How 5 Brands Are Marketing with Smart Home Technology

This post is the latest in our “Connected Consumer” series. It’s our editorial focus for the month of December, including topics like personal assistant apps, smart speakers, IoT and wearables. See the rest of the series here

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Smart technology has officially infiltrated the American home. Everything from microwaves to light switches to door locks now connects to the Internet. Savvy brand marketers are discovering that connected devices offer a clear path into consumers’ homes, providing them with ample opportunities to promote their products and services.

Because marketing through the connected home is still in its infancy, most brands are in the experimental phase. Even though there are plenty of opportunities for connecting with consumers through smart appliances and devices, brands have to be careful in their approach to avoid overstepping boundaries or coming off as “creepy.” Regardless, the sheer volume of connected products hitting the market ensures that brands have an unprecedented number of new avenues to reach people inside their own homes.

Here are five innovative connected home marketing strategies being pioneered by brands and retail marketers.

1. Campbell’s – Providing consumers with targeted recipes
A pioneer in the field of connected home marketing, Campbell’s was an early adopter on Amazon’s Alexa. The company was one of the first in its category to launch an Amazon Echo skill all the way back in 2015, providing consumers who ask for recipes with ingredient lists that are heavy on Campbell’s products. Working with Alexa gives Campbell’s an opportunity to get inside people’s kitchens with targeted recommendations for recipes and food products. The partnership has also given Campbell’s access to a robust dashboard, powered by Amazon, that includes data that’s unavailable to brands that don’t participate on the Alexa platform.

2. HP – Monitoring ink levels in printers
HP is using its connected home printers to remove one of the biggest pain points of printing — nobody remembers to buy new ink cartridges until their ink levels are too low to print, and running to the store to purchase more is always a hassle. HP Instant Ink is HP’s solution to that problem. Consumers who sign up for the program allow HP to “monitor” the amount of ink in their connected home printers. The company then sends ink to its customers’ doorsteps automatically, so they never run out. Consumers can also sign up for monthly plans based on the number of pages they expect to print each month.

3. Peapod – Bridging the gap between recipes and kitchen appliances
Chefling is a company that’s developed an app that monitors and keeps track of consumers’ grocery needs. The company’s UltraConnect technology identifies and coordinates appliances and settings for any recipe, essentially bridging the gap between recipes and smart kitchen appliances. With retail partners like Peapod and Walmart, Chefling can also help consumers decide what to cook by pulling up personalized recipe suggestions based on ingredients available in the pantry in real-time.

4. Tyson Foods – Sending product information to connected kitchen appliances
One in every five pounds of chicken, beef, or pork sold in the U.S. is a Tyson Foods product, making the company an ideal partner for connected home companies. Tyson and the smart kitchen platform Innit showed what the future of connected marketing could look like at a conference last year. As part of a demonstration, the QR code on a Tyson product was scanned with a mobile phone and sent via a cooking program to a connected GE oven. The appropriate cooking temperature and time were immediately recognized, and allowing the consumer to get instant recipes. Meanwhile, CPG brands (like Tyson and others) can use the technology for integrated advertising on the smart displays in people’s homes.

5. Procter & Gamble – Turning virtual games into marketing opportunities
Procter & Gamble waited to fully understand how consumers would use smart speakers before delving to deeply into connected home marketing. The company has since launched features on Amazon’s Alexa from at least two of its brands, Tide and Oral-B. The Tide skill is marketed as a cleaning app, where consumers can ask how to remove specific stains (for example, “How do I remove juice stains from clothing?”). The responses they receive often include recommendations that involve Procter & Gamble products. Oral-B’s Alexa skill is a tooth-brushing timer, which gives Procter & Gamble a clear avenue into people’s bathrooms each morning and night.