A different digital world is on the horizon: one of sensors and beacons ready to pinpoint our location to within a few inches.
And marketers are eager to take advantage of this new opportunity.
Only these last few inches of marketing aren't about sales opportunities and customer conversions. They are about trust and relationships.
Marketing has pushed, pulled, and evolved a lot over the last few decades to one end: getting closer to the consumer.
Think about just the transition from traditional marketing to digital marketing. With digital, marketers are able to have one to one conversations with their audiences, they can analyze and understand audience behavior through different digital touchpoints, providing a much more personalized experience.
You can’t do that through a magazine article or advertisement. Digital has enabled a truly fundamental change to the way that marketers engage with their audience.
But what I just described was only the first incarnation of the changes that digital has wrought on marketing. As we became more dependent upon the internet, as we became more connected through our smartphones and other devices, marketing evolved again to include our proximity.
Building off the devices that we can’t seem to live without, using built-in GPS and wi-fi, proximity gives the marketer a real-world location upon which to build a sense of context.
Standing in line at the grocery store? Waiting for the train to arrive? Sitting at a traffic light in a busy down-town? It’s all about context now and the message can be tailored to fit it.
Which brings me to the last few inches of marketing. If you haven’t had a chance, you should readThe Age of Context by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel.
In this book, they describe a future of sensors. In your home, in retail locations, literally everywhere. These sensors will fundamentally change the way we interact with organizations and other people.
These sensors not only gather data about what we are doing, the sensors also provide a real-time, bi-directional conduit between consumers and organization.
Let’s call this pinpoint marketing. When a store is outfitted with iBeacon sensors for example, it will enable marketers to know not only that the person is in the store, but what aisle they are in or in front of what rack of clothing they are standing.
This is an evolutionary transformation of how marketers can leverage mobile technologies to engage with their audiences.
Proximity marketing was all guesswork, sending out semi-targeted messaging to the entire store. Pinpoint marketing is like having a string attached to the finger of each and every consumer in the store.
It enables one to one engagement by connecting with each and every phone connected to the sensor network. With an application on the iPhone, for example, messaging could be truly personalized and even take into account rich, historical data on the person.