated a story to how the future of wearable technology isn’t in the wearable but in the data.
The types of data streaming from devices are partially known because of marketers increasing sophistication with multi-channel analytics. Along with location based information, duration of use and intensity, B2B marketers can also expect to start seeing streams of:
- Interactions with other mobile businesses
- Interaction with other wearable devices
- Work processing time
- Device engagement and outcomes
- User workflow and preferences
How marketers can start data experimenting
There are at least three smart ways B2B marketers can begin experimenting with data from wearables, even if their company hasn’t launched a wearable product or solution.
- Harness internal wearable program data – Fitness wearables are growing partly through company support of employee wellness programs. Marketers can start to experiment with data sets that are shared as part of these programs. Playing around with the data streams and discussing the insights that can improve programs will be a test bed for larger programs later on.
- Evolve your intern pool – Add an intern to your team who is part data scientist and part marketing technologist. VentureBeat recently published a piece titled Why Data Scientists and Marketing Technologists are the Hottest Jobs of 2015. Start to build this emerging talent pool by bringing on a data intern and have them experiment with wearable data. The entire team will learn and, when you’re ready to hire, you may have the right candidate already in place.
- Start to partner – As wearables emerge as a channel for content marketing and advertising (read B2BNN article about how programmatic advertising is coming to wearables) marketers will need to understand new content is formatted and how users engage with it. Find a partner to test content and advertising in a small way that builds your wearable data muscle. Test is the key word here. You don’t want to commit large amounts of budget to this channel yet. Start small, test with a partner, and then add data to your existing dashboard to see how it stacks up against programs, goals and other channels.
With the acceleration of wearable tech in B2B, marketers have the opportunity to steal a little heat from our B2C colleagues who get a lot of the tech fun. If you want to be a leader in the next wave of marketing data, it’s time to get ready.