The race is on to utilize mobile technology to both enhance the brick-and-mortar customer experience as well as the digital-out-of-home experience through near field communication (NFC) and Bluetooth-enabled beacons. A large number of smartphones and devices now come with NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 also known as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) or Bluetooth Smart already installed; and 2015 will see many new options for consumers in how they interact with brands and pay for merchandise. Brands are eager to create a customer experience that fosters loyalty and repeat business — whether in-store, online, or out-of-home — and are leveraging mobile tech like NFC and beacons (BLE proximity sensors) as part of their mobile marketing strategies.
While from a marketing aspect, many may tout the advantages of one technology over the other, NFC and BLE beacons can certainly complement one another within a mobile marketing strategy. The advantages of each lie in how they are used, essentially within push versus pull marketing strategies. Beacons are more suited to a push marketing strategy, with the message relationship being one to many: one beacon transmitting marketing messages, offers or information to all BLE-enabled phones within range with. NFC is more effective within a pull marketing strategy, with the message relationship being one-to-one: the consumer must actually respond to a call to action by physically “tapping” their phone to a tagged object (smart posters, etc.) to receive a message, special offer, or specific information about a product, demonstrating interest or intent.
Incorporating the right mobile marketing tools and strategies within an overall marketing plan is key to increasing the bottom line and attracting customers. And while these two technologies fit firmly into a push or pull methodology, there are specific considers to be aware of with each.
As location becomes more and more a part of mobile, technologies like beacons and NFC can provide highly accurate location data and intent.
About the Author:
Robert P. Sabella has 20+ years of legal and entrepreneurial experience and is considered one of the most innovative leaders in developing and bringing new technologies to market. He is the founder of the NFC Bootcamp™ training series and has recently co-founded the AccelerateNFC incubator program, dedicated to fostering start-ups in bringing NFC technology to the market. He is co-author of RFID+™ and a prolific writer and speaker on NFC and RFID.