Why wearables shouldn't be viewed as tracking devices

The Internet of Things offers marketers a huge amount of data about their customers, but brands must be careful in how they use it.

The Internet of Things offers marketers a huge amount of data about their customers — but if brands use this technology for novelty’s sake rather than value, they risk losing the connection, said panelists at SXSW.

Speaking on a panel about wearable ads on Saturday, Michael Deitz, senior group manager of connected cars and owner marketing at Hyundai America, said he has banned the word "track" in his department.

"I don’t want our customers to think we are tracking them when we are not," he said. "We are interested in speaking to them in the way they want us to, building a relationship with them, and delivering content and information that is relevant."

On the issue of privacy, he said brands in the Internet of Things space must be respectable and transparent.

"We talk about this being a relationship — it’s about building trust so you respect them [consumers] and their privacy," he said.

Instead of pushing communications on users through the new connection points offered by the Internet of Things, Deitz said brands have to "think about things from a human perspective: what would the average person want to do and take from this?"

Jon Werner, innovation explorer, Adidas, discussed the brand’s NFC-enabled shoes and said it is vital to allow consumers to opt in to connected experiences. This puts the onus on the brand to produce content that adds value, making the consumer actually want to engage with it.

"We use the data to create a better experience for them, which is why we do it," he said.

When exploring marketing opportunities in the Internet of Things, "we can let our imagination run wild because we aren’t thinking about half of the things we can do," Werener said. "The technology and infrastructure are there to do it."

This article originally appeared on Campaign US. Follow the rest of PRWeek’s SXSW coverage here.

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