Jamaica’s Internet of (Everyday) Things is here

In Jamaica things like smart fridges are for a minority, but in developing countries, like ours, there are simpler more realistic ways to digitally connect everyday objects around us. Not the fancy fridge, but the standard bottle of beer inside it.

Companies here will jump on the latest digital or social media platforms; and maybe keep an eye out for exciting stuff like virtual reality. Most exciting are the likes of Pokemon Go, the thought of tech taking us not further from but closer to the real world – getting 500 million downloads by encouraging people to go outside where things can be touched…off-screen.

Connecting mobile and physical worlds

From childhood, we can remember those promotions that asked to ‘mail in’ the label. Incredibly some companies are still doing this, and even fewer customers responding. However, what we’re seen work better, today, is placing redemption codes and call-to-action messages inside or on the packaging. Doing this connects these very everyday mundane things and extending the customer journey.

It works like this:

  • Joe Public buys a bottle of beer (or another consumer product) and under the cap there is a unique code.
  • Advertising and perhaps even on the packaging has made him aware of what he can do with this code.
  • So, Joe responds to the call-to-action by SMSing to a short code or loading the mobile web app in his browser – no need to download an– app where he opts in.
    • Simple can be even smarter

      Taking this simple approach might just have made one agribusiness Jamaica’s smartest. Hi-Pro customers, largely farmers, might not normally be showered with marketing buzzwords like digital native. However, Hi-Pro Rewards proves they sufficiently receptive to help transform how the business interacts with its customers. Sister company Best Dressed Chicken has since adopted the approach.

      Hi-Pro customers have a major incentive to buy over the competitor with instant rewards – mobile credit instantly credited to their mobile numbers. Meanwhile, the business gets big data insights tied to purchases. The ability to ask survey questions via the same platform gives it additional qualitative data.

      Going beyond marketing

      The Hi-Pro example also addresses an elephant in the room: why keep handing over all your digital marketing dollars to social networks to renting space – boosting posts to your own fans/followers – from companies who own your customer data? Social media of course remains an important part of the mix, to interact with customers throughout the sales funnel, but won’t necessarily be what delivers return on investment at the end of it.

      Digital transformation of a business requires that digital not be ghettoized in marketing. Why? Because customers use digital – and by digital we mean mobile AKA the ‘human operating system’ – at every possible touchpoint. This can be online; and yes, while watching your TV advertising; but also interacting with customer care or with staff in your retail store.

      At the end of the day it’s improved, streamlines customer experiences like the above that will drive your business tomorrow, and today!

      The above is a shortened version of my contribution to a whitepaper while studying on the Squared With Google digital marketing leadership course. Hi-Pro Rewards runs on the DigicelMORE mobile web platform, which runs campaigns and services for other local brands like Red Stripe, and was built by Silverstone Solutions, who I consult for.


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