Update Jan 2019
Please note, after Google shutdown the Nearby App on the Android phones effective December 7th, 2018, it now requires that the user download a custom app that will then communicate to the phones that have the app and Bluetooth turned on and then send them your message or offers.
So, what exactly is proximity marketing?
As the name suggests, proximity marketing is marketing your business to the people in proximity to your business location (store, event etc.). Proximity marketing has been implemented using a number of different technologies like beacons NFC, Wi-Fi, QR codes etc. Beacons have seen the fastest growth trajectory and are expected to dwarf others soon.
What are beacons?
Beacons are Bluetooth transmitters that send notifications to the mobile devices in its range. These notifications can include text, media, links, etc. Businesses primarily use beacons to send marketing campaigns to customers in proximity to them. It is important to understand that beacons don't directly communicate with the mobile device but merely serve as a trigger as indicated by this graphic below.
But does anyone keep Bluetooth on? Is this not an old technology?
Bluetooth as a technology has been in use for a long time for headsets, speakers etc. The new version of Bluetooth that beacons use is called Bluetooth Smart (or Bluetooth 4.0) and differs from the classical Bluetooth (Bluetooth 2.0) because it does not drain your battery and does not need to pair with mobile devices to communicate.
What is the range of these beacons?
The range of the beacon can be set as low as 10 inches or to reach as far as 900 feet comfortably! This means you can engage with a customer who is as far as 900 feet away from your store or decide to focus only on those who are already at the location.
Which mobile devices are compatible with beacons?
All Bluetooth 4.0-enabled devices are capable of picking up BLE signals, these include all iOS devices manufactured since 2013 and all devices with Android 4.3 and above.
Is beacon-based proximity marketing a new concept?
Contrary to what most people think, beacon-based proximity marketing is not a new concept. It is a well-established technology that has a wide reach across the world. In fact, Beaconstac beacons alone are currently being used by marquee brands like Google, Uber, Verizon, KFC, etc., across 40 countries.
Jim Beck, the President of Baytech Mobile has been programming websites and sending digital marketing messages for over 20 years. He works with clients to help them engage the mobile consumer through mobile and text message marketing solutions and strategies. He loves to help others implement mobile marketing into their businesses He hopes you enjoy this mobile marketing blog as much as he does writing it!