One of the most reliable things about the marketing industry is the new and catchy buzz terms that appear with the roll-out of each year’s new trends. One interesting thing about this phenomenon is that much of the time, these buzz terms are not merely for decoration—they signify major shifts in the advertising landscape.

This is to be expected in a modern world where technology is evolving at increasingly rapid rates. Take “Industry 4.0” for example. As a buzz-term, it’s concise and has a nice ring to it. However, those who don’t know better might assume it’s all flash and little substance. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In this guide, we explain everything marketers need to know about what many are calling the fourth revolution in the manufacturing sector: Industry 4.0

The definition of Industry 4.0

Simply put, it’s the digitization of the manufacturing industry. Just as the industrial revolution that occurred at the end of the 18th century represented a seismic shift in mechanization and production, this fourth iteration is poised to create another massive shift. It is completely transforming manufacturing as we know it.

It’s also the next logical step after automation. In the recent past, automating entire manufacturing systems and processes was quite the disruption. The addition of computers represented Industry 3.0. Now, Industry 4.0 builds on this by augmenting these systems with machine learning and data. In other words, it’s taking all those computers we started implementing in society’s manufacturing sector and making them even smarter.

AI plays a big role

To maximize efficiency in manufacturing, the goal becomes to remove human oversight from computer systems entirely. To do this requires artificial intelligence. Adding AI and machine-learning systems to the manufacturing arena has a number of benefits. First, it reduces machine failure and improves quality control. It boosts the aforementioned efficiency and productivity while also lowering manufacturing costs.

Also, AI’s ability to analyze enormous data sets means that it has an added marketing benefit: it can use personalized data to appeal to existing customers and encourage them to sign up for other services. These benefits then spill over to other departments like customer service, maintenance, and logistics.

The Internet of Things

The IoT actually makes this all possible. Just like people can now talk to their smartwatch or smart refrigerator or smart car or smart whatever, so too is it occurring in manufacturing.

Each year IoT becomes more a part of our daily lives because these smart devices become smarter through the accumulation of data. It’s through these same features that we’re going to see more and smarter factory floors along with smart devices and consumer gadgets.

And the ability for devices to share newly acquired data between one another is only going to boost this process. The immediate benefit in the manufacturing sector is less waste and higher efficiency.

More than ever before, it will require marketing

This is where the talents of savvy marketers will come into play. Now that we know the definition and purpose of Industry 4.0, it’s time to look at how to leverage marketing to maximize its potential. This can be summed up in one word: education.

The goal for marketers in this brave new world of total technological networking is to allay the fears and anxieties of your target audience. Manufacturers who aren’t used to this level of integration between AI, data sets, and machines are likely apprehensive. Good content is going to be an effective tool at combating reluctance and hesitation. You’ll want to develop a comprehensive content marketing plan specifically for these purposes.

The goal of your content strategy, like any other marketing initiative, should be to answer questions and help your leads down the funnel. You can even utilize the same AI we’ve been discussing to help in this endeavor. If you integrate AI into your content management system (CMS) it will be able to more easily search and categorize content, as well as perform a deeper analysis of what you can improve upon.

Cybersecurity will play a big role

Part of allaying those fears manufacturers may have means marketers are going to have to address the 800-pound digital gorilla in the room: cybersecurity. With all this data being shared by autonomous machines, manufacturers are rightfully going to want to know if that data is secure. Is it at risk of cyber attacks?

Any marketing strategy is going to have to address this, making it clear that there’s a security plan in place that accounts for everything. This would include corporate security as well as product security, ensuring the digital supply chain is protected, maintaining trust in vendor processing, etc. Relying on a software solution for these purposes will be crucial.

Conclusion

Many manufacturers are investing in Industry 4.0 now for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the billions in savings that it’s projected to save the sector. Only time will tell if all the high hopes and predictions experts have for this phenomenon come true. One thing is clear, though: to reach its potential will require a major assist from today ’s marketers.