September 14 2015

It’s Time to Rethink our Use of Beacons

Those of us in the marketing game are a fickle bunch. We have a tendency to force ourselves to think out of the box, which is good, but we don’t often take a good look at where we land outside of the box. Is it soft, cool grass? Or are we landing on top of a fire ant hill?

The way QR codes were used when they were introduced, falls into the latter category. The idea is great: give customers the impression they’re treasure hunting, needing to uncover a mystery that could lead to them being an ‘insider’. Their miss-use (billboards, airplanes, subway stations, etc) resulted in a tool some people thought, simply didn’t work. Many customers found scanning the codes to be a hassle, would give up, and got to the point where seeing a QR code would give them a sour taste in their mouth.

That’s NOT something that you want your marketing to do.

Beacons arguably have the same potential. Right now they’re being used to shove coupons onto phones. The path that beacon technology currently is heading down is one that will lead to the messages being ignored, or even worse: seen as an annoyance.

But they have a promising future, once that point is realized. The first step that needs to be taken is to make the system one that simply works. When a customer sees a sign to check their phones for a special message, they should be able to pull out their phones and see that message. It’s a simple concept, but we aren’t quite there yet as the system currently requires a store app to be installed. To their credit, Facebook and Google are both working on ways to eliminate that hurdle and Samsung has built a platform that allows notifications to be sent without having an app.

The other issue that needs to be tackled is the content itself. Throwing coupons at the customer shouldn’t be all beacons are used for; They should be there to help the customer find deals, a completely different idea. If there is a better price on the stores website, perhaps suggest they check there for the convenience of home delivery. If there is another brand or a better selection elsewhere in the store, send them there and offer a coupon if the customer would like one. Messaging isn’t about spamming, it’s about providing relevant content that goes beyond coupons.

The proximity marketing options are endless, but need to be tackled before people see beacons as the next QR code misuse nightmare. Mobilozophy is working on that cutting edge of proximity marketing, developing new and innovative ways to use this groundbreaking technology.

Interested in proximity marketing? Our team can help bring great marketing to your customers, contact us today.


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