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Smartphone Apps are Listening for Proximity Beacons and the Marketing Messages They Broadcast

beacon technology

In this wired, wireless, Internet-connected world, where it seems like everything is a source of potential advertising content for media, it also seems like everything is vying for the attention of your prospective customers. That means finding new ways to cut through the noise and clamor to deliver your marketing message is essential. Proximity beacons are one way that you can get your message across and make sure that it’s heard.

You may have already seen beacons in some stores in the Kansas City area without knowing what they were. A beacon is a small, typically battery-powered transmitter that is designed to send out one-way signals using Bluetooth low-energy protocol (BLE), which is also why they’re sometimes called “BLE beacons.” Beacons can be placed near the entrance of a store, near product that you want to sell, or even outside of a store to draw in customers from the street. Because all modern smartphones support BLE technology, all smartphones are potential receivers for the messages that beacons are sending.

What do those messages look like? They’re small strings of data with a range of only around 200 or 300 feet, and when a phone picks up the message, the string of data tells a mobile app on the phone to pull down more information from the web. The app is constantly listening for the beacon’s signal, and as soon as a customer gets within range, boom, their phone is suddenly conveying some relevant piece of information to them. This can range from notifying people of sales to handing out coupons and rewards to giving more information about a specific product or service. In fact, this year alone, beacons will influence literally billions of dollars in U.S. retail sales, and they’re still in their relative infancy.

For the time being, beacons rely on customers already having a pre-installed mobile app with which the beacon can communicate. But as more stores and other businesses begin installing beacons, the ubiquity of phones that can receive their message will continue to increase. And the great thing is that the beacon itself can serve almost any function, and can be placed almost anywhere in or around your business in order to target customers or potential customers with pertinent information.

Because beacons aren’t connected to the internet themselves, they’re platform-independent and mechanically relatively simple. They can detect distance but don’t take any of a customer’s data, instead working like a lighthouse to simply transmit a signal that then triggers the customer’s phone to take action. Because of this, they can help with customer insights and add to your knowledge of customer analytics, including data on dwell time and preferred products, without the need to invasively dig into the data of the smartphones or apps with which they interact. That’s a big win for you and for your customers!

As we said, beacon technology is still in its relatively early stages, so it’s difficult to say how many possible applications it may have in the future, but what we know for sure is that the millions of smartphones in the country are already potential receivers for the marketing messages that your beacons may be sending. Does implementing this all sound a little complex? It doesn’t have to be with the right digital marketing team in your corner. To learn more about BLE beacons or how to get your marketing message to its intended recipient, just contact the marketing and strategy professionals at iFocus Marketing in Kansas City today!