Effectively communicating with customers at the right place and at the right time using personalized messaging enhances the customer experience, generates engagement, and encourages the customer to make purchase decisions faster. This is not limited to just the B2C industry, but the B2B space also embraces it.
Even though the B2B customer experience index (50%) is significantly lower than the B2C customer experience
index (65-85%), the expectations of B2B customers are rising. This rise is characterized by digitization, increased use of smartphones, and seamless customer service technology. Businesses need to think more humanely about the customer experience they give their customers when they use the most up-to-date technology.
In an interview with Media 7, Noel Hamill, Chief Marketing & Digital Officer at Forsta, talked about digitization and changing the marketing landscape
Reconnecting to human traits and behaviors will ensure your technology-based work is successful.”
Noel Hamill, Chief Marketing & Digital Officer at Forsta
To cater to the rising expectations of customers, businesses are implementing strategies like proximity marketing to improve customer experience, brand awareness, and conversion rate.
Introduction to Proximity Marketing
What is Proximity Marketing?
Proximity marketing uses a potential customer’s device’s proximity to a certain location to target them with hyper-personalized messaging. It is also called ‘hyperlocal marketing’. Through this push messaging system, customers can receive text, images, or videos on a mobile app they already have.
How Does It Work?
It uses beacon technology, Wi-Fi, RFID/NFC, or GPS to connect with customers at a specific location. The best examples of proximity marketing would be from the B2C domain, where retailers attract customers by offering them free Wi-Fi and then sending them content about their products.
Apple introduced the iBeacon in 2013. It allows mobile apps running on both Android and iOS to listen to signals from beacons set in the physical world and react to them. Based on the user’s location and consent to notifications, hyper-personalized content is shared. It uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology. BLE is used for advertising and broadcast to BLE-enabled devices via radio waves.
Though this seems to be a fantastic invention, there are certain limitations to its use. Beacons do not offer comprehensive data analysis and may be expensive as compared to other close-proximity marketing options. They are not as intuitive as expected and do not track customer movement. They may also intrude on the user’s privacy without prior consent. Beacon signals can be easily duplicated and may be used to spoof customers. Beacons drain a cell phone’s battery as they use Bluetooth to connect with the user.
Wi-Fi-based Proximity Marketing
Free Wi-Fi attracts people. When users connect to free Wi-Fi at a particular location, for example, an event or a conference, for the first time, details like an email address or other contact information can be collected from them. This information can be used to get in touch with the users later. Details of the company, services, and benefits of association are also relayed to these users. This kind of messaging increases brand awareness
RFID/NFC-based Proximity Marketing
Near-field communication (NFC) and radio frequency identification (RFID) are technologies present in cell phones. In this kind of close proximity marketing, tiny transmitters are attached to products on sale. Consenting cellphone users receive information about the products when they are in the NFC or RFID range. This helps businesses offer an interactive shopping experience to customers and gain insights on product sales and customer behavior.
GPS-based Proximity Marketing
It uses location data to target customers at specific locations using GPS technology. It is the basis of geo-targeting, geo-fencing, and geo-marketing, which broadly fall under location-based marketing, to create a fulfilling onsite experience for customers at specific locations.
Proximity Marketing in the B2B Domain
A customer-centric mindset is critical in the B2B space. Businesses that create customer-experience strategies keeping in mind the needs and pain points of their customers see higher client-satisfaction scores, a significant reduction in the cost to serve (10 to 20 percent), an increase in revenue by 10 to 15 percent, and also employee satisfaction.
Customers expect adaptability, prediction, and personalization. These criteria can be met using proximity marketing because it uses technology to understand customers, predict their needs, and integrate different channels to deliver personalized messaging in real-time
B2B businesses can implement proximity marketing as a part of location-based marketing to offer an enhanced customer experience. In the B2B environment, a proximity marketing example would be Metrie, a leading distributor of solid wood and composite mouldings. Metrie released an app that utilized iBeacon technology to enhance the customer experience at a trade show booth. It helped customers understand the brand better and engage with the app.
Here are some key benefits of proximity marketing in the B2B domain:
You can leverage the data you gather from location-based data platforms like Foursquare to find out valuable information on your leads and prospects. This data can give you a better perspective on prospects’ personas to compare with your ICP. Insights on what kind of personality your leads have, what motivates them, where they struggle, and who they spend time with can make it easy to find the right way to approach them, create products, and improve customer experience.
Proximity marketing examples would be financial institutions, public centres with massive footfall, hotels, conventions, and places that are frequented by corporate employees. Not only can it be used for marketing, but also to receive feedback from customers.
Partner with places where stakeholders of your prospective clients frequently visit. It could be a coffee shop or any other business establishment. Whenever they check-in at this particular location, you can offer them incentives like a free cup of coffee and relay your company information through push messages or cards. This way, you raise brand awareness with your existing customers and attract new ones.
Sponsoring a specific business event is another way to leverage location-based marketing for B2B. Find out which events your clients and potential clients are set to attend. Partner up with the venue or the host. Booths and banners that promote your business details or your Foursquare profile are a great way to attract clients. Using your social media accounts to promote
your brand here can increase brand familiarity. If you use proximity marketing at such shows and events, it can further enhance your marketing efforts because your clients will receive all your information on their mobile phones. This increases your chances of engaging your target customers and getting conversions faster.
Unlike traditional marketing, proximity marketing can be measured in real-time. Businesses can plan their campaigns and gauge how customers respond to them. They can analyze their turnaround time and market intelligence based on the campaign analytics like app engagement metrics, sales metrics, customer experience metrics, and customer engagement metrics.
Close proximity marketing campaigns are cost effective because you save on paying carriers to deliver your marketing messages. You can also collect valuable customer data, which can help you generate revenue.
The messages that you choose to send to your customers can be personalized to highlight your strengths and appeal humanely to your customers.
Proximity Marketing Best Practices
Draft a Plan
Gather in-depth data on your business goals, objectives, products, and services to create an effective marketing plan. Upgrade your plan from time to time based on the feedback you receive.
Choose a Proximity Marketing Solution
Choose a cost-effective way to run your campaign that gives you a lot of options.
Respect User’s Privacy
Follow industry guidelines to respect user privacy. Breaking any legal or ethical rules may adversely impact your brand image. Seek permission from customers before implementing a campaign. It could be a good idea to engage a third-party mobile app proximity marketing solution to avoid any mishaps and campaign failure.
Provide Value Addition
Use short, crisp personalized messages to target customers. Make sure your content is very specific to the target accounts you're trying to reach. This could help with your marketing.
Analyze the feedback and real-time data you receive from your proximity marketing solution. You can improve your campaigns based on the metrics and create better campaigns in the future.
Proximity marketing has a lot of potential to improve customer experience in the B2B world, and it could learn from how it's used in the B2C world.
How does proximity marketing work?
It uses beacon technology, Wi-Fi, RFID/NFC, and GPS to reach customers at specific locations through personalized marketing communication.
What are the benefits of proximity marketing?
It improves customer experience, brand awareness, and conversion rate through real-time, location-based influence.
What are the characteristics of a good proximity marketing solution?
A good proximity marketing solution must be cost-effective, allow for granularity and customization, and keep data safe.