Proximity marketing is a great way to interact with and engage your offline customers with relevant, targeted offers and service messaging, whether your business happens to be a brick-and-mortar store, a retail bank branch or a sports stadium. The easiest way to define proximity to a relative newcomer is to outline an example of an individual who walks into a defined geographic area or passes a beacon placed in a retail store. Based on their entry, exit or dwell time, this person may then receive a personalised push notification or in-app message direct to their Bluetooth-enabled smartphone. The goal of location-based messaging is to enhance the customer experience and ultimately provide value and utility to the end-user.

 

What is often overlooked is the valuable real-time data, the offline behavioural insights, that location targeting technology collects as app users pass in and out of a physical location. In a world where customers demand instant gratification and expect precisely tailored content, deep segmentation and rich cross-channel customer data is the key to creating effective and engaging marketing campaigns. Location adds the vital extra layer of information in order to deliver a single customer view, both online and offline.

 

When it comes to proximity-based insights, the data gathered could be as simple and immediate as entry time: the fact that an airline passenger entered an airport terminal event 30 minutes ago, for example, or you could build up a much more detailed picture. So for example, a luxury department store can track exactly when a customer entered the store, identify exactly where she browsed and see what products were of most interest to her, based on beacon interaction with the customer’s smartphone. With this in mind, we can see how location-targeting technology, in the form of beacons and geo-fencing, can greatly impact the approach that brands take to reconnect with their target audience.

 

So why is proximity retargeting worthy of your time and attention? Consider this: advertising displayed to customers is dominantly based on their online behavior, which accounts for 30% of their awake time. Brands are currently missing out on the remaining 70% – where users spend their time in the real world. Proximity data covers that remaining 70%.

 

Essentially, brands can now, for the first time, continue the dialogue with their offline customers beyond the store with relevant and personalised digital advertising. This represents a huge opportunity for brands to leverage proximity data intelligently, leading to higher relevance and smarter ad spend. It allows the luxury department store to go one step further and retarget the female shopper online with advertising content specifically tailored to the exact products that appealed to her in-store. They can also accurately track if the advert resulted in a return visit to the store or a sale on the ecommerce website.

 

Proximity is now moving beyond beacons that simply deliver discounted offers to customers in-store. The next phase of beacons’ role in the marketing spectrum is as a key touchpoint for retargeting shoppers who have opted in to receive messages from a store’s branded app. Marketers can now extend the life of beacon data beyond the store and, with a greater understanding of their customers, apply it to other contexts such as audience targeting and even ROAS (return on ad spend) measurement.