Posted on May 26th, 2016
It’s about the size of a good cookie. A white square, with pointed edges angled downward. It’s beautiful technology. It’ll sit on a table or hang on a wall, or even from the ceiling. What is it? It’s a Facebook Bluetooth beacon, and it’s a POWERFUL tool for a brick-and-mortar businesses that want to connect with their customers.
Proximity-based marketing has taken off in recent years as Bluetooth technology made it possible and affordable, and customer behavior made it less intrusive. Most experts recognize that it began when Apple announced iBeacons in 2013. The big bump you see in the chart below came last July when Google announced its Eddystone format for beacon communication.
With names like Facebook, Google and Apple on board you know it’s serious. The search behemoth sees it as a tool for making mobile apps more useful, and beacon communication certainly is that. But we’re marketers, so we want to know how it can help sell sh– stuff and make our clients some $$$money$$$. Let’s get started!
How Beacons Work
That’s for developers and engineers to figure out, but marketers need to know the basics: A small hardware device sends a signal to your phone over Bluetooth. Okay, now back to marketing.
It’s the message the signal carries that makes beacons a valuable marketing tool. Facebook promotes its beacon with Place Tips that convey information about a business to the customers in range of its beacon’s signal. Facebook users might see welcome messages, check-in incentives or recommendations from their friends. For marketers, it’s a way to unobtrusively communicate with customers and help achieve KPIs.
Facebook isn’t the only beacon maker. There are several on the market, including Yext, Estimote, Kontakt and many more. Because these third-parties are not specifically tied to Facebook, they can do more integration with mobile operating systems and app downloads.
To help you understand the power of proximity-based marketing and uncover tactics you can use to power your marketing, we’ve combed the digital landscape for the best, most informative resources on beacon marketing written by experts. Enjoy.
10 Top Location-Based Marketing Campaigns of 2015
David Kaplan, StreetFight
A great look at how 10 brands, from big names like Dr. Pepper to magazines and health care systems, used proximity-based marketing to get results.
Six Steps to Executing a Successful Beacon Marketing Program
Niall Fitzpatrick, Swirl
Building your strategy for using beacons holds a few twists to your normal marketing process. Fitzpatrick, of Swirl â€” a retail beacon platform â€” walks readers through them from start to finish.
Digital Marketing: Beacons Beyond Retail
Michelle Richard, Omni Resources
From buildings that know where you are (Cool! Orâ€¦ creepy? Â¯\_(ãƒ„)_/Â¯ ) to wayfinding, Richard details ways beacons can be put to use outside the retail vertical.
6 Things Marketers Need To Know About Beacons
James Martin, CIO.com
An excellent and in-depth rundown of beacon platforms and options, with real-world examples of how they’ve been used to boost sales and drive business performance â€” including at this year’s Super Bowl.
15 Companies From Airports to Retail Already Using Beacon Technology
Trips Reddy, Umbel
If you’re reading this wondering Okay but where have I actually used a beacon? This has your answers. THEY’RE EVEN USED FOR DATING.
How the Quiet Rise of Beacons Has Reshaped Retail Marketing
Natalie Gagliordi, ZDNet
Tracing the beacon uprising back to Apple’s iBeacon spec in 2013, this post gives a good look at how some of the early adopters used the technology to improve customer experience.
Hundreds of Local Movie Theaters Will Soon Become Beacon Hot Spots
Barry Levine, Marketing Land
Before you turn your phone off for the film, of course.
Understanding Proximity Marketing
Elizabeth Goicochea, MOCA
There are multiple ways to locate a device, this piece explains each one and what they allow marketers to do differently.
With the biggest search, device and social networking companies all pushing their own beacon technology, marketers can be certain beacons are not going to go the way of QR codes. Savvy marketers looking for an edge can take advantage of the communication and engagement potential beacons create for proximity-based marketing to drive big results that make clients (and performance marketers) happy 🙂