Bitesize blog: What is proximity marketing?

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UPDATE: Google shut down their proximity marketing platform on 1st April 2021.

Proximity marketing has been in and out of the headlines since Apple launched iBeacons in 2013. It was a platform that ultimately failed to take off but more refined (and open-source) versions have had better success since then – namely Google’s beacon system.

Now, proximity marketing is back in the headlines, this time powered by technology that’s had time to mature. So, it’s a good time for a quick refresher on what this strategy has to offer in 2019.

What is proximity marketing?

Proximity marketing is a hyper-localised strategy that uses people’s specific locations to send highly-targeted messages. While location-based marketing uses GPS technology to track the approximate location of devices, proximity marketing aims to send messages to people based on their specific location.

For example, proximity marketing might be used to send messages to people as they walk into specific stores in a shopping mall. You can even create networks to track people as they move around a store, sending them messages based on the aisle they’re walking down or the range of products they’re looking at.

In most cases, these networks are built by installing beacons in various locations, which detect the presence of smartphones.

What are the benefits?

  • Location targeting: Beacons let you target users with messages based on their specific location.
  • Mapping: The ability to “see” where consumers go in-store and attribute actions to these journeys – e.g. gauge how many buy a product after seeing promotional signs.
  • Frequency: Measure how often people visit the same locations, how long they spend there and how these relate to sales.
  • In-store messaging: Send promotional offers to people as they look through your store or business location.
  • Guide users: With full beacon systems, you can guide people through entire shopping centres, stadiums, airports and even cities.
  • Gamification: Brands are using beacons to create treasure hunts and gamify the consumer process.
  • Cross-selling: Target shoppers with related products, special offers and other purchases as they queue up to pay.
  • Loyalty: Send loyalty rewards to people as they complete purchases.
  • Customer recalls: Send promotions and other messages to people who leave without buying anything to entice them back into the store.

For more information, check out: Why beacon technology is set to take off in 2019.

Kerry Dye profile picture
Kerry Dye

Kerry has been working in digital marketing almost since the beginning of the World Wide Web, designing her first website in 1995 and moving fully into the industry in 1996 to work for one of the very first web design companies. After a successful four years, Kerry moved to an in-house position for a sailing company, running the digital presence of their yacht races including SEO, PPC and email marketing as the primary channels. A stint then followed at another in-house role as online marketing manager. Kerry moved to Vertical Leap in 2007, making her one of the company’s longest-serving employees. As a T-shaped marketer – able to advise on digital strategy outside her main specialism – she rose through the ranks and in 2012 became the head of the Small and Medium Business (SMB) SEO team. In 2022 she became Vertical Leap's Automation and Process Manager. Kerry lives in the historic town of Bishops Waltham with her husband and daughter. When she’s not at work she enjoys cooking proper food, curling up with a good book and being a leader for Brownie and Rainbow Guides.

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