Proximity marketing exploits activities that consumers are already involved with — and enjoy — to offer retailers a new path to reach their audiences, affording a higher level of interactivity that didn’t exist before. Proximity marketing expands the scope of interactive marketing in public places — malls, food courts, cinemas, airports, etc. — to offer a more spontaneous and direct interaction. Think of it as taking location-based marketing to an even greater level of “local,” and being contextually relevant in absolute terms. Proximity marketing allows retailers to leverage their strengths and create an even more memorable interaction for consumers and, by extension, motivate return visits and increase ROI.
Bluetooth is the predominant for of Proximity Marketing consumers will be engaged through their mobile devices within a defined range (300 ft max. radius), so it is ideal for malls, department stores, retail outlets and locations with pass-by-foot traffic.
Unfortunately Bluetooth Proximity systems cannot connect with iphones as they do not support the OBEX Push Bluetooth profile. This limitation means that existing Bluetooth marketing systems cannot deliver content to the iPhone which makes up approximately 4% of the EU5 (U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Italy) mobile phone market. While the overall penetration of iPhones is relatively low, the consumers who own and use the iPhone are the prime target audience for many advertisers and brands.
Wi fi proximity systems allow you to reach iphone and other phones via captive portal technology to deliver proximity advertising via internet connected servers., special software is required to connect as phones often will not connect to non internet based systems.
GPS based systems allow you to deliver messages with geo fenced areas, giving you high targetability within specified co-ordinates.
The latest technology is Apple iBeacon. iBeacon is Apple’s implementation of Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) wireless technology to create a different way of providing location-based information and services to iPhones and other iOS devices. iBeacon arrived in iOS7, which means it works with iPhone 4s or later, iPad (third generation and onwards) iPad mini and iPod touch (fifth generation or later). It’s worth noting the same BLE technology is also compatible with Android 4.3. and above.
How does it work?
The beacons themselvers are small, cheap Bluetooth transmitters. Apps installed on your iPhone listen out for the signal transmitted by these beacons and respond accordingly when the phone comes into range.
For example, if you pass a beacon in a shop, the retailer’s app (assuming you have it installed) could display a special offer alert for you. On a visit to a museum, the museum’s app would provide information about the closest display, using your distance from beacons placed near exhibits to work out your position. As such iBeacon could be a much better option for in-door mapping – which GPS struggles with.
The biggest problem with Proximity Marketing is consumer relecutance to accept messages from unknown sources, to overcome this promotions need to reflect the fact that Proximity Marketing is being used and consumer benefit clearly demonstrated.