How to Market the Smart Home: Focus on Experience, Not Use Cases

For smart home adoption to expand beyond the niche segments of technologically sophisticated upscale consumers and technology-focused DIYers, marketers must do a better job of understanding the inherent value the smart home offers. Current marketing approaches are fragmented and focus on individual devices and single use cases. Most companies are wondering which combination of entry points – appliance and home entertainment control, energy management, pet monitoring, property protection, safety and security – make the most sense. But, the mass market is not buying a platform or devices controlled by an algorithm, they are buying an experience. The key to smart home marketing is to view the smart home as a complex dynamic system, an assemblage with new capacities from ongoing interactions among devices and consumers, from which new experiences emerge. Marketers must focus on communicating the value proposition inherent in experience; current approaches may actually be underselling the smart home. We discuss the value of our framework and offer eight actionable insights derived from our research that can guide marketer action in the early stages of adoption and usage of consumer Internet of Things devices that comprise the smart home.

hoffman-and-novak-how-to-market-the-smart-home-1-15-2016

Larry Downes Noted NYT Best Selling Author to Speak on Internet Disruption at GWSB

Please join us for an exciting talk by Larry Downes, New York Times Bestselling Author and Internet Industry Analyst, on how the most Internet trends of 2016 are shaking up business as usual and creating new opportunities for disruptors.

 

How Information Technology Disruption is Transforming Market Economies & Giving Consumers Powerful New Leverage

Larry Downes

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

2pm-3:15pm

652 Duques Hall

GWSB

Sponsored by the GWSB Center for the Connected Consumer

 

 

About Larry Downes

Larry Downes is a best-selling author on developing business strategies in an age of accelerating technological disruption. He is the co-author, with Paul F. Nunes, of Big Bang Disruption: Strategy in the Age of Devastating Innovation (Portfolio 2014), now a bestseller. Based on extensive research, the book describes a new kind of disruptive innovation and teaches executives across industries how to adjust their strategies to survive it. His previous book, The Laws of Disruption:  Harnessing the New Forces that Govern Business and Life in the Digital Age explored the accident-prone intersection of law and innovation.  Downes is the author of the New York Times and Business Week bestseller, Unleashing the Killer App: Digital Strategies for Market Dominance, which was named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the five most important books ever published on business and technology. He writes regularly for Forbes, Harvard Business Review, The Washington Post and CNET, and is frequently quoted in media stories in both mainstream and trade outlets. He is currently Project Director at the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy and a Research Fellow with the Accenture Institute for High Performance.

Emergent Experience and the Connected Consumer in the Smart Home Assemblage and the Internet of Things

Download the Monograph:  Hoffman and Novak (2015) Emergent Experience in the IoT

Since the commercialization of the Internet began over twenty years ago, we have been fascinated with the opportunities that computer-mediated environments present for human interaction. As a result, we have spent the last few decades researching the marketing and consumer behavior impact of consumers’ interactions in digital environments.

Now, as the consumer Internet of Things emerges, we find ourselves with renewed excitement as we consider the opportunities for consumer interaction in physical environments with objects that have brought the Internet with them into the real world. Just as the Internet was revolutionary because it enabled many-to-many communication through connected digital networks at unprecedented scale, the IoT is a revolutionary advance that brings the digital into the physical realm. Now, interaction is distributed not just virtually “on the Internet,” but also everywhere in the real world where people actually live, work and play.

What awaits us as we are able to interact with smart objects in our everyday lives, and these objects are able to interact with each other, often autonomously? What are the implications for human interaction and for consumer experience? Will new marketing approaches be required? In the course of thinking about these kinds of questions over the past few years, we realized we needed a new framework to help our thinking jell. We found that framework in assemblage theory. The smart home assemblage serves as the context for our theorizing, but we believe our approach generalizes to any consumer IoT assemblage.

In the monograph linked above, we present an assemblage-theory based conceptual framework and its implications for consumer experience in the smart home. In 8 sections, we discuss the evolution of the Internet and the emergence of the consumer IoT, offer a lay version of assemblage theory, develop our framework and discuss the implications of our framework for research in UX, consumer experience, and marketing strategy. The last two sections offer some early practical insights derived from our theory and some perspective on where things might be going. 

Because the pace of change is rapid, we wanted to put this material on the Web as early as possible for comment and feedback. The monograph remains a work in progress. We are developing several papers based on these ideas  for submission to academic journals and look forward to hearing from others working in this compelling new area.

Donna Hoffman & Tom Novak
Washington, DC
V1.0, August 20, 2015

Is Amazon’s Dash Button Anti-Consumer?

We got three dash buttons yesterday – Tide, Bounty and Glad. Setup was pretty straightforward, although don’t try to run the microwave while you’re trying to pair the button with the app.

Amazon Dash Buttons
Amazon Dash Buttons for Tide, Bounty and Glad

The concept is pretty interesting, but as soon as we tried to select which Tide product for re-order, we didn’t see our variant there, so we didn’t proceed with setup. We also started to feel really uncomfortable with the idea that we couldn’t shop around on Amazon for the best price, but would basically be surrendering all control over product variant and price to Amazon. This felt unnatural.

We also got to thinking how higher-priced name brand marketers like P&G might think this would be great for brand loyalty in the fiercely competitive frequently purchased consumer packaged goods categories, yet how decidedly ungreat this would be for consumer choice and agency.

Are consumers really that lazy? Even using Amazon 1-click lets you check the price first.

Back from CES 2015: A Lot of “Smart,” But Not a Lot of Consumer

Samsung curved monitor
Definitely want this in my office!

I spent last week at CES 2015 in Vegas. This show was really different from all past shows. Central Hall, the traditional location for all the glitz and glamour at the Las Vegas Convention Center, was strangely flat. Sure, there were shiny TVs (4k, 8k), bigger TVs (105″!), curved TVs, and now, beautiful curved office monitors! There were even curved smart phones. There were ultrabooks, storage devices, and lots of gleaming household appliances (LG almost certainly has a winner with the door-in-door fridge and their Twin Wash washer-in-washer seems pretty convenient).

Washer-in-washer is a good idea
Washer-in-washer is a good idea

But it wasn’t, well, that exciting. Seen one supersized high-end TV, seen them all, eh?

Seen one, you've seem 'em all!
Samsung curved TV

It turned out that because there was so much “smart” stuff Continue reading

CES 2015 – The Emergence of the Smart Home

After three days of pounding the floor at CES 2015, I’m back in Washington, DC and ready to collect my thoughts about this year’s experience.  Originally, Donna Hoffman and I expected,as we usually do, to spent most of our time at Central and South Halls in the Las Vegas Convention Center.  Not this year.  In 2015, CES was divided into three zones:  Tech East (Las Vegas Convention Center ), Tech West (Sands and Venetian) and C Space at the Aria.  Tech West housed pretty much all of the new emerging product categories we were interested in – smart home, fitness and health wearables, 3D printing, robotics and sensors and over 375 startups in Eureka Park.  While it’s overgeneralizing to Oculussay that Tech East only showcased big TVs, its a fair generalization that Tech West came across as housing the new and emerging and Tech East the same old-same old.  With some exceptions – Oculus was situated in Tech East (BTW I wasn’t impressed by the Samsung Gear VR – it’s a step up from Google Cardboard but not a full blown Oculus experience).  So, most of our time was spent at Tech West – the “New CES.”

Smart Home Systems.  In my last post, I talked about Samsung’s big push this year promoting its new SmartThings acquisition and the role that Internet of Things (IoT) is playing in Samsung’s product and marketing strategy. In Tech West, it became clear that Samsung and SmartThings has a lot of competition. Lowe’s displayed its entire Iris line of connected home products, including hub, cameras, motion sensors, smoke alarms, leak sensors, locks, keypads, lights, plugs, garage openers, smart pet doors, and more.

Continue reading