Coach and Advisor Daniel Elizalde’s Take on IoT Data Opportunities & Marketing Musts

For many marketers, the Internet of Things (IoT) and its constant stream of device data is the new kid on the marketing block. And all the potential it holds is intriguing, yet terrifying—inspiring, yet somewhat paralyzing.

But here’s the thing: In its essence, IoT is nothing new.

“The IoT ‘trend’ that we hear and talk so much about really isn’t a trend,” IoT Product Management Coach, Advisor and Instructor, Daniel Elizalde, tells us. “It’s just the next evolution in technology.”

This should give all marketers some comfort. Change always comes hard and fast in this industry—and with an open mind and a strategic focus, savvy marketers learn to adapt and thrive within the new normal.

With that said, most marketers are just beginning to understand the impact IoT data can have on their marketing strategy. But in order to get some clarity and processes locked down, you need to get to know your technology and data gatekeepers: your IT and product development team.

Daniel has been in the product management and IoT solutions realm for two decades, first working in the trenches and now as a coach and advisor. He also teaches within the Stanford Continuing Studies program at Stanford University and hosts “The IoT Product Leadership” podcast.

We recently sat down with him to get his perspective on the marketing opportunities IoT data holds, as well as his tips on how marketers can work better with product teams to uncover the IoT data insights they need. See what he had to say.

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Daniel Elizalde

Marketing Insights from a Veteran IoT Product Manager: A Q&A with Daniel Elizalde

Q: You have unique insight into the inner-workings of IoT products and how they can drive innovation within a company. When it comes to IoT data, where do you think the biggest innovation opportunities lie for marketers?

By far, the biggest opportunity for marketers is taking advantage of real-time insights to evolve their marketing strategies. Think about how websites and analytics revolutionized the digital marketing discipline. IoT is the next evolution.

Thanks to IoT, marketers now have the real-time ability to see how their customers are using their products. There is now the ability to apply the digital world to the physical world to improve products, more deeply understand pain points, when to or not to engage customer, and the list goes on.

Q: How do you counsel your clients on how to best capture and manage IoT data? Can marketers learn a thing or two from your approach?

Perhaps the most important thing I try to instill is that data is not the starting point.

I use an IoT framework that I’ve developed to counsel my clients. The framework has six key decision-making areas: User experience, data, business, technology, security, and standards and regulations. But for marketers, I think the most important thing to see here is that data is not the starting point.

Before you can get to the data, you need to have an understanding of what your overarching goal is; what problem you’re trying to solve. Really, this is Marketing 101, right?

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“Before you can get to the data, you need to have an understanding of what your overarching goal is; what problem you’re trying to solve.” – Daniel Elizalde, IoT Product Coach & Advisor

A lot of companies and marketers want to jump immediately to the data. But you need to step back and ask yourself: “Who is my user? What problem am I trying to solve? Why do I need this data?”

Essentially, don’t get distracted. Set your objective so you know the right questions to ask of your data.

Q: How can marketers work more closely with IoT product managers to enhance data collection, management, or analysis?

Building off my previous point, I think marketers can have more productive conversations and partnerships with their product teams if they connect their objective to clear targets of what the desired business outcome will be.

The product team is at the center of controlling the roadmap for the entire organization—and they have to answer to many different internal (and sometimes external) stakeholder groups. So, marketers have to compete with that. But if they have a clear target and outcome in mind, getting the data to make it happen could be more easily prioritized by the product team.

And as a general tip, I think it would be worthwhile for marketers to get a better understanding of what the data lifecycle entails; where data comes from. This will help them understand the complexity of their requests and make their interactions with their product team more empathetic.

Oftentimes, the data you need is already there. Work with your IT or product managers to understand what data already exists and the data lifecycle. They’re there to support you, your customers, and the business at large.

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“Oftentimes, the data you need is already there. Work with your IT or product managers to understand what data that already exists and the data lifecycle.” – Daniel Elizalde, IoT Product Coach & Advisor

Q: What’s next in IoT—both generally speaking and for marketers?

I truly believe that in the next 3-5 years we’ll stop calling it IoT. This is just the way technology is going to be built—everything will be connected. So, don’t latch onto the term because I think it will go away and simply become “technology.”

Q: Any other advice for marketers?

I’ve said this a number of times: People don’t buy IoT. They buy a solution to a problem. IoT by itself doesn’t solve problems. It doesn’t even surface the problems. The problems or pain points have been there for a long time. But what IoT does do is provide more accessible, more specific data that unveils the intricacies of those problems. Marketers should remember that.

Read More Insights from Daniel & Other Experts

IoT—rather the next evolution in technology, as Daniel puts it—is here to stay. So, marketers, there’s no time like the present to learn and assess its potential.

Take a peek at our How IoT Data is Reshaping the Marketing Landscape resource page to learn more about the impact, use cases, and more in-depth expert perspectives on IoT data as a marketing tool.

Marci Bontadelli
Marci Bontadelli
Marci is a Senior Marketing Specialist at Arm Treasure Data where she runs influencer, analyst and media relations.
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