2014 has been a great year for marketers, especially with beacons bridging the gap between offline and online worlds faster than ever before. Over the past year we have seen a number of brands begin to dip their toes in proximity marketing by running beacon trials. And these beacon trials aren’t limited to the retail industry alone. Marketers across various verticals, such as museums, airports, casinos etc, are now betting on iBeacon technology to help enhance customer experience.
Beacon trials have also triggered a change in consumer behaviour. Contrary to common public opinion that most consumers consider beacons to be creepy primarily due to security and privacy concerns, a recent Placecast report revealed that 52% of U.S. consumers know what beacons are and find it to be a very appealing technology. With 73% of consumers reported to have agreed that they are more likely to purchase from a store that sends beacon-triggered content and offers, chances are that beacon marketing will be one of the most dominating marketing trends in the coming year.
In this post, we will take a look at 4 ways marketers can use beacons to their full potential in 2015:
1. Integrate their app with other third party apps
While 2014 saw many brands trying their best to implement contextual experiences, for them to make the most of it brands will have to look for relevance beyond their own doors. For example take the case of an airline app. Most travelers today are already using beacon powered mobile apps for on-the-go guidance, be it at the airport or destination hotel. However with the information is spread across multiple apps it accounts for bad user experience.
For example, with the KLM app, The James hotel app and the New Museum app, installed on his or her mobile, a traveler already has three different pieces of information to process. On the other hand, by integrating the airline app with a car-rental service, airlines can not only help travelers book airport transportation but also use traffic data to figure out when to leave.
Such contextual integrations with third party apps provide marketers with a huge opportunity to offer value to their end-users beyond just their service.
2. Say NO to beacon ad networks
Unaware of how to launch their own beacon campaigns, a number of brands are now turning to beacon ad networks as it provides them with an easier and convenient option of trying out beacons. However, one of the main problems posed by beacon ad networks is that of ownership. With the sole ownership of experience and content handed over to the network, brands lose the ability to personalize, learn from their consumers and enhance their brand value.
Therefore going ahead, it is best for brands to opt for a beacon strategy centered around their own beacon-enabled app as it will give them you full ownership of how they market, sell and manage their consumers.
3. Deploy beacons without Wi-Fi
One of the most frequently asked question by our customers is, “Do I opt for Wi-Fi or beacons? Or do I use both?”. This is one decision that solely depends on what brands wants to achieve using these technologies. And inspite of the differences between the two technologies, we have always said that they work best when used together.
However, with the recent introduction of Mesh beacons (also known as uBeacons) by Ubudu, brands are now empowered with the ability to interact with consumers in indoor venues that lack internet connection as well. These mesh beacons turn the current generation of location-broadcasting beacons into a two-way, net-connected network by utilizing the capabilities of Bluetooth Low Energy alone.
Another important factor is that these uBeacons can talk to other mesh beacons via Bluetooth. For example, merely connecting one of the mesh beacons to the Internet, enables the entire mesh network to communicate with the cloud. Additionally, it also allows mesh networks in all locations to be controlled via one browser-based dashboard.
4. Make the most of notification streams
With the advent of iOS8, Apple is following Android’s footsteps by making way for interactive notifications. This has helped raise the bar by taking notifications from being mere sign posts that take users to apps, to notification cards that contain both content and actions. Apps will now be able to raise alerts, information and offers to the notification stream of the mobile device and users will be able to take actions directly from the interface.
This is a huge opportunity for marketers as users today expect brands to offer a centralized experience where apps merely sit in the background and keep pushing relevant content forward. However, the challenge here is that there is very limited space to provide any meaningful experience. Going ahead marketers will have to get creative at paring down their message without diluting its impact allowing users to consume content and interact with them with ease.
Today, marketers all over are wondering on the best way to leverage this new proximity-detection technology to engage their customers better. If you are one among them, then our recent ebook ‘How to keep your Customers Happy using Beacons’, with a DIY tip sheet on how to plan effective beacon marketing campaigns, is sure to set you moving in the right direction.
If you are planning a beacon pilot, take a look at Beaconstac, that includes everything you need to get started. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!