PROXIMITY MARKETING – A NICHE CLOSER TO THE CONSUMER

The digital cosmos is exponentially on the rise and with that advancement in mobile technology has led companies target and interact with consumers in newer and exciting ways; which has brought them further closer. One of such ways is “Proximity Marketing”.

It is a form of marketing, where a brand initiates communication with consumers that’s relevant and personal. It’s all about marketing at the right place and at the right time.

WHAT EXACTLY IS THIS CONCEPT?

Marketers across a range of verticals are now realizing the enormous amount of potential that proximity marketing offers. Also referred to as ‘hyperlocal marketing’, this type of marketing involves targeting potential consumers with personalized notifications, based on how near a consumer is to a particular location and tempting them to make a buying decision.

HOW DOES IT FUNCTION?

Proximity Marketing emerged somewhere around 2008, when companies were able to send location-triggered messages to phones that were in the vicinity to a Bluetooth network and had the “discoverable” mode on.

The foremost purpose is to connect with customers while they are near your company or facility. But there are a number of must-haves required to employ this marketing technique. They are:

The consumer should be using a Bluetooth-enabled mobile device at the or near the location where the technique is being applied.

  1. A beacon must be deployed in the area where the consumer is currently located, in order to send out and receive marketing messages.
  2. The targeted consumer should have downloaded and installed the relevant mobile app on his or her phone that is capable of receiving push notifications.

Since the time with each potential customer is limited, it’s crucial to create short and sharp messages for the interaction.

WHY USE IT?

  1. It helps in a deeper understanding of customers’ buying patterns and catering to them based on their preferences and location
  2. It can lead to a higher conversion rate based on the proximity of a consumer
  3. As per a study by IBM, 72% of consumers will react to a marketing message while they are inside the store

LET’S LOOK AT SOME EXAMPLES

Over the past few years, a number of brands are adopting this method to improve their customer experience. Few of the benefits that these brands have observed are:

1. 71% were able to track and understand customer buying patterns

2. 53% were able to create more relevant and compelling offers in the store

3. 24% saw an increase in sales

4. 24% saw an increase in redemption of offers

Walmart: Launched a unique iBeacon trial in partnership with GE. The retail giant used GE light bulbs to house beacons and to send push notifications about offers to the in-store customers.

Kenneth Cole: They are using beacons to create more personalized customer experiences with an aim to provide value and offers at the time when customers are in the store.

McDonald’s: To promote a new line of coffee-flavored beverages and to enhance customer relationships, they adopted a new proximity marketing strategy via beacons. This proximity marketing campaign via beacons helped McDonald’s achieve 20% conversion rate.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Proximity marketing isn’t just one single technology; it can in fact be implemented employing various methods. Not only this, it’s not limited to just Smartphone usage. Contemporary laptops that are GPS-enabled can also be targeted through some proximity marketing techniques.

Thus, it is difficult to predict what is the next technology, which will take the customer experience further and beyond. But for retailers, this technique could be the next big thing, elevating the shopping experience for their consumers and better revenue for themselves.

The Secret Ingredient – Generating Referrals

Let’s face it; most people do not like cold calling. While it’s sometimes a necessary tactic in new business development, as an alternative, how about if you let your customers do the talking. In other words, get them to generate the referrals for you! Referrals from existing customers are the greatest source of new business.

Whether you are just starting or have been in business for years, referrals are one of the easiest ways for business growth.

And thanks to social media, loyal customers’ voices have serious reach, giving them the potential to become powerful brand campaigners.  You don’t have to be Samsung, Coca-Cola or another high profile company to get attention on social media. You just need a creative strategy and loyal customers who care about your brand.

Some statistical proof that referrals are important:

  • In a study of software buying trends, Capterra concluded that peer recommendations outweigh blogs and online media when it comes to researching software options.
  • In a Wharton study of referral programs in a Frankfurt based bank, customers who referred their friends were 18% more likely to stick with the bank and generated 16 to 25% higher long-term value than ordinary customers.
  • Depending on the industry, a referral business closes and converts nearly 70% of the time.
  • In a survey of over 3,000 business people, more than half of the respondents said that they got 70% or more of their customers through referrals.

But how do you generate additional referrals?

A few quick tips:

Be referable: Referrals build a brand’s credibility and trustworthiness. So deliver what you promise and when you promise.

Target your most loyal clients: One important element to remember is that the quality of the referrals you’re getting is directly related to the types of people who are in the periphery of your network. If you continue to wow your customers with your services, it is most likely that they will refer you to their family and friends.

Be accessible: Have a stack of business cards ready to hand out to your customers. If you’ve made a good impression, there are ample chances that those cards will end up in the hands of someone else! Don’t shy away from giving them out at events, meetings, or at other networking events.

Build relationships with others in your industry: Expand your horizons. For e.g. If you work in the medical field, you probably see a lot of other medical professionals. We have heard that an ophthalmologist referring a patient to his friend who is an orthopaedic, which means a referral from a trusted expert can mean a lot!

Provide valuable content:  Share good content that you customers can share in their network. Invite them for seminars or webinars on industry topics, research, or articles about latest industry trends, etc.

Reward your clients: Surprise your customers by offering something they didn’t expect. Offer discounts or special offers in exchange for referrals. Showing gratitude will encourage them to keep spreading the word about your brand.

Let your clients know you want to be referred: As per American writer and lecturer, Dale Carnegie, 91% of customers say they’d happily give referrals. Tell your customers that you’re trying to grow your business, and any referrals you can get will be appreciated. Reassure them that you’ll do your level best to keep these new referrals happy.

Lack of referrals

If a customer is reluctant to refer your brand, it could indicate that:

  • They don’t intend to stick around long enough to prolong your existing relationship by. The problem could be anything from poor customer service, or product quality.
  • That your product/service doesn’t wow them enough to refer their friends to it.

In either situation, your customers’ unwillingness will tell you where you’re going wrong and what you can do to make your approach and brand better.

Lastly, make sure what you serve is good! Your likelihood of building a solid and expanding referral channel is directly linked to your success; and you can achieve it by consistently exceeding customer expectations. You will surely build a loyal network of customers who will keep on coming back, bringing their networks along!

Trust Based Marketing – A New Move towards Brand Building

What’s your company doing to better understand the customer as a means to gain his trust? How do customers perceive your marketing? It is increasingly important for businesses to build a bond and a relationship with a focus on TRUST with their stake holders like customers, employees, partners, etc. At the same time, the brand should maintain the trust which customers have showered upon it; should not indulge in any doings, which compromises the trust factor.

Have you ever heard about Trust based marketing? It is not a new concept. It simply means that the customer trusts a particular brand, feels safe & happy with the brand and can talk about this brand proudly. Studies show that trust-based companies have higher customer retention and more stable revenue streams. The prediction is that eventually, trust-based businesses will have higher sales volumes and lower marketing costs than companies that survive on push-based marketing strategies.

Some of the invaluable features of this novel approach are:

  • Value – A brand must ensure that it is really adding value to a customer’s life. The more value you provide, the more trust you build. Most marketing and sales efforts focus on pushing your services and capabilities. This doesn’t build trust; in fact, it turns the prospect off.
  • Permission based & Non-intrusive – Are you really reaching out to new people or just annoying them? Brand should not be disturbing or intrusive to customer life. It may reach out to its audience based on personal attributes but should not get into personal life.
  • Transparency – There should be open and frank communication. Customer should not get unpleasant surprises.
  • Cost – Customer generally feel cheated if they find they paid a lot for it. Brand should ensure that they make them understand why they are paying this extra and make them comfortable about it.
  • Communication – Recently, a study was done asking customers if they preferred a reply by email, phone, or fax. A significant portion selected phone, despite their obvious access to the Internet. This shows that quick and complete communication is key. It should be easy for the customer to communicate with the brand.
  • Environment friendly – It is an additional responsibility on brands. Brands should go extra miles and share how they would care for the environment using the power which customers are giving them.
  • Accountable – Every employee in the organization should be ready to accept his mistake in case a customer has a bad experience with the brand. There should be immediate steps taken to set it right.
  • Easily Accessible – A brand should be very easily accessible through any mode of communication which the customer prefers.
  • Long term vision – Brand must have long-term vision & should not get into P& L or growth hacking mode for investors.
  • Customers’ Loss – Warn your customers of the cost of inaction. If you provide something of genuine value to customers then you have a moral duty to summarize exactly what they lose out on through inaction.
  • Content – Build your marketing approach on valuable content powered by the principles of trustworthiness and you will be well on your way to a strong brand,

Building trust is like taking a series of baby steps. It happens with time, but once there is trust the next steps become very smooth. At the same time, trust is fragile. Customers are understandably wary so pushing too much can turn out to be risky!

Thus, the simple truth behind trust-based marketing is obvious – being trustworthy! Like it is said, “Play nice and you will make friends”.

 

Brand Awareness – Need of the Hour

What comes to your mind when you see the golden-yellow coloured ‘M’? Or while you are out for shopping and feel hungry and see a picture of pizza? Isn’t it MacDonald’s and Dominos? That’s brand awareness.

Having a unique and memorable brand helps you build brand awareness and create a long-term relationship with your customers and a lasting position in the marketplace. The brand is what gives life and personality to your company, and this will be the first contact point for most potential customers. Therefore, your brand has to be likeable, engaging, and interesting.

Why is Brand Awareness required and so increasingly important?

Brand awareness plays a huge part in the success of brands. The higher rate of brand awareness equates to higher sales. There is no magic set of rules or a formula that you can use to do this, but there are certain steps that you can be aware of that will make your brand recognizable. The significance of brand awareness is that consumers include it in their decision-making process while purchasing a product.

The importance of brand awareness has become increasingly significant with the evolution of the Internet and digital technology. The public is more equipped with mobile and social media tools to communicate quickly about your brand – good or bad. This means that establishing a strong reputation for good products or services, and reliability in your business practices is even more vital for long-term success.

When is it required?

Creating brand awareness is usually the first step; before you can create a favorable impression or motivate customers to buy, they have to become aware of your brand and its meaning. It helps drive traffic to your business simultaneously creating a buzz in the market.

Top of the Mind

This is when customers think of you first when they need to make a purchase within your product category. You can build top of the mind awareness through repeated exposure and consistent delivery of a good product and services.

SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay Per Click) are smart solutions for getting your brand seen on Google. With targeted keyword research, you could be showing up at the top of Google for relevant searches.

Website

An informative and well-planned website helps create a worldwide customer base. Today’s customer is no longer limited to buying a product or service from a shop or mall; they might research about it over the internet and then decide about buying it or not.

Content Marketing

This is a very key marketing tactic in which a company creates and distributes informative and engaging content like blogs, updates on Social Media, communicating with present and potential customers through e-mailers and much more.

Whilst there is no quick fix for becoming a household name but once armed with the combination of techniques like – Internet Marketing, intelligent usage of Social Media Platforms, consistency in the services provided – the effects of a strong brand on your business will become clear.