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Placing beacons within digital marketing strategy: Three considerations for successful beacon deployments - Part 1

Beacons are one of myriad technologies that comprise the ‘Internet of Things;’ ergo, the great value of beacons is their ability to connect a data stream around hitherto unconnected events. Beacons are tiny devices designed to transmit location or other physical activity patterns.

A shopper dwelling in front of the jeans section, busiest hours throughout the day or week, or how individuals flow through a given store, department, or aisle are a few examples of consumer insights previously invisible to marketers.

Beacons represent one way marketers can exercise the level of precision they are accustomed to online, in the real world; a way to merge their online and offline understanding of customers. Beyond that, beacons are introducing a multitude of new ways to measure how consumers are interacting with ‘offline’ brand environments.

But before marketers go running to the corner suite asking for the latest bright, shiny [tiny, wall-mounted] object, understanding what they can and should measure, those metrics against which to align business goals, and what other contextual elements, sensitivities, consumer preferences, and data sources to analyze in tandem is critical.

This three part series will explore three critical components marketers must consider when crafting a beacon strategy: measurement, strategic alignment, and perhaps most importantly, customer experience.


Part 1: Measuring Beacons: Tiny Beacons Add up to Big Data

Beacons generate scores of new data points that supplement and enhance existing data sets. For instance, collecting in-store traffic, browsing, and purchasing patterns adds colorful context when aggregated with online and in-app (mobile) browsing patterns. Other data points attributable to beacons might include (but are not limited to)…

  • Frequency of visits
  • Frequency of in-store behavior
  • Recency of purchase or conversion
  • In-store traffic [as related to online or in-app media interaction]
  • In-store loyalty program interaction
  • In-store marketing effectiveness (in-store displays, kiosks, samples, placement, etc.)
  • Digital impact on in-store sales
  • Effectiveness of in-store mobile promotion (in-store or locally triggered retargeting)
  • Effectiveness of personalized messaging, service, or content offerings
  • Effectiveness of store layout
  • Service quality, queue, abandonment
  • Resource/labor/inventory efficiency

Even in these early days, retailers are seeing results. Hillshire, an American craft sausage brand, reports shoppers are 20 times more likely to buy upon receiving location-based beacon-triggered promotions—a 500% increase over CPG average for mobile ad engagement. According to recent study from Swirl, a beacon management platform, 60% of shoppers open and engage with beacon-triggered content while 30% redeem beacon-triggered offers.

As more organizations adopt beacons both for customer-facing and non-customer facing activations, as the technology itself evolves over time, so too will beacon measurement capabilities and best practices. As we have seen in social media, measurement is no longer a function of counting, but also of interpreting structured and unstructured data as well, never mind acting on it.

While it is not difficult to see the value these metrics offer brand marketers, such value can only be extracted by identifying and incorporating how these (and any other beacon-related metrics) will both align against other online metrics and the strategies they support, as well as how beacon activations will directly support business goals—the topic of part 2 of this three part series.

Be sure to check back here tomorrow for Part 2 of this series: Strategic Alignment: Without Integration, Beacons will only Add to the Noise 

Image sources: iStock, velocity-insights.com

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