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You may have heard it lots of times, but maybe you’re not too sure about what in the royal heck is «beacon marketing«.

Ok Brainiac, what’s a beacon?

So, yes… «beacons» are basically «bluetooth low energy technology», also known as proximity beacons. They are little devices that transmit some sort of messages and information to nearby mobile devices.

So, with that simple definition you may get to produce a lot of things. Retail stores are among the best adopters of beacons (imagine what a beacon equipped department store can do… terrifying!).

With that in mind, beacon marketing is born, as businesses and local stores can use that message transmission to offer customers or nearby people (potential customers) some special stuff.

The beacon marketing technology is also employed in events, such as sports matches, concerts or trade shows, among others (even some hospitals use them, to improve patient care and track information of the patients).

Enter beacon marketing… automated!

Ah! But that’s not all of the frenzy around beacon marketing. Imagine what you can do when you drive programmatic strategies across apps, either on Android or iOS, to trigger notifications when in proximity to a Bluetooth beacon?

Well friends, that’s automated beacon marketing. Brands can capitalise on the consumer’s exact physical context and deliver a relevant and timely ad, which naturally improves the opportunity to engage.

These sort of strategies exist today. Proxama and PubMatic protagonize in the UK a nice effort in which Proxama’s network of beacons are deployed in conjunction with the UK’s leading Out of Home media owners, as well as in high consumer locations such as on buses, taxis and in airports across UK. This effort creates a perfect spot for brands to invest in.

So… where can I buy beacons?

Well, beacons are not potato chips. You can’t buy them in your nearest K-Mart, nor technologic giants like Google and Apple develop them.

Normally, some vendors manufacture and sell beacons. Aruba, Kontakt or Radius are among the most popular ones. They are normally not expensive, as their prices expand between $5 and $30USD (prices differ due to signal range, type and life of batteries, among other factors).

Even now, Facebook has developed their own beacons that are available for free to businesses with Facebook pages, mostly directed to those brands who want to make use of Facebook Place Tips to deliver information on users’ smartphones (so yes, even Facebook is aboard beacon marketing).

So, have you had any experience employing beacon marketing strategies? Are you up to the next level? Comment and share.

Image: ShutterStock