The Newest Messaging Automation Trigger: IoT Devices


Machine-triggered messaging is exciting, but even more exciting is the ever-expanding array of things that connect to the internet, both traditional and non-traditional.

Automated messages can be triggered by a wide variety of behaviors and events. In our Oracle Consulting Checklist of Automated Campaign Ideas to Explore (free, formless download), we identify more than 110 triggered campaigns – and that depends on the channel you’ll use for your message, any segmentation you’ll do, and how you approach your automations differently across your lines of business.

In this incredible variety, we group triggers into four groups based on whether or not they trigger…

  1. An action taken by a subscriber or customer or brand.
  2. Inactivity by the subscriber or customer for a specified period of time.
  3. A date that is important to an individual subscriber or customer.
  4. A signal from a customer or user-owned internet-connected device.

You’re probably familiar with these first three trigger types, but this last bucket is the newest and least developed. However, these machine-triggered messages have enormous potential, especially as more and more products become connected to the Internet.

Examples of Machine Triggered Messages

A critical difference with this type of trigger is that it is completely independent of customer or brand-related behaviors. Based on predefined conditions or user preferences, the device itself determines whether a message should be sent to the client or user.

Today, these conditions and benefits generally fall into two categories. Let’s talk about each of them and share some examples.

1. Product Needs Service or Attention

This message tells the product owner (and others, if desired) that their Internet-connected product needs attention. Exactly what this is can vary greatly depending on the product. For example, a message can be triggered by:

  • A power bank that is below a certain charge level and needs to be recharged.
  • A vehicle in need of specific service, often with vague and general service lights flashing on the vehicle’s dashboard.
  • Ink-less printer.
  • Computer battery not charging as expected.
  • A factory machine experiencing a jam, overheating, or other condition that, if not resolved, could cause it to stop or be damaged.

Related article: Machine learning trends for marketers in 2022

2. Activity detected

This message tells the product owner (and others, if desired) that their Internet-connected product has detected a change in state or a specific state. Again, exactly what this is can vary widely, but can include:

  • The safety sensor disconnects, as does when the door is opened or left open for a longer period of time.
  • A security camera or video doorbell that detects movement in its field of vision or a defined area of ​​vision.
  • A smart thermostat that detects temperatures above or below a set level.
  • A hygrometer that detects humidity outside a specified range.
  • A water or freeze detector that senses this condition.

Of course, there are many more conditions that can fall into these two broad categories.

Choose your channel based on urgency

Some of the above situations are well known, while others are urgent, and in some cases even emergency situations. Depending on whether action is needed at some point in the relatively near future or right now, select the appropriate channel for the triggered message.

Email may require attention depending on a person’s inbox application settings, but mobile push and SMS are actually better channels for urgent messages. For example, it is not very urgent that the printer is low on ink or the power bank is low. However, a doorbell camera that detects something or a water detector that goes off requires immediate attention, so more intermittent messaging makes sense.

Or better yet: Set reasonable defaults, but then let your customers and users choose how they want to reach them.

Related article: Power up your marketing strategy with email automation

Simplify the solution for machine-triggered emails

The notification is great, but the solution is even better. So, when it makes sense, use the alert to take action to correct the situation.

For example, if the vehicle is in need of service, include a dealer service number to call or a link to schedule service. Or, if the notification is about a printer that’s low on ink, provide links to reorder ink or sign up for automatic delivery of new ink when your printer detects that it’s low on ink.

Indeed, machine-triggered emails could be part of the transition to more zero-click conversions, where products, parts, and service are automatically ordered only in response to signals from machines (with prior approval, of course).

But even more interesting is the growing number of things that connect to the internet, both traditional and non-traditional, such as using plant nanobionics to allow spinach plants to send e-mails. What possibilities can you think of?



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