CNN recently reported that the Internet was running out of addresses. To address that issue the Internet Society (yes, there really is such a thing and it’s headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and Reston Virginia) added 340 undecillion (that’s 340 trillion trillion trillion) addresses to the 4.3 billion addresses already out there. That’s 340 with a whole lot of zeroes behind it.
But a whole lot of zeros don’t mean nothing—they mean something. The push to add Internet addresses is driven by the fact that every networked device—whether it’s a smart phone, a computer, a tablet, a digital reader, or something else—needs its own unique Internet Protocol address in order to function.
But wait, there’s more! Things that we normally don’t think of as being connected to the Internet—our cars, our refrigerators, our washing machines, and our wristwatches—are increasingly being built with Internet connectivity. More and more parts of our lives are “connected.”
What does that have to do with marketing? Again, more and more things need to be connected. For years marketing experts have talked about the need to integrate various forms of marketing (Direct mail, space ads, email, blogs, landing pages, etc.). Now we need to think about connecting our marketing efforts to devices that we never thought about. Now if a manufacturer writes a blog or sends a tweet about a new upgrade that will allow your refrigerator to monitor how much milk is left—and shop for the best price—the manufacturer will want to encourage readers to download a free trial of the software that makes that happen. And they’ll want readers to be able to download it straight to their refrigerator.
Sound far-fetched? Twenty years ago people couldn’t imagine reading a book or watching a movie in the park on a device that fit in their pocket.
All those zeroes mean something. One thing they mean is that it’s more important than ever to integrate your marketing efforts. Things are connected now and will only be more connected in the future. And companies that don’t figure that out will be left with the wrong kind of zeroes in their bank accounts.