The excellent expansion of Big Brother
Welcome to the era of micro-location tracking! If you don’t know what it is, read on to understand how to use it to grow revenue for your business.
Essentially, micro-location tracking picks up where GPS tracking leaves off. Instead of using satellites and your smartphone to track you like GPS does, micro-location tracking uses hardware called “beacons” or “iBeacons” (Apple’s version of the technology) and your smartphone to track your location. It might seem like the same, however this technology tracks your location more precisely, especially indoors, which companies use to market to you more effectively.
For example, if you go to Target and walk into the diaper section, and have the Target “beacon” enabled app on your smartphone , an offer could (theoretically – using Target’s app) be pushed to you offering you $2 off of Huggies diapers. While you are walking around, algorithms are monitoring how close you are to an installed “beacon”.
If you are standing in the diaper aisle for longer than a minute, the algorithm assumes you are having a hard time deciding which diapers to buy and tells the beacon to send an offer to your smartphone with the store’s highest profit yielding diaper to make the decision easier for you, the consumer, and more profitable for Target. Poof! See, there are times that “Big Brother” can do something nice and it’s a good thing!
Even better, you can use this technology to increase the revenue and profitability of YOUR business.
- Buy beacons.
- Source a micro-location tracking technology provider.
- Provide more value to your customers.
Step one: Buy beacons. The more you buy, the more precisely you can track the location of your customers. Beacons are small (about an inch in diameter and as thick as a bottle water cap) devices that can be stuck just about anywhere. They communicate wirelessly with your customers’ smartphone using Bluetooth Low Energy technology. Beacons are able to detect nearby smartphones.
They cost about $40 to $80 per beacon. When purchasing your beacons, consider battery life , the longer the life the better. Beacons work best indoors as most smartphones can rely on GPS when someone is outdoors. You will need at least three to precisely pinpoint the location of your customer (if the technology your micro-location tracking provider uses triangulation to pinpoint the location of your customer).
Step two: Source micro-location tracking technology providers. Micro-location tracking technology acts as the bridge that connects information pulled from your beacons to your business’s existing app. It runs in the background so your customers never actually see it, but will notice new functionality in the app fueled by micro-location tracking technology providers services like mapping or offers pushed to your customers app.
You will be able to view the providers micro-location technology online, access services, set up offers ,and view analytics provided from it. To handle sourcing this technology, find a solid company with a proven track record tailored to your industry. Review a demo, call three of their references and make sure you see it working live in multiple locations.
Step three: Provide value to your customers. Just because we know that “Big Brother has expanded, and it’s a good thing!” doesn’t mean that you want your customers to feel like they are being watched by you as “Big Brother”. The key to ensuring customer confidence is to have your customers “opt in” to being tracked. Show them that they are receiving more value by allowing you to track their location.
Usually the older the demographic, the more sensitive to privacy concerns you will need to be. For example, if you own a senior care apartment complex, your first communication push to your residents should not be “Hi, I see you are in the gym! We just added new protein bars to the vending machine. Buy one now and receive a dollar off.” It could be perceived as creepy.
If you sent that message to a resident at a tech incubator hub with a younger target demographic, the same message would likely be perceived as cool. A more effective way to initially communicate with seniors would be to provide a mapping tool to help them get around their community more easily. Show value first and always make sure “beacon” micro-location technology is opt-in!
Finally, when making a new marketing investment measure your ROI. It can be difficult to do when rolling out in-app value ads, such as mapping functionality, but it can be measured when pushing location based offers to your clients and tracking the revenue generated from these offers. Ideally all the new information you learn about your clients using micro-location tracking will be used to understand each of your customers better and add to your existing data warehouse.