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A few years ago, I was working with a client in the fast moving consumer good sector (fmcg). Location based marketing was one of the major themes I explored in content that I created for them; location based marketing utilising Beacon Technology appeared well suited to retail.
For those of you not aware, beacons are small wireless devices that transmit Bluetooth signals to nearby smartphones. Grocery retailers could send promotional offers to passing shoppers and cinemas could alert passers by to their latest cinema deals.
It was as if what happened Tom Cruise’s character (John Anderton) in the film, Minority Report was going to become the norm.
Credit: 20th Century Fox
However, even before GDPR the location based marketing revolution never really got going. There are a number of reasons for this;
Beacons signals can be blocked by physical objects
It can be hard to find suitable locations to position Beacons
Customers have to be opted in and have bluetooth enabled to receive messages
Customers need to be holding their phone and to look at their phones.
Beacons are powered by batteries and it is not clear how long the batteries last.
Consumers have shown no interest in Beacons.
This is not an exhaustive list but already it is clear to see the practicalities of Beacon Technology do not match up to the vision.
Location Based Content Marketing
If location based Content Marketing were to become a new form of communication, I could imagine it working well at an industry conference, it would need to utilise the same technology that our colleagues focused on business to consumer (B2C) communications have been experimenting with. I do not predict this happening anytime soon.
There are other technological areas bringing change to Content Marketing sooner than Beacon Technology. Artificial Intelligence is one, the use of Chatbots and automated scheduling for Social Media is fairly common now, these are both examples of Artificial Intelligence. However, it will still be some time before Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing will be able to create machines that can write content. I explored this area in this post, What Impact Will Artificial Intelligence Have on Content Marketing? I am sure you will find it interesting.
Have you experienced Beacon Technology in a retail setting or a museum? Let me know in the comments section below.
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