SXSW: Wearables shouldn't be viewed as tracking devices

Brands should be creating valuable content for consumers in the IoT, rather than contributing to the noise.

Adidas: the NFC-enabled shoes were among the topics at Saturday's SXSW wearables session
Adidas: the NFC-enabled shoes were among the topics at Saturday's SXSW wearables session

The Internet of Things offers marketers a huge amount of data about their customers — but if brands use this technology for novelty's sake rather than value, they risk losing the connection, according to a SXSW panel.

Speaking on a panel about "wearable ads," today, Michael Deitz, senior group manager of connected cars and owner marketing at Hyundai America, said that he has banned the word "track" in his department.

"I don’t want our customers to think we are tracking them when we are not," he said. "We are interested in speaking to them in the way they want us to, building a relationship with them, and delivering content and information that is relevant."

On the issue of privacy, he said brands in the IoT space must be "respectable and transparent." 

"We talk about this being a relationship — it’s about building trust so you respect them [consumers] and their privacy," he said.

Instead of pushing communications on users through the new connection points IoT offers, Deitz said brands have to "think about things from human perspective: what would average person want to do and take from this?"

Also on the panel, Jon Werner, innovation explorer, Adidas, discussed the sports apparel maker’s NFC-enabled shoes. He said it is vital that brands that create connected experiences should give consumers the option to opt in. This puts the onus on the brand to produce content that adds value, making the consumer actually want to engage with it. 

"We use the data to create a better experience for them, which is why we do it. 

He said that when exploring the opportunities for marketing in IoT, "we can let our imagination run wild because we aren’t thinking about half of things we can do. The technology and infrastructure are there to do it," he said.

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