Up Close and Personal: Proximity Marketing Delivers Results


ADOTAS – A simple thought experiment demonstrates the power of proximity marketing. Imagine receiving a marketing message on your desktop with an offer for a discount on an item you plan to purchase. If you aren’t in the middle of something else and have the time and ink to print out the message, you might do so.

Now imagine that you receive a marketing message on your mobile phone with the same offer – when you’re in the store that sells the product. Your likelihood of taking advantage of the offer would probably be much greater than in the first scenario. In fact, an IBM study suggests that up to 72 percent of consumers will act on a call to action if they’re in sight of the retail location that sells the item or service.

This is the power of proximity marketing. And with smartphones becoming ubiquitous worldwide, Bluetooth technology enabling secure, permission-based messaging at no cost to the consumer, and a mature digital signage industry offering a ready-made message delivery infrastructure, the time has finally come for retailers to realize the advantages of a proximity marketing strategy.

These advantages go far beyond sales increases, though the potential upside on the revenue-generating front is considerable. Proximity marketing enables delivery of rich media messages in an intimate way that paper coupons or desktop email blasts can’t match, and consumers can easily share them with friends and family. Proximity marketing is easy on the environment, and consumers who opt in tend to be more tech-savvy and affluent.

However, the biggest advantage of all for retailers may be the instantaneous delivery of detailed metrics. The business intelligence that proximity marketing generates allows merchants to gain extremely valuable consumer insights and hone messages and offers to maximize responses in real time. Retailers can enjoy all these advantages at a pricepoint that is considerably lower than the cost of a traditional marketing campaign.

It’s important to remember that retailers aren’t the only potential beneficiaries of a proximity marketing revolution: Customers benefit too. Many shoppers fail to take advantage of discount offers because they just don’t have time to clip and save paper coupons or print out offers received via email. With proximity marketing, no foresight is necessary: Shoppers receive messages at or near the point of sale and can redeem discounts instantly.

Another advantage for consumers is the opportunity to participate in a process that results in targeted messaging designed to deliver real value to consumers. The insights merchants receive about consumers are used to ensure that the most relevant offers are delivered to potential customers at the right time.

In addition, proximity marketing can protect consumer privacy and alleviate spam concerns. A well-designed proximity marketing strategy that puts consumer privacy at the center of its design can leverage Bluetooth technology to deliver and send messages without ever harvesting, transmitting or analyzing sensitive user data. Despite user anonymity, retailers can still gain comprehensive audience insights while respecting consumer privacy.

Because it’s a boon for both retailers and their customers and makes use of existing tools – smartphones and digital signage networks – the use of proximity marketing is growing quickly. With its ability to reach consumers in an “up close and personal” way while keeping consumer data private, proximity marketing has the potential to revolutionize how merchants advertise and consumers find value.


  1. Recently, Von’s Grocery Store implemented a system which allows my rewards card to activate coupons- no more cutting or clipping.

    Most retailers I frequent honor any email offer if shown the email on the phone.

    I’m not sure how to improve on that for “proximity marketing”- it seems like all the smartphones, QR codes, etc. already offer this.

    Can you explain what’s different in what you are describing?


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