Molly Stovold
Molly Stovold 15 February 2021

How to Harness Data and Get the Most from Proximity Marketing

This post will take a look at what proximity marketing means in today’s climate (spoiler alert: proximity marketing went digital). It’ll also take a look at Kiehl's, a skincare brand, to show proximity marketing in practice.

As a teenager to earn a little pocket money I used to hand out flyers for the local retail stores in my town. The flyers would feature discount codes, promotions, and so on.

It was my job to be strategic about who I gave a flyer to, I’d ask myself; does this person appear to be a good product/market fit for the brand I’m promoting? Will they enjoy the product? And, more importantly… buy the product? 

It’s safe to say that handing out flyers was my first experience of mass rejection. It was also the first time I saw the value of proximity marketing. 

This post will take a look at what proximity marketing means in today’s climate (spoiler alert: proximity marketing went digital). It’ll also take a look at Kiehl's, a skincare brand, to show proximity marketing in practice. 

What is Proximity Marketing?

Proximity marketing is marketing targeted at the consumer at exactly the right time, in the right place, and with relevant and personalized notifications that are location dependent.

Also known as “hyperlocalization marketing”, proximity marketing involves targeting potential consumers with personalized ads. These ads are based on how close a consumer is to a specific location.

Ultimately, the ad has the objective of converting the prospect customer into a consumer of your product. Or, in many cases, the ads feature discount codes or vouchers to encourage the purchase of a specific product.

As I mentioned in the introduction, proximity marketing used to involve the distribution of flyers around a specified area/location. Nowadays proximity marketing has a different, more digital appearance and has various types. These types are briefly covered below, however, for a more in-depth explanation check out this blog: What is Proximity Marketing and How Does it Work?

Types of Proximity Marketing

A large number of technologies are being leveraged to implement proximity marketing campaigns. Each technology has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let's take a look at the most popular proximity marketing technologies:

  • QR codes
  • Wifi
  • NFC
  • Geolocalization
  • RFID
  • Beacons

As can be seen, the use of proximity marketing requires collaboration between technologies and marketing strategies to achieve efficiency (think of the “Martech” concept). 

How to Get the Most from Your Data

Thanks to technological advancements, the amount of information we now have access to allows us to maximize the efficiency of proximity marketing campaigns in a much more effective way.

An example of this is curbside geofencing. With the help of GPS and wifi, businesses can select and mark off a geographical area from a map and set up a digital barrier around it. When a customer comes within the selected area employees automatically get a notification when the customer arrives at the store. 

Businesses have also begun to use analytics dashboards. Analytics dashboards provide insight into a customer’s behavior as well as campaign performance. By using a dashboard you can evaluate each campaign based on various metrics like conversion, the number of button clicks, customers’ age and gender, and walking routes (think back to the previous point). 

By making the most of the data and getting to know your customers you can begin to anticipate your customers’ wants and needs. This information and data can then be used to ensure a product/ market fit for your brand in the future.

How to do Proximity Marketing

Mobile is one of the preferred devices for proximity marketing as they provide access to consumers’ social networks. Social media platforms are the most powerful channel to capture the attention of users when they are on the move (via the use of methods like geofencing).

In terms of how to go about actually reaching the users of these channels, one popular strategy relies on push notifications.  

By installing certain applications, you have access to the user data from the phones of your potential clients. This information includes demographic data and their locations. 

How do the ads and push notifications work?

Let’s say you detect that your buyer persona is in one of the locations covered by your paid media campaign. On learning this valuable information (through an app) you’d rapidly send a push notification to their mobile device via a channel such as social media.

The push notification would feature any product promotions your brand is offering, alongside discount codes, the store’s location, and so on.  

Proximity Marketing in Practice: Kiehl’s 

In recent years the retail scene has experienced an evolution focused on improving their customer experience using proximity marketing technologies. Marketers are beginning to realize the enormous potential of proximity marketing.

As an example let’s take a look at Kiehl’s:

Kiehl's is part of the L’Oréal group and has been running for over 160 years. It specializes in skincare, face, hair, body products, and body treatments. The firm has physical stores around the world, and a robust online platform. 

In 2018 Kiehl’s wanted to measure the ROI of digital campaigns in the offline world. Let’s take a look at their game plan (via their objectives and focus) and at the results of the project. *Disclaimer: this is a summary of the full report.

The objectives:

  • Measure the impact and value of Display GDN and SEARCH in-store sales 
  • Optimize the effectiveness of the brand's media
  • Digitalize the last phase of the funnel

The focus:

  • A digital strategy that allows for the offline return of digital media strategies
  • Implementation of a solution based on NFC technology in the same locations as the brand's physical stores.
  • Contextual “search and display" parallel campaign

The results:

  • More than 1,500 interactions at checkout were associated with a purchase
  • Around 30% of sales were made in a physical store, directly influenced by the digital campaign
  • 13% of physical buyers (as in not online) were directly impacted by a digital campaign focused on ecommerce

Kiehl’s conclusions:

  • The omnichannel consumer is a measured and measurable reality
  • Adapting the media and data strategy to the omnichannel consumer helps maximize ROI for impacts
  • The physical store is a key touchpoint when it comes to extracting audience insights and tailoring strategies

Useful Tools

There are two key tools to help make your proximity marketing strategy a success. The first of which is proximity marketing software. There are a number of different applications to choose from, including Bleesk App, NearBee, and Beaconstac.

The latter of which includes Beacons, NFC hardware, and QR codes. Ultimately the aim of a proximity marketing platform is to create and manage your marketing campaigns while also being a powerful analytics engine. 

The second tool is Process Street. Process Street is business process management software fueled by super-powered checklists. Let’s say you have QR codes, geolocalization, and beacons all up and running as part of your proximity marketing strategy- how do you keep track of it all? How do ensure employees deal with the data effectively by following SOPs?

By using a workflow app like Process Street. Process Street allows you to build, maintain, and optimize SOPs with software so that you can supercharge your standard operating procedures.

Wrapping up 

There you have it. By now you should feel well versed in all things proximity marketing. 

One thing is for sure: thanks to advances in technology and the digital transformation of proximity marketing methods teenagers will no longer have to spend their weekends handing out flyers and succumbing to mass rejection…thank goodness!

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