Technology is always evolving and new channels for communication are constantly springing up. One thing is evident for sure: Change will always be constant when it comes to technological advancements. In regards to technology and communication marketing, Alex Romanov, CEO of iSIGN Media, summed it up best, "Print ads in newspapers, radio ads, television commercials and direct mail flyers are still prominent in the advertising toolbox, but electronic communication channels have opened up new avenues for messaging, including web ads and email campaigns." In almost all Integrated Marketing Campaign, we will always see ads via the traditional marketing channels like Newspapers, TV, Radio and mail, but the invention of the Smartphone has caused many Brands & Companies to think outside of the box and come up with creative strategies to market to their target audience via the sole medium that more than half of Americans own: a Smartphone. Most of us eat, live, sleep, and breath through our Smartphone; Companies and Brands know this and they are using this knowledge to create more personalized ads in order to get our attention. Technological advancements and marketing through email and Smartphones have led to what we now know as Proximity Marketing which "merges the physical and digital domains by using mobile devices to reach consumers at the greatest point of influence, providing bargains for shoppers and increased sales and consumer insights for retailers". So basically this is what happens: when we become within a certain range of a store, restaurant or business, a message is sent to that Business via a transmitter and then we are sent an alert about an offer/promotion/deal at that particular store. Sounds cool right?
I've been a target of Proximity Marketing by several establishments through a GPS app I use called Waze. I love to travel but I am horrible with directions, I have an out-dated TOM-TOM that takes too long to upload, I don't like Apple's GPS system nor do I like Google Maps, and I don't have the time or patient to print out directions from Mapquest or even worse buy a map at a convenience store. To say the least, technology has spoiled me and Waze is definitely my #1 choice when it comes to navigating across the country. Not only does the app provide me with multiple routes to my destinations, it also provides me with information regarding wrecks, police stops, and traffic jams. If you think the app is solely focused on navigation, you're wrong: it is an integral part of many Brands' & Companies' Proximity Marketing Campaign. Waze's VP of Platforms & Partnerships, Di-Ann Eisnor, said the company rolled out their ad/marketing platform for Brands & Companies to take advantage of because Waze "want to make things efficient for our Wazers to find the things they need". In analyzing their data from their users, "Waze found that 80 percent of its 30 million users stop for groceries on the way home from work multiple times per month; Waze uses that insight to enable a supermarket to promote a coupon to those users when they're leaving work at the end of the day." It is a great way for Companies & Brands to reach out to a wider range of an audience in real-time as well as based on location. Several Brands like Best Buy, Taco Bell, Home Depot, & Target have taken advantage of Waze's ad platform by running "promotions within the app that pop up while users are setting their routes alerting drivers to a nearby store and dangling a coupon to get them there. Drivers can then click the ad to navigate to that store, letting Waze report back to the advertiser how much foot traffic their ads drove and how many coupons were redeemed." I'm always targeted by ads from several companies via Waze. While I'm not too fond of advertisements (especially when I'm in a rush or focused to get somewhere), I must say I have personally benefited from Brands utilizing proximity marketing through Waze when I am traveling and I'm hungry! I can't explain how many times the offers/promotions that Fast Food Restaurants place on Waze have contributed to making my tummy happy.
Aside from fulfilling my hunger craves, proximity marketing has several benefits for both consumers and Brands. While I don't use traditional more popular channels like Foursquare, Facebook Check-in, or yelp, I definitely see how everyone benefits in the end from all of this proximity marketing apps.
We benefit as consumers by receiving promotional offers and deals from companies, restaurants, & businesses that we are actually interested in. Not only do we get awesome bargains, but some of these channels like Foursquare offer personalized discounts based on how much we frequent a particular location. Who doesn't like customized offers specifically for them? It lets us know our business is appreciated and reinforces our loyalty to those companies and Brands. One of my favorite benefits from proximity marketing is its' ability to reduce clutter. I purposefully avoid my emails sometimes because I know I am bombarded by so many ads from brands/companies. Even though I like those Brands/Companies it is extremely annoying when they send multiple messages throughout the day that just clutters my email--I don't have this problem when I use proximity marketing apps like Waze and I love it. If I don't want to take advantage of an offer, I just decline it and keep it moving.
There are several advantages for Companies/Brands in utilizing proximity marketing that actually give them the upper-hand over their consumers. Proximity Marketing allows for Companies/Brands to:
- adjust their marketing strategies in real-time as inventory fluctuates
- gain insight into customer preferences
- obtain data regarding consumer buying habits
- obtain data regarding the effectiveness of proximity marketing messages
- market to consumers (both loyal and new) in real-time, based on location in an extremely cheap, inexpensive way which in the end yields higher monetary returns
- drive traffic based on location--which is instrumental in creating customized messages
Nobody loses by using proximity marketing. Incorporating proximity marketing into an Integrated Marketing Campaign should definitely be seen as a necessity in these times and those companies who are having second-thoughts and consider it a "risk" should know that it is definitely a risk worth taking. I don't foresee any of us getting rid of our smartphones anytime soon and with inventions like the Samsung Gear Smartwatch-- which comes "preloaded with more than 60 apps, including a step-counting pedometer and S Voice, a voice-activated app akin to Apple's Siri" and allows "users to read messages, check the weather and take photos on the smartwatch, which will be synchronized to the smartphone" --it looks like companies need to start coming up with more creative proximity marketing campaigns that will be compatible with watches as well. This will definitely open up more doors for Companies and Brands who are searching for more ways to constantly reach out to their consumers.....it doesn't get any better than combining time, location, and a consumers' interest in one carefully crafted marketing message. Almost psychic.....