In the Internet of Things, today mainly based on electronic connected devices, the concept of CyberObjects will undoubtedly mutate the current CPG economic model. This concept of CyberObjects relies on the association of physical objects (or goods) with their own individual software intelligence (virtual avatar), should it be embedded, hosted in the cloud, etc… CyberObjects are the new paradigm in this true revolution that will allow Marketing to progressively move from promoting goods to self-promotion of goods and associated services in the CPG environment.

In today’s mass market, manufacturers’ offer comes across demand through specific marketing mechanisms, the most important of them being advertising and distribution. The underlying principle of this model is to push goods towards a mass market by seeking to anticipate its behaviour in a “one to many” process (one manufacturer to many consumers). By being perfectly adapted to mass market distribution, trade is in this context the mandatory gateway for manufacturers to access consumers.

With the development of mobile and ubiquitous computing (3G, 4G, smartphones, etc.) and the development of relevant technologies able to grant objects with software intelligence, the Internet of Things will enable objects (goods for CPG) to transform from passive to active economic agents.

In an economic crisis environment, the Internet of Things appears as such, as a unique opportunity to implement a new business model, i.e. a model where these goods will behave as actors to stimulate demand through their associated services offer (delivered by any technological platform – mobiles devices, home automation…).

As a result, the good will become the main media between the manufacturer and the consumers and will allow the switch from a push to a pull economical logic.

In this pull model, consumers will have the ability at any time, whenever needed and anywhere, to interact with any of the goods they have some interest in. This will offer manufacturers an incredible opportunity to move from a “one to many” relationship with their consumer base to a “one to one” marketing model where not only manufacturers could have direct access to their consumers at an individual level, but consumers would also be able to communicate back to manufacturers.

As one can easily imagine, the complexity of mass markets will make it mandatory to have “CyberObjects” (each good behaving as a full independent and unique actor) to be able to stand the billiards of relationships at stake between manufacturers and consumers that cannot be handled centrally (principle of subsidiarity : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subsidiarity).

Last but not least, this could also be a real opportunity to leverage the new rising consumption models such as eco-friendly, sustainable or conscious, fair-trade etc…, in short, consumers will be able to have a deeper knowledge of production conditions, carbon footprint, recycling …through their possibility to exchange information with these goods (CyberObjects).

Muriel LECOMTE (Senior Marketing insight professional), May 2011.
Contact : mulecomte (at) gmail.com