By Dr. Carsten Stöcker, Dr. Michael Rüther, Nicole Reinhold, Marius Goebel // 16. September 2017

Object Marketing using Digital Twins

A physical object with a digital twin will change old fashioned loyalty programme marketing dramatically

Many companies like to talk about their 'Digital Marketing' strategy. But does anyone really think that one way communication demonstrates understanding of customers' needs and wishes? Within our project at innogy Innovation Hub we are building a radically new kind of customer experience based on Object Marketing and the use of 'Digital Twins'.

A Digital Twin is a digital model of a real life process, product or service with a unique, immutable identity. Digital Twins are bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds. The data gathered by Digital Twins helps companies better understand customer interactions and needs, enabling a more focused development of products and services, while at the same time driving business innovation.

Bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds

A 'Digital Twin' can be a digital representation of a physical product. By inserting e.g. a smart tag or a crypto chip, manufacturers can create an independent unit with its own unique identity.
In the new world of "industry 4.0", digital twins are already used to guide the manufacturing process by providing batch size 1 manufacturing, back to birth-traceability, provenance, authenticity, process optimization, and auditing. But imagine a future where every object has its unique ID on a decentralized platform (blockchain) with its own crypto wallet?

We don't only look at the "point of sale". Our big picture takes in the whole product life cycle

We developed a decentral Digital Twin platform based on decoupled building blocks using APIs and services to build custom and unique applications. One of this services is the 'Object Marketing' approach: We build a native app using this service allowing you simply use your smartphone to interact with your beloved handbag or surfboard – just proof ownership, document your personal product's story and many more. On the other hand, the manufacturer can provide relevant contextual information to you, learn from your experiences, provide product related services and also reward you as a user – completely privacy protected.

We see three key advantages to this 'Object Marketing' approach:

  • It provides the manufacturer with a direct communication and marketing channel with its users, instead of relying upon intermediaries e.g. advertising platforms or retailers.
  • It allows the manufacturer to transfer value in the form of crypto currencies, enabling it to rethink sales and marketing processes and develop new business models
  • It is highly data privacy friendly and GDPR1 compliant, because the personal data remains on the users’ phone and is not shared with the manufacturer.

'Object Marketing': The Digital Twin Marketing approach has benefits for both manufacturers and customers

We believe that 'Digital Marketing' is at a tipping point: fraudulent ads, paid recommendations, fake friends and likes together represent the tip of the iceberg. Users increasingly demand meaningful interaction with products, while mainstream marketing activities remain focused on owning and consuming products. 'Digital Twins' and 'Object Marketing' can help to bridge this gap with new streams of transferred value between manufacturers and customers.

You have a question or want to start a pilot? Don’t hesitate to contact us!
Just download our intro slide deck here:

Download Slide Deck

Also published @ innogy Innovation Hub


Carsten Stöcker (2017): Machine Tagging for Digital Twins

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