Modern times have brought us a wide array of solutions and innovations when it comes to marketing. If many years ago marketing was something companies would allocate a small budget for, knowing they might never recover their investments as the means of implementation were few and not always effective, nowadays, marketing stands proudly at the top of any investor’s list of priorities. With the technological advance, the industry has become mainly focused on digital marketing, branch which has seen significant changes in 2018. Text message marketing has taken the industry by storm, and strategies such as paid search marketing or online PR have been left behind by more modern ones such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.
One of the biggest changes to happen in the marketing industry, in part due to the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning, has been the appearance of proximity marketing. This new marketing method goes one step beyond what simple location-based marketing could do, and significantly improves a organizations’ changes of boosting marketing ROI. But what exactly is proximity marketing and what can it do for your business?
Essential Aspects of Proximity Marketing
The main idea behind proximity marketing is the ability to communicate with customers at the right time, and in the right place, by sending a personalized and relevant message based on their proximity or on the actions they are performing in your business’ location. Technologies employed by proximity marketing have managed to provide the corporate environment with a solution for the significant problem of how to bring the offline and online together. With the increase of online commerce, brick-and-mortar store where seeing a loss in sales and in visits from customers, yet proximity marketing has managed to change that by turning them into more than shelves for products. In fact, nowadays, for some industries, it might be more interesting to go to a store and take part in a personalized shopping experience that will not only provide you with special offers, but also make the whole process a lot more fun and custom-tailored to your needs.
How does proximity marketing actually work?
Proximity marketing refers to any marketing strategy using location-based techniques to communicate with customers in a manner that offers more than a simple targeting of customers within a specific radius. Proximity marketing can involve distribution of media, broadcasting of messages related to events, sales, personalized programs, loyalty programs, and more. You can implement proximity marketing strategies in your store to attract more customers and to provide your existing ones with an experience tailored based on demographics, purchasing patterns, and any other data you have gathered from your customers. And because it involved messages delivered to a mobile device it means you will have the previous consent of your customers so it is a simple and effective way of developing a strong relationship with anyone interested in your brand, products, or services. Nowadays, customers are looking more and more for personalized experiences that will either help then save time or improve the way they are conducting their shopping. Proximity marketing helps you do. You can use it to host events, promote new products, gather feedback which you can later analyze and implement in your marketing strategies, and more.
Methods of Implementing Proximity Marketing
There are several ways in which proximity marketing can be implemented in a location in order to help you communicate with your customers. A business can apply proximity marketing through solutions such as:
Near-field communication systems can help determine the location of a mobile phone which has its NFC function enabled. Although this is mainly a technology used by companies working with paying technologies, it can be used for other things such as providing information. For example, retail stores can use NFC-based systems to provide information on shelves about a product.
Introduced in 2003, RFID is a system that helps a store track product movement and perform inventory. Although at the time it has been seen as something that might revolutionize the world of marketing, proximity marketing based on RFID is not an optimal solution as implementing it is costly, and cannot offer information based on location or other factors.
Geofencing marketing relies on the fact that as a mobile phone moves, its connection is processed by different telecommunication towers. That way, you can use Geofencing to send a message to mobile phones in a certain area, yet this too has limited utilization when it comes to proximity marketing.
Bluetooth beacons proximity marketing is a relatively popular marketing solution, yet is requires additional hardware and it is not as cost-efficient as a Wi-Fi based solution. It works by utilizing beacons that will connect to a mobile phone through a mobile application, upon the consent of the customer. Content and information can then be pushed through Bluetooth. This is not a very customer-friendly solution, as having the Bluetooth activated at all times can decrease battery life, but also put the customer at risk due to privacy issues.
Wi-Fi did not start out as a traditional proximity marketing solution, yet today it is one of the most significant and cost-effective solutions as it is easy to implement, does not require additional hardware or complicated platforms/applications. Wi-Fi-based proximity marketing works by having the customer log into a hotspot via login page. It is a quick and affordable option that can help you boost sales, collect customer data effortlessly, encourage return visits, and develop brand loyalty.
Making the most of proximity marketing requires you to be up-to-date with new evolutions and developments in the industry, understand the advantages and disadvantages of all implementation methods, and draft a strategy based on customer demographic and your business’ goals and objectives. The demand for proximity marketing based solutions is growing strong, regardless of industry, from retail to restaurant or entertainment, customers need to better interact with the brand they love. The organizations which can provide them with such an interaction, based on best practices and utilizing modern solutions will have a lot to gain in the coming years.