Internet of Things: How Driverless Cars & Smart Televisions will redefine Digital Marketing

With the advent of technology, the whole process of buying and selling is going through a huge paradigm shift. Today, we have a host of devices like smart phones, smart watches, smart refrigerators and smart televisions that only help us in the selection of products and services but actually conducts the buying process on our behalf. With the introduction of driverless cars, a revolutionary project that has been spearheaded by Google and Elon Musk of Tesla, the marketing process would be taken to the next level where the marketers would target the devices associated with human beings with their offerings, rather than target the human beings. This would need very high level of sophisticated marketing skills which can harness and leverage the opportunities created by the availability of big data and internet of things (IOT). Our research paper endeavors to do an in-depth study to understand the challenges posed by the device driven marketing process to develop strategies that can be used by marketers to overcome them by harnessing and leveraging the power of technology.


Are you a single working executive living all alone in Gurgaon who needs a warm meal when you return to your apartment at night after work? Don’t worry, all you need to do is send an SMS to your smart refrigerator that you need dinner served at 9 PM. The fridge will immediately scan how much inventory is present inside and order fresh replenishments to the grocer by SMS. Once the groceries are delivered it will pay the grocer through digital wallet. The raw materials will be sent to the automated chopping board, mixer, grinder and then to the microwave through a conveyor system. The microwave will cook the food, keep it warm and deliver it to your dining table exactly at 9 PM. Say goodbye to your bai and welcome to the world of smart devices.
What we have discussed right now is not science fiction, but the reality that is taking the markets by storm. At the CES 2016 in Los Angeles, Samsung has unveiled an exciting product called Samsung Hub Refrigerator. This fridge is connected by WiFi and Samsung Smart Home App. Equipped with scanners, cameras and LCD screens, it can keep track of what’s there and what’s not there inside the fridge. It can also order groceries online with the aid of a major credit card partner, as well as manage recipes and compile and share shopping lists.The human intervention in ordering, managing and processing food will become lesser and lesser as more and more of these smart devices proliferate your homes.

The Driverless Car

And now let us prepare ourselves for two more devices that are all set to bring a paradigm shift in our lifestyle --- the driverless car and the smart television serving programmatic ads. There is a battle currently brewing between Google and Elon Musk owned Tesla Corporation about who would be the first to bring the driverless car to the market. Google’s self-driving cars uses LIDAR (light-sensing radar), which is a remote sensing technology that uses lasers to map out the world around it. The light reflected from the laser beaming on objects is measured to determine the distance between the car and its environment.
Elon Musk of Tesla, on the other hand, uses high-tech camera sensors along with 12 long-range ultrasonic sensors that provide 360 degree vision, and a forward facing RADAR system to help enable its semi-autonomous Autopilot system. Elon Musk has recently announced that the Tesla driverless car will be ready by 2018, but it may take a couple of years more to get the necessary approvals to start the commercial sales. There are talks going on between Google and Ford Motors for a collaboration that will help them to launch the driverless car by 2018. There are also hectic efforts being put up by General Motors, Toyota, Honda and Daimler to get a foothold in this market.

The Smart Television& Programmatic Advertising

The other device that is all set to surprise us is our popular entertainment medium called the television set, which is also rebuked as the ‘idiot box’. As more and more millennials and other smart viewers start shifting from television entertainment to YouTube and Internet based entertainment, the TV industry is all set for a major shakeup in both the hardware and content. The print and electronic advertising agencies are also reeling under the massive onslaught created by the digital advertising players.
The digital display advertisements are not only precision driven (you can chose who’s going to see your ad) but also ranks very high in terms of accountability (you only pay if someone clicks on your ad). The US digital ad spend has surpassed $58 billion this year, with digital video ads accounting for $7.46 billion. In India, 14.2% of the $6.6 billion ad spend is getting allocated to the digital media.
The print and the electronic advertising agencies, on the other hand, face severe constraints when it comes to pinpointing whether the target group has actually seen the ad and then if there has been any conversion based on the ad. Thus the advertisers are randomly pouring in money on serials, news, movies, music, cricket matches, reality shows and live performances, just on the basis of TRP(television rating point), without really being sure whether the target group is actually watching their ads.

Source: Interactive Advertising Bureau
The paradigm shift has already started coming with a new strategy called programmatic advertising. In this mode, which is currently available in digital display advertising, programmatic software will allow advertisers to buy guaranteed ad impressions in advance from specific publisher sites. This basically means the advertiser can specify the geographic location, gender and age group of the consumers to whom the ad should be served and will also get a report on whether it has reached the targeted audience.
How would that be made feasible in television programming and viewing? In futuristic television viewing, where content is being streamed by Google Chromecast, Apple TV, Amazon and Netflix, the viewer needs to login with his or her personal id. By tracking the id, the advertiser immediately comes to know whether someone from her target group has started watching the content and can serve customized ad accordingly. So, like digital display advertising, the ads served on the smart televisions are also going through a complete overhaul which is now making them very precisely targeted to generate higher return on ad spend (ROAS).

The Inferences

How are the marketing strategies going to change with the advent of driverless cars and smart televisions? Our research has identified the following five impact areas that need to be addressed by the new age marketers to attain competitive advantage in the market place.

i. Digital Foot Mapping
With the smart televisions serving precision driven ads on target groups and the driverless car doing the shopping and delivery of products, there will be plenty of data available for the marketer to assimilate and analyze. As per data given by McKinsey and IBM, we are currently generating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. Most of this data is machine generated unstructured data. This provides a huge window of opportunity as well as a big challenge to process the data in a meaningful way to generate insights. Fortunately, we have sophisticated software packages like Hadoop, Pig, SAS, Cognos and Watson that can help in the digital footmapping and profile the customer to understand the needs and match the offerings accordingly.
ii. Device Driven Marketing
With smart devices like the smartphone, smart refrigerator, smart television, smart car and smart watches becoming prevalent, the targeted customer will not be the human being but the devices associated with the human being. The refrigerator can be targeted by the online grocery stores like Big Basket and Grofers, The smart television can be targeted by the jewellery, apparel and shoe marketing companies, the smart watches can be targeted by the lifestyle companies, the smartphones can be targeted by stockbroking and travel companies and the smart car can be targeted by the oil & gas and insurance marketing companies. The marketers, obviously, have to learn to adopt innovative strategies like SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM(search engine marketing) to convince the devices to buy their products.
iii. On-Demand Marketing
The term “On-Demand Marketing” has been coined by Peter Dahlstorm and David Edelman. As per the article published in McKinsey Quarterly, they have postulated that companies should now be prepared to interact with customers on multiple platforms and touch points, give customized offerings as per the needs and make the whole process of transaction simplified. This is already happening with companies developing and offering internet based mobile apps where the transactions can be completed with two or three clicks. The device driven marketing will further spur the movement of On Demand Marketing and bring more efficacy and efficiency to the whole marketing process.
iv. Digital Wallets and Plastic Money
Internet of Things (IOT) and device driven marketing will perhaps ring the final bell for cash based transactions and increase the importance of digital wallets and plastic money. The online transactions are expected to rise manifold and the use of payment gateways will also multiply accordingly. Hence, it will be imperative for the new age marketers to develop a robust system with firewalls which makes the financial transactions easy and smooth and facilitate the buying process in a much simpler manner.
v. Real Time Bidding
As stated earlier, the IOT and device driven marketing will lead to a huge overhaul of the advertising industry. The advertising industry will now run on the Real Time Bidding (RTB) where the demand side platform (DSP) and the supply side platform (SSP) will eventually match to decide where and to whom the ads will be served. This will be a totally automated process with minimal human intervention that will have higher level of accountability, conversions and higher return on ad spend (ROAS).


Digital Marketing has been the harbinger of creative destruction --- A term coined by economist Joseph Schumpeter --- where the new order takes over the old one by replacing existing processes and practices. The invention of the wheel, the discovery of fire, Thomas Edison’s electric bulb, Henry Ford’s assembly line manufacturing, Motorola’s Six Sigma,, Toyota’s Lean Manufacturing , Microsoft’s GUI(Graphic User Interface) and Apple’s I-Phone has sharply increased our productivity, efficiency, comfort and convenience in work and life. The next era will be that of smart gadgets, where the Car, Television, Refrigerator with Artificial Intelligence will take care of the mundane tasks leaving us more room for exercising our brain on innovation and creativity. Our study aptly establishes that Internet-of-Things(IoT), supported by driverless cars and smart television will redefine marketing and business with the digital edge.


(i) Biesdorf, Stefan; Court, David; Willmott, Paul. (2013). Big Data: What’s your plan?.Mckinsey Quarterly, March 2013.
(ii) ComScore Study, 2013, India Digital Future in Focus.
(iii) Cukier, Kenneth; Mayer-Schonberger, Viktor (2013-03-14). Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think. (p. 70). John Murray. Kindle Edition.
(iv) Dahlström, Peter; Edelman David; (2013).The coming era of On Demand Marketing. April 2013. McKinsey & Company. Kindle Edition.
(v) Leibowitz, Josh; Ungerman, Kelly; Masri, Maher (October 2012), “Know your Customers wherever they are”, McKinsey & Company. Kindle Edition
(vi) McKinsey Chief Marketing & Sales Officer Forum (2013-07-09). Big Data, Analytics, and the Future of Marketing & Sales (Kindle Locations 314-317). McKinsey & Company. Kindle Edition.
(vii) McAfee, Andrew; Brynjolfsson, Erik; (October 2012), “Big Data: The Management Revolution”, Harvard Business Review.
(viii) Marshall, Jack: What is Programmatic Advertsing (2015), Digiday
(ix) Thompson, Cadie; There's one big difference between Google and Tesla’s self-driving car technology(2015), Techinsider