According to new report by Forbes Insights titled ‘Location: A Strategic Marketing Imperative’, location-based mobile advertising is fast becoming a competitive differentiator. Not surprising, given the extent to which location data is currently changing how people shop, eat, date and travel. As a result, shoppers now expect in-the-moment, personalized, relevant experiences from their favourite brands.
While location-based technology has always been primarily used by marketers to target consumers with sales and discounted offers, of recent we have seen brands leverage physical context components to enable a faster, more seamless purchase process. On this front, 63% of marketers said they are planning to invest in Wi-Fi, and 41% said they are looking to invest in beacons in 2016, according to a recent report by Location Based Marketing Association.
But in practise, contextual marketing – the science of delivering the right content to the right customer at the right moment, is a lot more complicated at a local level. Particularly because users assume different personas based on where they are and what they are doing.
For example, when a user is travelling to Italy with his family for the holidays, he/she is probably in ‘Family Mode.’ On the other hand, if he/she is travelling to Italy for work, he/she will probably be in ‘Professional Mode.’ The kind of advertisements and messaging that he/she will be open to or will probably respond to, will clearly vary based on the kind of mode he/she is in. Utilizing this dynamic nature of a user’s persona to come up with relevant messaging that the user could be targeted with at his/her moment of truth, is something that most marketers are yet to master.
In this blog we will discuss in detail about some of the contextual triggers that brands must definitely use to make the most of proximity marketing going ahead. We will also discuss how some of leading brands and businesses are leveraging these contextual triggers in the most innovative ways.
1. When you are searching:
You’ve probably heard about micro-moments, a term created by Google in 2015 to dramatize the impact of mobile on our search behaviors. Micro-moments are moments when consumers use their mobile devices to decide where to go, what to do, and what to buy. And one of the aspects that matter the most, when it comes to these micro-moments is time.
For example, in the morning, a user is more likely to be looking for “coffee near me,” while in the evening, they are more likely to be looking for “snacks near me.” By taking this contextual trigger into consideration, restaurants can address both those needs by customizing their suggestions for coffee and food accordingly to the time of the day.
One of the leading technologies that is currently being leveraged by brands to put the ‘when you are searching’ contextual trigger to best use is iBeacon technology. For example, Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner recently used predictive mobile advertising based on beacon data in Q1 2016 to target shoppers who were due for a shopping trip as indicated by their weekly store visit habits.
The beacon campaign used beacon data from users across a number of shopping related apps to predict when shoppers were due for their next store visit. This insightful data helped brands reach out to their consumers immediately before a shopping trip, when they are more likely to be receptive than if they were to receive an offer soon after a trip to the store. The campaign was quite successful and resulted in 55% average brand awareness, 25.3% post-engagement purchase intent and 3.2 times the expected return-on-investment.
2. Where you are:
For long, businesses that operate at multiple locations have looked at customizing offers based on location as one of their go-to marketing tactics. For example, a department store chain with outlets in Seattle and Manhattan must customize its location-based and seasonal specials to the preferences of these two different markets to drive sales, and even more so across urban and suburban areas.
But as mobile devices and wearables started to empower consumers, the exact location of the user started to play a critical role in contextual marketing. Keeping this in mind, quite a few companies have come with new ways in which brands could put this contextual trigger to use.
For example, Skyhook, a leader in location-based technology recently launched a new SDK aimed at making location-based services embedded in wearables more of a reality. Up until now, most wearables have always relied on a more powerful surrogate, typically a smartphone that it could link to for location purposes. But with this new SDK, Skyhook has reduced the size of the code to the point that it can now be built directly into a wearable’s firmware and placed on the tiny chip inside the gadget.
Using this technology, a fitness tracker that generally relies on the smartphone to track where you ran, can now track your location all by itself. You can easily log on to your account and get that information directly from the device now.
A good example of a business that is putting this contextual trigger to good use is ‘Bonnaroo Music Festival’. While most events typically use beacons to push messages about upcoming talks or other offers, Bonnaroo Music Festival leveraged beacons to push exact contextually relevant (the contextual trigger being exact location of the user) messages to visitors. For example, if an attendee walked by one of the free hydration stations, they would receive a message asking if their water bottle was filled up and that if not, they could fill it up at the nearby station.
3. Who you are:
I had hinted at the “who” of contextual marketing with the travel example that I mentioned earlier. Gaining deep understanding of who your user is, involves a lot more than understanding the various personas of a user. Contextual marketers can also target users with different content based on what they know about the lifestyle stage of these users.
A good example of a brand that is putting this contextual trigger to good use is ‘Under Armour’. The brand is currently using data collected from wearables to make its entire product line more relevant to customers as their fitness levels or lifestyles change. Keeping this in mind, the brand even offers a wide variety of products , right from fitness products for active users to health-management solutions for customers who are more conscious of managing their health proactively, which typically happens as you grow older or get more fit. In short, Under Armour is one of the brands that has almost nailed persona-based marketing.
Another leading technology that allows brands to target users exceptionally well based on the ‘who you are’ contextual trigger are beacons. For example, say, Nicole purchased a lemon yellow shirt at your retail store outlet located in New York. Now, a week later, you can send out an offer (via a mobile app push notification) about a brown trouser that’ll go along with that shirt. You can set the offer up such that a mobile notification is triggered when she passes by your brick-and-mortar store. Sending such contextually relevant messages raises your chance of getting your customer to visit your store, and eventually buy them.
How to get started with Contextual Marketing
Given the complex nature of context, here are a few things that businesses could do with beacons:
(i) Use beacons to change the content you push based on the change in context. The Beaconstac platform, for example, allows businesses to set up the Eddystone beacons to transmit two different URLs (also called rotating URLs) based on rules set by them. For example, using the Beaconstac Eddystone beacons, a restaurant can push different menus to visitors based on time of the day – breakfast menu from morning 9am to 12pm and lunch menu from 12.30 pm to 3.30 pm.
(ii) When it comes to contextual marketing, you need to ensure that your content is closely tied to an accurate latitudinal/longitudinal coordinate. This can easily be done via beacons. These proximity detection devices allow users to accurately position their users in the given deployment venue. For example, beacons in a retail store can point out that a given user is currently standing in the Women’s section and has been near the ‘New Arrivals’ aisle for more than 5 minutes. The retail store can then use this data to push a relevant coupon or offer to the user, thus making the most of the moment when the user is most receptive to such offers. These conditions (dwell time> 5 min) can be easily set up on the Beaconstac Rule engine.
Are there other contextual triggers that you think one must consider making the most of contextual marketing? Let us know in the comments below.
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!