Using Proximity-based Technology At Events

27 Sep

Proximity-based technologies provide brands unique opportunities both to interact with customers and deliver content straight to their devices. This article will cover the various different technologies, examples of their use, and how they can be incorporated when planning your own experiential marketing campaigns.


Creating A Bond

Experiential campaigns have become common in modern marketing strategy, joining content driven campaigns as the hot new commodity. This is due mostly to experiential marketing’s ability to develop a deep, emotional engagement between the consumer and the brand. By engaging the consumer and allowing them to interact and feed back into the experience, you leave your message embedded far deeper in their mind than with traditional, non-interactive practices. Proximity-based technology is the perfect way to add interactivity to a campaign, through both content delivery, as well as other, more campaign-specific methods.



Proximity-based Technology In Marketing


Most modern portable devices are capable of proximity-based communication in some form. Near field communication, for example, works by sending data over radio waves, similar to WiFi, however, NFC devices also have the ability to transmit to passive devices, this is how apps like Android and Apple Pay work. Another, perhaps more creative, example is Budweiser Brazil’s buddy cup. Through the use of QR codes and RFID chips, this cup is able to add another user as a Facebook friend when you clink cups with them.




The Opportunity Of The Internet Of Things

With over 42 million smartphone users in the UK according to Statista, this is clearly where the main focus of these technologies should be, after all, it seems foolish to wait for customers to search you out, when you can go out and get them. Enter beacons. Beacons act as geographic points, where a device which meets the appropriate criteria e.g. The corresponding app is present or the WiFi is connected to a particular network, the beacon will send a signal. This can range from a notification of deal offers, a tactic used by US supermarket giant Target in over 50 stores nationwide, to a small piece of content. Odeon cinemas uses the latter tactic to show consumers who scan film posters trailers and reminder notifications of when that film is airing.

In a more experiential environment, Volkswagen used proximity-based marketing, during their eyes on the road campaign, to send a message to cinema goers phones moments before the onscreen driver rides off the road. A powerful message, made all the more impactful by the added aspect of user engagement.




How it can work for you

Whilst these examples of advanced technology are impressive, by far the most important benefit of proximity-based marketing technology isn’t always immediately obvious, but from a marketing perspective, is a goldmine. Of course I’m talking about analytics, every time users engage through these proximity-based technologies, brands receive free data pertaining to the preferences of their customers, the time at which these locations are busiest, and who their most engaged demographics are.  If you’re stuck for ideas as to how best to incorporate these technologies into your events, here’s a few to get the ball rolling:


  • Sharing-based Loyalty Card:

    A system whereby consumers must share a piece of information on their social media channels, the location of the event or details of a running promotion for example. In return the consumer receives an appropriate reward depending on the level of their engagement, e.g. a cup of coffee for 1 channel and a T-shirt for 3.


  • A live Competition:

    This does not have to be a giveaway, if a brand is trialling multiple new variations of a product, a program which allows consumers to vote for their favourite, tracking results live, gives an added level of engagement. This, in turn, builds a deeper emotional engagement with the consumer, as well as providing reliable data on consumer preferences.

  • A “Second Screen” Experience:

    Similar to how Microsoft uses its smart glass technology to enhance Xbox users’ experiences, proximity-based technology can be used to give consumers an extra pool of information about a product or stand, cutting down on waste and allowing for physical installations to focus on aesthetics over information.


Key Takeaways:

  • Proximity-based technologies are the perfect vehicles for content delivery at events.
  • NFC technology allows devices to transmit to passive devices,  as with contactless payments.
  • RFID allows short range signal transmission which can be linked to digital actions, adding Facebook friends for example.
  • Beacons let brands deliver content to user devices once their device meets certain criteria e.g. it’s in range with the appropriate app downloaded.
  • The real goldmine of proximity-based technologies is the opportunity for mass, passive data collection. 


To find out more about emerging event technologies, check out our blog. Or, for those who are looking for a unique way to engage customers, perhaps using proximity-based technologies, contact us today to find out how we can help.