by UFSocial contributor Joshua Schery
Today there are many opportunities for proximity marketing because the barrier to entry is much less expensive than years past. Many large companies will create their own beacon app, which assuredly will be very effective. However, the good news for small businesses is that with new beacon apps that are not brand specific, a small business can have a beacon-marketing plan of its own. Today there are many apps; some are for a particular store, whereas others are apps that are non-store specific.
A non-exhaustive list includes:
- Google Nearby
- Rite Aid
To put it in the most basic terms, proximity marketing is the process of advertising to specific customers based upon their current location.
The premise of proximity marketing is that through select apps (see list above). A potential customer’s cellular device uses a Bluetooth app, which turns their phone into a beacon for the companies that are within range. Once a store recognizes the beacon, it will send a message asking for the customers’ permission to communicate with said customers’ device. If the customer allows for notifications, the company will then send an advertisement to the potential customer. The unique aspect of proximity marketing is that it is based solely upon the exact, current, location. If a company can see your beacon, it means that the customer is near the storefront that would advertise to said client
The benefits to proximity marketing are still growing. However, this budding technology is proving itself to be useful for large businesses and small business alike. The key advantage is that it eliminates waste. Often a marketing manager will not know what part of the marketing plan was the most effective. However, what is known is that reaching customers that cannot use your service is wasted time and money. With proximity marketing, your business can set the marketing efforts on strict parameters. Namely, reaching only the customers in a particular geographic area. There are many other benefits. One is that customers are often looking at their phones and therefore when a push advertisement goes through, it will most likely be seen. With the beacons, your company is afforded a direct connection to the customers, and this allows for a conversation with that customer. This conversation creates a personal relevance like no other marketing gimmick could. In fact, since many customers make purchase decisions within the store, this is the perfect time to reach them.
I can speak from experience when I say there are times in which proximity marketing has worked on me. For example, I use to be loyal to Old Navy jeans. However, there was a time when I was trying to buy new jeans from Old Navy, on that day I was getting ready to settle for a few pair of jeans that I did not like. While inside Old Navy I was checking my phone for an important email, and it was at that moment that I received an ad from JCPenny. The advertisement showed a significant percent off regular price and it inspired me to take a look at what JCP had to offer. In the end I bought my jeans from JCP, where I have bought my jeans ever since. All it took to convert me to a paying customer was one ad, which shows just how powerful the beacon app can be.
With this new trend of proximity marketing, many are left to ponder what impact wearable tech will have on this new trend? I’m sure in the near future there will be countless forms of wearable tech used for proximity marketing. However, currently there are three popular forms of wearable tech that are being discussed.
The first item is the Apple Watch. One of the most popular tools for which the Apple watch is used is the health warning system. That system trains the people wearing the Apple watch to look at it consistently throughout the day. The Apple Watch is not designed like previous watches, in that it was not designed to “go away.” For the Apple watch to work efficiently the customer must be reminded that they have it on their wrist. Because of the health ring system the customers now have a beacon system on their wrist, as opposed to their pocket. It is not uncommon for many customers to put a phone on silent and temporarily miss a message, only to get marketing messages hours later. However, with the ding and vibration of their wrist, the customer is likely to get the message in a timeframe that is beneficial for the customer and store.
The second item is the Fin Ring. The Fin Ring turns a user’s palm into a mouse pad. While this device is new and far less common than the Apple Watch, if there was a beacon app created, the Fin Ring could be used to reach consumers on a consistent basis
The third item discussed is the Lineable Bracelet. Currently this device is a beacon app bracelet that is marketed to parents of young children, as a way to keep a location device on their children. However, with advancing technology, it is a near certainty that if the Lineable Bracelet becomes a popular seller, then marketing apps will surely follow.
Wearables will have a significant influence on the proximity-based advertising. The aforementioned tech accessories create a digital presence like never before. Now the customer is allowing technology into their lives at all times of the day. Not only will this allow for easier access to the customer, it will make the customer more open to the idea of being marketed to as well, because in reality, that is part of the reason for the new wearable tech.
For local/small businesses proximity marketing allows for a short, and targeted marketing structure. One of the first things to do is decide on an initial marketing plan, the next step is to then set up an iBeacon system.
Once a marketing plan has been determined, the iBeacon device should be put on all company trucks, and at the office. In doing so, anyone in the vicinity of the company logo would be reminded of the brand and updates, allowing for greater market presence. Geofencing is another interesting strategy, in that it allows a company to set up a predetermined area in which potential customers will receive an advertisement. The best way for a company such as Destiny Electric to utilize geo-fencing would be to geo-locate customers at the company’s that Destiny Electric works with the most. For example, River Oak Realty is a company that contracts Destiny to handle all service calls for their rental homes. Destiny can now geo-fence River Oak Realty so that all customers shopping for (and hopefully purchasing) new homes will get Destiny’s contact info, even before they move into their new home.
It is important to note that today customers are (slightly) more open to being marketed. However, said marketing must be relevant so that it does not waste the customer’s time. That is the problem that proximity marketing will hopefully solve. In the future, it appears that proximity marketing will lead to more accurate and higher quality marketing with less money and time wasted.