Proximity Marketing: An Introduction

Get your message where it’s needed

“Location, location, location.”  You know this (these) as the famous three words of real estate.  Yet, could they be the three words of marketing?  Your customers see only too much information and have a hard time keeping track of it all.  Even if your message is appealing, they may have a hard time remembering it exactly when, how, and where you’d like.  What if you could send marketing messages about your baked goods to a customer when he’s in a grocery store that sells them?  It’s actually possible to do so via a method called “proximity marketing.”

Proximity marketing sends messages to your opted-in customers when they enter a particular area, simulating a superhero capability, letting the customer know you’re sending out Bat signals, but not when they’re picnicking by the lake or attending church.

To perform such wonders, you transmit signals with wifi or Bluetooth networks.  These interact with NFC-capable smartphones and GPS systems.

Marketing Specialist Carla Dawson explains how a brick-and-mortar store can use the technology to get the most information about its customers and their interaction with the physical place.  The store sets up beacons with the technologies described above.  This allows them to determine which spots in the store don’t get visits, what are favorite spots of customers, where a particular customer is at a particular time, etc.

Here’s an example of a retailer reaching into a store to catch its customers at precisely the right time.  Red Bull placed digital signage in stores throughout Canada.  The signs asked customers to enable the Bluetooth on their phones in order to receive 2 for $4 coupons.  The proximity marketing technology then allowed those enabling Bluetooth to have the coupons placed on their phones.  These signs were placed near registers and other strategic places.  This creates what Alex Romanov, President/CEO of iSign Media calls “a richer experience for the customer.”

Another example comes from Pot Noodle, which created a branded game for users to play, placing calls to download it on subway trains in London.  The campaign drew in 95K downloads, more than the company anticipated.

Giorgos Saslis, writing for mobile-marketing says, “consumers are just so open to marketing on the train/tube/bus because they’re sat (sic) idle, usually with little do—and turn to their phone for entertainment anyway.  So why not interact with them through it there and then!?”

Here’s a creative use: TenTen Technologies of Japan created a rewards program fueled by proximity marketing technologies—beacons to be exact—which give rewards to users of its mobile app when they use certain vending machines.

Is proximity marketing the wave of the future, and will it be ubiquitous in a year or two?  That’s up to you, brave entrepreneur.  It’s up to you.