Mobile marketing is about to take off. More and more teenagers are using mobile devices to access the Internet, according to a recent study by Pew Research. As this trend continues, more adults are expected to follow. The age of social media isn’t dead yet, but mobile may just overtake it. If you’re looking for ways to invest in a mobile marketing campaign, you’ve got a lot of choices. Some of them include some pretty innovative technologies.
Mobile ad networks have gotten so good that you can actually get people offline and into your store. Then what? You’ll need some kind of integrated payment system. Sure, people still use credit cards, but why not take advantage of the technology that brought the customer in the door.
Near field communication has been in the pipeline for a while, but 2013 could see the emergence of NFC systems everywhere. It works similar to Visa’s one-touch credit cards. The user sends data from a mobile device to a reader without ever having to dig out a piece of plastic.
With this tech, you can create coupons, discounts, and random giveaway contests. Expect this form of payment to increase over time. As more and more people adopt smart phones and more places switch to simpler systems that don’t require card readers and cards (that wear out). These systems simplify users’ shopping experience and generate less waste (since receipts can be emailed and filed electronically).
Digital marketing is about to come to the real world. You’ll probably only see it in bits and pieces this year, but augmented reality turns smart phones into a gateway between the Internet and the real world. It allows marketers to use a smart phone’s camera to “augment” a physical store.
For example, your customers can walk into your store, point their camera at the shelves, and augmented reality will display exclusive discounts or even show users what the product looks like when it’s out of the box. Want to see how a particular item works when you get it home? Augmented reality will do that before a purchase is ever made. Savvy business owners (i.e. you) could use that to create a storefront filled with hidden treasures.
Location services aren’t new, but they’re about to get an upgrade. A lot of marketing is about data and location targeting – especially if you run a brick-and-mortar business. Campaigns that target a specific demographic, and match up offers accordingly, always work best.
Now that GPS transmitters are standard on smart phones, you can integrate discounts, target ads using geo-fencing, and develop profiles for users based on their travel and location patterns. Imagine being able to create one-off specials for your favourite (or repeat) customers, integrate augmented reality into location services to target ads to people before they ever come into your store, and then present them with a demo of what they saw in the ad. Talk about powerful marketing.
You can also offer promotions or run contests for checking into your store. That means that you could increase foot-traffic by just placing mobile ads. This could be especially beneficial if you don’t receive a lot of natural foot-traffic (i.e. your storefront isn’t on a busy street) or if your other marketing efforts aren’t generating the traffic you’d like.
Alicia Bell is a web designer and mom. In her free time, she writes about technology news on various blogs.