How Mobile Proximity Technology is Breaking Marketing Boundaries
Mobile marketing itself isn’t exactly new: apps and push notification have been widely available since 2009. SMS platforms and short codes continue to grow in popularity since their US debut in 2002, at times ranking alongside websites and email campaigns in importance. And QR codes have created their own chapter in the marketer’s playbook that make it easy to deliver highly specific information to interested individuals.
Billboards, email campaigns, and commercials still hold their relevance to some degree. But, these traditional “push” methods of print and digital advertising are shoved in front of too many un targeted eyes, hoping to catch some of the right people at the right time. That’s why many brands have shifted from generic marketing campaigns to creating personalized experiences that connect with consumers on an individual level. And it doesn’t get much more personal than mobile proximity marketing.
A Bird’s Eye View of Mobile Proximity Marketing
The triplicate “Location” mantra has served as the real estate professional’s catchphrase for decades, but now others industries are putting it to good use in crafting mobile proximity marketing and geofencing strategies. Simply put, it’s a way to market to mobile users based on their location. Marketing itself has evolved from a process to an art form, crafting an intricate collision of the right products for the right people at the right time, and that’s exactly what mobile proximity technology accomplishes. Here’s how it works:
1. A retailer enables a device to transmit messages via Bluetooth or Wifi to a user’s mobile when that user comes within a certain range of the point of interest, provided the user has opted in to receive such communications.
2. Users who have Bluetooth or Wi-Fi enabled on their smart phones will receive a notification of a special offer from the retailer when within store range, prompting them to seek more information. Or, they may see an ad pop up in an app that creates top of mind awareness.
3. If the user opts in, they can take advantage of whatever the special offer entails, such as a coupon or discount. If presented with an ad, the user might be compelled to take immediate action on the offer. Brands have also taken to geo-conquesting, recognizing when a user is at a competitor’s location and sending a tailored message to lure traffic away from the competition in hopes of earning the business themselves.
Sending personal messages when a prospect comes within range is digital gold for brick-and-mortar businesses. It’s not a standard email campaign that was also sent to thousands of other subscribers. It’s not a coupon available to everyone who took the time and ink to print it. It might not even be the same message other nearby store-mongers received. Instead, it delivers a personalized experience tailored to a person’s interests and buying habits that results in a higher likelihood that the offer won’t go unnoticed.
The Good, The Possibly Bad, and the Complicated
Never before has a single marketing channel provided such laser-focused capabilities as mobile proximity marketing. Whereas traditional print marketing relied on quantity, new digital methods like geofencing lets you focus on delivering quality, personalized messages. But while it sounds like a foolproof, no-brainer channel, there are a few caveats to consider:
A study from IBM concluded that 72% of customers will take action on an offer for a product or service that is within their immediate reach. Direct mail, email blasts, and billboards combined may never reach such an astonishing conversion rate. That gives even more hope for the success of a mobile proximity marketing channel. Brands are quickly realizing the shift from “push” to “pull” is becoming more and more crucial, and there’s no easier, cheaper way to pluck the low hanging fruit that’s already hanging in your vicinity.
The Possibly Bad
Remember when banner ads were all the rage? Nowadays, they tend to serve as website decor rather than useful forms of advertisement. The mobile marketing scene continues to evolve as mobile competition mounts and audiences discover how to block the ad waves. It’s been suggested that a person is exposed to at least 10,000 advertising messages in some form every day, and adding one more via geofencing technology might simply add to the clutter consumers have learned to ignore. In addition, once enough brands and businesses adopt proximity marketing technology, it transformed from innovation to commodity, and its effectiveness may go the way of the buffalo. That is, until something better, brighter, shinier technology takes its place. Isn’t that always the case?
Implementing a successful mobile proximity strategy is only half the battle: maintaining it, however, presents its own layers of complexity. A new marketing channel means an entire new set of metrics to measure, like engagement, redemption, frequency, and ROI. Find out the highest converting offers, the most engaged customers, and the most effective radius for sending your messages. To gain the most benefit, be prepared with fresh ways to entice and reward your customers – nobody wants to see the same stale offers they already rejected ten times. Above all else, make sure you’re adding value through your marketing, rather than intruding on their mobile social sphere.
What the Mobile Marketing Future Holds
Recent Thanksgiving and Black Friday splurging was fueled by mobile shopping – a record $1 billion in mobile spending. Consumers now rely on mobile devices as a shopping research tool for product reviews, price comparisons, and other pertinent information.
You will find more statistics at Statista
And with mobile wallet technology gaining ground, making instant purchases from a smart phone has never been more streamlined.
Bottom line: consumers’ habits are changing as quickly as the technology they’re using, and if a brand wants to remain relevant, they must be prepared to keep pace. Mobile proximity marketing has opened the floodgates for highly targeted marketing possibilities. Plenty of brands have long ago adopted proximity technology, such as Macy’s, Target, Best Buy, and Dunkin’ Donuts within their exclusive apps. But even so, it’s still not an overly used communication tool, which is great news for businesses who are interested in upping their marketing strategies.
A recent study indicates that early adopters of new technology are more likely to expect higher benefits, compared to the “me too” businesses who implement them as a last ditch effort to stay competitive. Getting started the earlier the better is crucial because, like email addresses, toll-free numbers, and websites, proximity marketing may well become par for the course in coming years.
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