Proximity Marketing” is based on the physical possibility of seeing, speaking and touching – or “interacting”, thanks to new technology…
that has opened up a new world of possibilities. We often speak of Proximity Marketing (PM). The name seems new but its meaning is ancient: PM consists of the promotion a product or service in the vicinity of a store, with marketing tools used within short range in order catch the eye of the nearby public and stimulate the “impulse buying” mechanism. An example of this technique was once used by the newsboys, who would shout “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” to sell the afternoon papers, and the umbrella salesmen and the knife grinders who roamed the streets with their characteristic calls. This brings us to the concept of products and services promoted in the immediate vicinity of a store. The image of the cook in front of a restaurant, to give us the idea of “home cooking”, is a form of Proximity Marketing.
Today’s PM tools are a bit more sophisticated, thanks to technology and terms in English. For example, “digital signage” (one of the most common) is the term used to describe the large monitors that we see in supermarkets, announcing promotions, special offers, products or showing commercials. Even the “store radio” we hear while we shop is a form of PM.
But the most advanced and interesting PM technique is the use of Bluetooth technology, which allows you to receive free multimedia content on your mobile phone.
It seems tailor-made for conference events, and works as follows:
A transmitter finds everyone within a limited range (20-50 meters) with the Bluetooth function enabled on their mobile phones. On the mobile screen a message appears asking permission to download content for free, without needing to know the phone number. If permission is granted, in just a few seconds you will receive the content, which may be a short movie, a jingle, a gif image or a software application. If you deny permission system will not try again.
Minimally invasive, free, efficient and polite, but manageable: we know exactly how many people have accepted and received the message.
In the conference field, this technology has been successfully used as an instrument for marketing relationships, such as to send the participants programs, with slides and presentations by the speakers. It can also be used to send an invitation to pick up a gadget at the front desk, invite to visit the stand of the main sponsor during the coffee break, organize a treasure hunting team, provide information about the workshop that is about to begin, or to remind people about the gala dinner menu and give the profile of the chef during dinner and explain the dishes, their ingredients and the wines. You can come up with new and surprising uses for it, because in the end it comes down to communicating with your neighbors in a new and entertaining way, with content that is rich but without rhetoric.
You can also send a “time-bomb” message, such as a memo for the next event which will notify you a few days in advance, or Christmas greetings, which will arrive on the right day wherever you are. You can send any media content that can be received nowadays on any phone: a wide variety that inspires creativity and a sense of wonder.
At fairs and exhibitions you can use applications that are more practical and functional, but no less amazing, with the possibility of downloading the list of exhibitors, their contact information and their locations within the fair.
Another very entertaining and high-impact Proximity Marketing tool, is the technological and multimedia version of the old man sandwich. I will talk about it in another article, but for now I wish to emphasize the unique effectiveness of Proximity Marketing due to a mix of new technology and timeless human relationships. Because it is inevitable that a relationship arises from proximity – and the relationship is the basis of efficacy.