We recently came across the story of a beacon marketing company in South America with what has to be the most aggressive strategy yet for getting new customers into their clients’ stores.  The client store placed beacons outside the door of their competitor’s entrance.  When customers approached that beacon they were prompted with messaging that offered a discount coupon from the client’s store at the other end of the mall.  But as soon as they were served the coupon a timer appeared in the app that counted down the seconds before the coupon would expire.  In order for the customer to take maximum advantage of the offer, they needed to turn around and go to the client’s store immediately.  The longer they took to get to the store, the lower the discount. 

 
Aggressive?  Possibly.  Effective?  The client store says they have never had a more successful campaign. While those kinds of guerilla tactics are probably not so tenable in most places, the concepts behind them certainly are.  MarketingProfs recently profiled several companies that are using beacons in some very creative, if not quite so aggressive ways.
 
Travel
“Miami International Airport recently launched an app that uses beacons to help consumers navigate the overwhelming terminals and find the correct gate for departure as the app sends them notifications on their mobile devices for restaurant and retail deals in the airport.”
 
Museums
“Recently, organizations such as the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C. and The Guggenheim in New York City have used the technology to enhance the museum-goer's experience. When a viewer approaches a piece, additional information about that painting, sculpture, or magazine cover is served directly to his or her phone. This beacon data isn't just used for educating customers; it also provides museum administrators with tracking data on where visitors spend most of their time.”
 
Grocery Stores
“McCormick & Co.'s Zatarain's use beacons to send shoppers grocery list reminders and loyalty points based on the context of the store from the food and spice brand. Imagine that, as you walk down the grocery aisle, a beacon serves you a recipe based on something you pinned to your Pinterest board and your location relevant to an ingredient in that recipe.”
 
Retail Stores
“Retailers like Macy's and Target are already seeing the benefits of implementing beacon technology. Beacons help these retailers recognize, reward, and get to know their best customers, increasing loyalty and, in turn, building a stronger relationship with them. The data collected on these shoppers also allows highly personalized and targeted offers, which will reinforce the loyalty programs mentioned above.”
 
Beacons have elevated marketers’ ability to finally deliver brand messaging in locationally relevant ways.  The sky is now the limit as to how far that new ability can be leveraged.  Yet marketers need to make sure that if they are going to invest in this capability, they need to commit to doing it well.  Otherwise, there is significant risk to turning off customers versus keeping them returning to your stores.

 

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