News & Insights

Proximity-Based Marketing With a Side of Beacon

Have you found yourself walking through a shopping center and a message from your favorite store or restaurant that's only steps away pops up on your phone? It's a little Big Brother-esque, but if the brand has the right data and is customizing the message personally to you, the experience can be as intimate as any via a mobile device. Sometimes, the experience can make you blush a little and think, "Awww, that's so sweet of PF Changs...they know I love egg rolls and sent me an offer to come in for free egg rolls."

Okay, so it may not be specific to egg rolls, but the way brands are employing new location-based mobile marketing strategies is pretty impressive when done right. It can also be annoying when done wrong. So, how do brands employ this new technology and collect and analyze data to deliver such personalized experiences and seize mobile moments that can help drive business and engagement? Brian Dunphy, SVP of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships at Gimbal (who will be speaking at the 2015 Integrated Marketing Forum), explains beacon technology and how he recommends brands get their feet wet in this new arena.

So first, what is beacon technology?

BD: Beacons are a micro-location technology that use Bluetooth Low Energy to constantly emit a signal, that can be detected by an enabled mobile device from 50 meters down to inches. Basically, once a mobile app with the proper software enabled comes into contact with a particular beacon, it then reaches out to the Cloud, which then delivers the pre-determined push notification associated with that beacon. Beacons come in a variety of form factors and power configurations and can be battery powered, powered by USB port, or even embedded in third party hardware such as smart light bulbs and Wi-Fi access points - this is interesting because beacons have typically been packaged as standalone hardware but are increasingly being added to other devices.

Additionally, when combined with macro-location capabilities such as geofencing, brands now have the ability to engage with customers throughout their digital journeys in the physical world. Geofences basically enable an application to trigger content to be pushed to a user after they have entered, dwelled-in or left a particular geolocation area of interest. Geofences are invisible location triggered perimeters that leverage GPS, WiFi and cell towers for location determination and can range in size from 50 meters to the size of a country.*

What steps do brands need to take to get in the game and employ proximity-based marketing?

BD: This is really dependent on the nature of a brand's business, what use cases they want to enable, and what business objectives they're trying to accomplish. While many leading brands and retailers have seen the value and are starting to do nationwide rollouts, others are still discovering the technology and trying to understand how it can best be utilized. First and foremost, brands need to make sure that location-based marketing makes sense for their consumers/potential consumers and that is part of a bigger, more integrated marketing strategy (this is where Rhythm can help!).

If this marketing strategy makes sense, then it's important for the brand to do their homework around proximity-based marketing. This means learning what the technology can and can’t do, and what sort of use cases are possible. Additionally, it is important to consult with a technology partner that can steer them with best practices and guide them with an all-in-one solution.

Can you share some successful proximity-based campaigns?

BD: Gimbal has worked on nationwide roll-outs with Apple Stores to powering the last two Super Bowls. Here are some case studies they recommend exploring:

What industries are seeing the most return/success with proximity-based marketing?

BD: Given the flexibility of beacons (and location-insights as a whole), a range of industries have begun adoption. Some of the most popular verticals include retail, entertainment venues, Out-of-Home advertising networks, municipalities and mobile apps. One of the interesting parts of location-based marketing (and experiences as a whole) is that it enables businesses to engage and understand their customers at particular places of interest and provide them with compelling and interesting content.

For an advertiser, this can mean sending a message when it is much more likely to be relevant (and hence, much more likely to be activated upon). For example, Gimbal recently did a campaign with a major brand retailer who was looking to engage end users with offers near their stores when they walked by outdoor advertising displays. Gimbal placed beacons in these displays and in the retailer’s stores. One of Gimbal’s app partners who had a retail-offer based application provided offers that were triggered off beacons in outdoor advertising displays. The results of this campaign: more than 21% open rate of offers delivered thru the app and more than 12% in-store visits from people who received the offer.

What will Gimbal be discussing at the 2015 Integrated Marketing Forum?

BD: Given the audience, we will focus on what our technology is doing for brands and retailers. In particular, we will touch on how location-intelligence and mobile engagements remove many of the real-world blind spots retailers currently have in their omnichannel strategies and how this deeper understanding fosters better relationships between retailers and consumers. We want attendees to leave with a few takeaways such as why location and proximity-based services are important, best practices to do it properly, and what to consider when determining their location partner. Gimbal will also share a number of real-world examples from deployments across sports and entertainment, retail and out-of-home advertising networks.

Register today for the 2015 Integrated Marketing Forum to get more insights around proximity-based marketing and other mobile marketing strategies. Learn more about Brian Dunphy and Gimbal.

* The Gimbal platform provides brands with both geofencing and beacon capabilities.