September 24 2015

Why Proximity Marketing Is Boosting Retail Profits

Lately there have been more and more job boards with posts announcing that a company needs a “proximity marketing director” or a “proximity marketing manager.” Companies aren’t just suddenly interested in proximity marketing positions for the fun of it. Proximity marketing has turned into a significant force in retail performance, and companies want a piece of the action.

There’s an especially enlightening article from Forbes about proximity marketing, dated October 2014, that still feels relevant today even though it’s almost a year old. The writer Greg Petro, a former executive for First Insight, nails it when he explained how, for decades, marketing experts have said there are four P’s in marketing — Product, Price, Promotion, and Placement — but proximity marketing is now adding a fifth P to that age-old mantra.

That’s a bold claim, but the numbers support it. We’ll get to that in a moment, but first there is something that needs clarification.

Unfortunately, in the article, when he explains how beacons work he describes it in a way that implies that beacons contain content and send the content to mobile phones. He’s unintentionally promoting one of the major myths of beacons.

What Beacons Actually Do (And What They Definitely Do Not Do)

Beacons are not equipped in any way to store and send the actual marketing content. They’re digital trip-wires. They’re triggers. Using Low-power Bluetooth technology, they can only send identifier signals that trigger pre-programmed actions within the app that corresponds to the store. Unless the customer has willingly downloaded the store’s app that has been set up to work with its beacons, the beacons will do nothing — zero, nada, zilch — to the consumer’s mobile phone. It’s much less invasive than people think.

But what Petro does get right is that the consumers love proximity marketing. That’s why companies are clamoring to hire proximity marketing people. Consumers want more of it. The numbers, even dating back to October 2014 when Petro published his article, were strongly supporting this truth. Here are the statistics from his article:

According to JiWire, the facts are clear as it relates to the value of Proximity Marketing:

  • 53% of consumers are willing to share their current location to receive more relevant advertising.
  • 57% of consumers are more likely to engage with location-based advertising.
  • 62% of consumers share local deals with friends.
  • 63% of consumers feel a coupon is the most valuable form of mobile marketing.

Proximity Marketing Isn’t Complicated

In an age when digital marketing has grown into this vast labyrinth of complicated strategy and specialized knowledge — a field of study that has created master degrees at universities — it’s refreshing to see how, really, it’s still the simple things that work. Today’s marketers use a variety of marketing strategies paired with complicated automation software and fine-tuned CRM systems — all complementing, of course.

Or maybe just give the customer a coupon?

Sometimes it’s as simple as that. That’s the beauty of proximity marketing in a nutshell: it’s taking the most popular marketing techniques of all time — i.e. coupons — and pairing them with the mobile technology that people use in a way that’s extremely timely and relevant for the customer.

That’s why proximity marketing is becoming so in demand. It’s not complicated. It’s about providing simple, yet effective content to consumers, at the right time.


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