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The Disadvantages of Using Beacons for Proximity Marketing

4 minute read - Posted by Daniel Wagstaff on Nov 12, 2018 12:23:23 PM

Proximity marketing is one of the most popular marketing techniques of the past years, and its increase in popularity has attracted not only the attention of marketers and industry professionals, but also that of organizations and customers from all over the world, as the services it provides are modern, intuitive, highly-efficient, and in most cases, cost-friendly. With proximity marketing, customers get a personalized and fruitful relationship with their favorite brands, and companies increase their sales, boost marketing ROI, and achieve excellent results in terms of brand loyalty.

Providing targeting messages to customers while they visit a store has been the main use of proximity marketing, but the solution is also used for restaurants, museums, and many other industries. One of the means in which it can be implemented is through the use of Bluetooth beacons, which we are going to discuss further.

What is Bluetooth Beacon-Based Proximity Marketing?

Established in 2013, Bluetooth beacon technology was initially seen as a marvelous innovation for all things related to proximity marketing but as time passed, and more and more businesses turned to it, its limitations became visible. A Bluetooth beacon connection requires the use of two devices, a beacon and a mobile phone with enabled Bluetooth technology, thus sending information such as promotional messages, sales codes, and more. This technology was embraced by companies and marketers with the expectation that due to its popularity, beacons prices would drop significantly, yet that didn’t happen exactly according to hope. But is cost the only problem with Bluetooth beacon-based proximity marketing.

The Disadvantages of Using Beacons for Proximity Marketing

When implementing a digital marketing strategy, such as text message marketing or proximity marketing, companies expect their investment to pay off by achieving their goals. Whether you are interested in gaining more customers, keeping the ones you have, developing brand loyalty, or getting people interested in a new product or service, digital marketing is a strategy no companies should overlook. Proximity marketing goes one step further than most digital marketing strategies, and deepens the brand-customer relationship, which is why you need to make an informed decision when implementing it. Today, we will go over some of the disadvantages of using beacons for proximity marketing and why it is important to invest your money wisely when it comes to technologies, platform and solutions for proximity marketing.

Beacons Do Not Work on Their Own

Although beacon notifications usually come installed in the operating system of most smartphone, customers will still require to have an application on their phones for catching the signal emitted by the beacon. This requires a much more complicated interaction from a customer than simply consenting to messages when logging in a Wi-Fi hotspot, for example. Not being self-reliant, beacons will always be a hassle to manage, regardless of the industry in which you are implementing them.

Tracking Movement is Not Simple

A beacon can only track the movement of customers when they have their mobile device with them and switched on, have the application installed and with permissions already enabled, and also have their Bluetooth and Wi-Fi options enabled. Therefore, beacon-based proximity marketing is not as intuitive as it was expected to be, and it is difficult to gather information on customer movement, and send messages based on it.

Beacons are Not Cost-Efficient

Because we are talking about a technology that is still not as affordable as it was foreseen, it is difficult to speak of beacons in terms of covering all the needs and goals of a business. Oftentimes companies have to limit their implementation and use of beacons due to budgetary restrictions, thus making it harder for the beacon-based proximity marketing solution to function as needed. As beacons do not provide a highly accurate location coverage, you might need to install more for the results to be closer to what you expected, yet that costs more money.

The Matter of Trust and Security Limitations

Proximity marketing needs to be safe, secure, and trustworthy. By having a beacon zone, you are automatically logging in and accessing your customers’ preferences and information, and not all of them are comfortable with that. Also, given the fact that beacon signals are easy to duplicate, that makes the customer vulnerable to spoofing.

Bluetooth is Not Battery-Friendly

Having a mobile phone with an enabled Bluetooth connection is not at all battery-friendly, and very few customers agree to keep their Bluetooth activated in order to connect with beacons from their favorite brands. Since there isn’t a precise way of knowing where a beacon is located, you can’t turn your Bluetooth on and off depending on whether you are near a beacon or not, thus making it rather difficult for people to engage with this technology on-the-go and not run out of battery before the end of the day.

Beacons Don’t Offer a Lot of Analyzable Data

When you conduct a marketing campaign, you need to gather and analyze all the data related to it, in order to improve it as you go, or draft better campaigns in the future. Without a clear way of offering analyzable data, beacon-based proximity marketing is not at all helpful when it comes to providing marketers with data and information upon which to improve themselves.

Is there a better alternative to beacon-based proximity marketing?

The main goal of everyone interested in utilizing proximity marketing is finding a solution that will allow them to provide customers with a personalized experience, one that will make them return, talk about the brand, and interact with it more. Yet this needs to also be simple and seamlessly implemented, which is why Bluetooth beacons are not exactly the go-to solutions for proximity marketing anymore. More and more companies and marketers are turning to Wi-Fi-based solutions, as in this case, all you need is your local Wi-Fi network, and having the customer consent by logging in through a web page. No additional application, no complicated and costly hardware.

Regardless of what your needs for proximity marketing are, finding a solution that is easy to implement, cheap, and offers your customers a great experience should be a priority, which is why, before deciding on what to implement, you need to have all the facts about what the industry currently has to offer in terms of technologies for proximity marketing.

Topics: proximity marketing