In an ever changing and busying world -it’s harder than ever for enterprise marketers to connect with their clients and potential customers, and the job has become more complex and more difficult than ever before.
However, the arrival of Bluetooth beacons, or beacons, (or even iBeacons) have changed the way the industry works and the way business is done in general.
The inexpensive devices transmit relevant, targeted messages and information to nearby mobile devices, and have proved to be really popular for businesses including retailers connecting with prospective clients and airports communicating with passengers.
There has been a huge rise in beacon-equipped shopping malls, airports and department stores which can, for instance, send special offers on baggage to customers as they enter, proceed through, or hang around in the luggage areas.
Beacons aren’t just for Marketers
It’s certainly true that Beacons aren’t just for marketers – but they have certainly done a lot in the way of transforming the way marketing is done.
Outside of the marketing world, they are being set up in schools, concert halls, conferences and museums to aid communication and connect people to specific and relevant information – more than ever before.
The marketing and retail the goal for beacons is to increase customer engagement and, improve communication, and make massive improvements in customer awareness, loyalty, and ultimately sales.
What exactly are beacons?
Beacons are small, battery-powered, always-on devices that connect to your mobile device via an app. They do not steal your data, they are not aware of anything at all – and they are perfectly safe to use. Once you have opted in, the beacon can provide you with the information you need depending on your location. Bluetooth technology is used to transmit signals to devices, such as smartphones and tablets, within a range of about 300 feet.
It’s important to note that beacons are one-way transmitters; they are able to detect nearby devices in order to send them messages, but the target devices don’t send information back to the beacons.
Patrick Leddy, CEO and founder of mobile marketing firm Pulsate, who spoke on the subject in a whiteboard video. “They send out a signal. They’re unaware of themselves and any other devices around them . They’re just sending out these BLE packets and saying ‘Hey, I’m here, see me, take action if you want.”
A number of beacons can be placed around an area or building where they will then operate within their proximity. Beacons can be used to track devices, and their users, when within that proximity, and only after they have opted in.
Marketers can use beacons that connect to mobile devices to determine how long customers linger in a specific part of the shop, for example.
Where did beacons come from?
A variety of vendors manufacture and sell beacons based on one or both implementation standards. It is worth knowing that Google and Apple don’t make their own beacons.
Facebook for Business has made Bluetooth Low Energy beacons free for businesses who have Facebook pages – and these are designed to send information to the users’ phones about the business.