Proximity marketing has opened new doors for local businesses looking for more direct relationships with their customers. The use of GPS, Cellular, WiFi, and other technologies has given these businesses the power to increase revenue, brand loyalty, and growth.
Some of the biggest brands, including Apple and Coca-Cola, have harnessed the power of proximity marketing. They are industry leaders and innovators in its implementation.
The Growth of Proximity Marketing
Proximity marketing allows your business to target a market within a geographical area. In use for a number of years, the basic paradigm has been established. However, it’s still growing as a marketing strategy, and businesses are developing new ways to make it work.
Proximity marketing is the distribution of content around your product, services, and brand experience. Your advertising messages are delivered to individuals in a given location using technologies aimed at a variety of devices.
Marketing in this manner can be done via a broadcast or by targeting specific devices in the area. The following are used to deliver and receive marketing messages:
- Mobile phones
- Bluetooth devices
- GPS for receiving localized communication
- Phones with Near Field Communication (NFC) that read RFID chips
Certain groups of people can also be targets for proximity marketing. Outside area codes in a location can segment tourists from locals, allowing your business to tailor your message accordingly.
The biggest obstacle for proximity marketing has been the difficulty in gaining interest from local businesses. Many don’t understand proximity marketing or the tools that are available to implement it effectively.
Marketing involves two elements: the business and the customer. Getting customers to accept proximity marketing isn’t as easy as businesses would like it to be.
What Businesses Need
Today’s local brick and mortar businesses need to rely on new ways to enrich the customer experience beyond the cash register.
Online retailers have made it difficult for local businesses to compete. These businesses are now turning to online technologies and trends to provide a unique experience that raises the level of customer service.
Ecommerce businesses track their customers using social login metrics and online cookies. Data like this gives them new insights and opportunities for backend sales and targeted marketing.
Now, local businesses are using those concepts in implementing their proximity marketing campaigns for similar results.
What Proximity Marketing Can Provide
You can never accurately predict the future of marketing, but the fundamental principles still hold true.
Communicating directly to your ideal customer—at the right time while answering the right questions—leads to increased conversion rates. Proximity marketing lets you reach those customers through an advertisement, display, or object.
Common advertising spaces on billboards, in stadiums, and at bus stops allow you to use NFC chips and beacons to create campaigns across a variety of channels. When done right, you can transform a single advertisement into an online retail portal for your business.
Implementing Proximity Marketing:
As a result of the changing needs of local businesses, usage of proximity marketing has evolved. The following are just a few ways that proximity marketing is being implemented in a variety of markets.
Businesses such as restaurants, coffee shops, and retail stores can benefit from their customers “checking in” across different social media platforms. But now, you can automate that process by reminding customers to “check in” on their devices when they enter your business or make a purchase.
Location check-ins can significantly increase your engagement with customers and allow your brand message to reach a wider audience.
You can use beacons to make promotions more interactive. Beacon technology allows you to detect and position consumers. It lets you target your message at the right moment (in time and consumer position) for the highest returns.
You can make your displays interactive and customized to the user. You’re no longer limited to traditional campaigns made at the point-of-sale. Your brand can now have a life span that extends beyond the initial sale to give your customers a more personalized experience.
Respond to Traffic In Real Time
Using heat maps, you can see how traffic moves within your business. In some cases, you might find that certain areas draw more people in, regardless of what products are on display.
You can use this data to position your products and displays in order to meet your sales and marketing objectives.
What You Need to Consider
Implementing proximity marketing strategies such as these requires some careful consideration. You need to look beyond the data to see your customers as the real people they are.
In today’s world of information security hackings and leaks, consumers are becoming more careful about with whom they share their information.
As a business, you want to implement proximity marketing in a way that is sensitive to people’s security concerns. The best way to do this is to ask for permission before sending out marketing messages that rely on their data.
You might also want to inform them of the benefits that they’ll receive from sharing personal information. Benefits include a customized experience, better service, and special offers.
Consider that consumers are now more mobile than ever. Mobile freedom means that your messaging should fit in with the time and space restrictions of mobile use.
If you’re providing high-quality content, it will be useless if it’s too large for a given mobile format. You will need to consider breaking up your messages into smaller pieces to take into consideration screen sizes and platform limitations.
The Future of Proximity Marketing
Proximity marketing has an uncertain future. Many see the concerns over privacy and the difficulties in implementing new technologies across industries as major roadblocks to its widespread acceptance.
But others see it as a step towards a new world where the sales experience will become more personalized, efficient, and effective than traditional marketing approaches.
Only time will tell what proximity marketing will bring to local brick and mortar businesses. In the meantime, you can begin to use these tools to gain more insight into your customers, brand, and the value you provide to your local market.
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