What Is Proximity Marketing?
Proximity marketing uses wireless technologies to deliver messages to people selected by their proximity to a specific location at the time the message is sent. Proximity marketing is also frequently called location marketing or location-based marketing. The method can be used with blue tooth enabled devices, cell phones and Internet connections.
Old Idea, New Delivery Mechanism
Proximity marketing is not an entirely new idea. It has been used by businesses for decades. The traditional ways of doing location-based marketing included some of the following tactics:
- Placing a flyer under the windshield wipers of every car in the parking lot of a shopping mall to announce the opening of a new store.
- Placing a flyer with a coupon for a free dessert at a local restaurant under the wipers of all cars parked outside a sporting event.
- Mailing coupons to every address within a 25 mile radius of a store.
- Making an announcement in a store or mall offering special pricing in a store or on specific products. (K-mart was famous for their blue-light specials, for example).
Today, most people carry with them some sort of electronic device that facilitates both identification of the location and capability for instant communication. People can simply indicate that they want to receive messages and offers and expect to receive timely and relevant special offers, information, coupons or rewards by simply being in the right place at the right time.
What Kind of Proximity Marketing Can You Do?
The limits on proximity marketing are as wide as your imagination and creativity. We are only beginning to see the results of more creative approaches to or uses of proximity marketing.
Information and offers can be delivered in a wide variety of formats: text, still pictures, animations, video, audio, VCard (business cards) VCal (calendar events). The kinds of things commonly delivered using proximity marketing include: photos, video clips, interviews, product or service brochures, wallpapers for mobile phones, discount coupons, special offers, company contact information, event announcements and much more.
Proximity marketing with wireless technology allows you to define an audience as broadly or as narrowly as you wish. Consider these examples:
You could send a coupon to everyone on a particular stretch of beach on a hot summer afternoon offering a free 32 oz. drink in your beachfront restaurant with any food purchase. Or you could make the offer only to people who have a local area code or only to people who have an out-of-state area code on their phone.
If you operate a bed and breakfast, you might send a photo of a guest room and a discount offer to everyone coming through the local train station with a device registered outside your local area.
If you operate a taxi company and you are located in a region that has a number of retirement communities or independent living facilities, you might select a community and send a VCard to every device within the community announcing a 10% discount on every fare for people over age 65.
There are thousands of ways to use proximity marketing and capitalize on the capabilities of wireless technologies. Although there are relatively few independent and scientific studies of response rates, anecdotal evidence claims responses in the 23 – 55% range. Considering the relatively low cost of proximity marketing, it is worth serious consideration.
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