Beacons Beckon ... No B.S.

Mobile Beacons are the new black. These cheap little things will be everywhere to "wake up" the right section of a mobile app that matches exactly where you are. 

Think about the value of instantly getting info on your phone about the product or service in front of you... then being able to take action, opt-in, share, purchase... skip a checkout line!

We have ideas, vendor selections, and lessons to share across all "Proximity Marketing" deployments - including this POV on Mobile Beacons ... Here you go:

Beacons are the answer to customer service at the right time and place while building individual customer knowledge and (only when appropriate!) increasing sales.

The goal is to use Beacon "touchpoints" of data to build a REAL profile of your customers and AUTOMATICALLY deliver relevant value at their points-of decision.

Here's the secret... with the right hardware/software platform, you can deploy a mobile marcom infrastructure stack out of your beacon-filled backpack. Cheap. Easy. Powerful.

A simply great use is by Walgreens - Customers were forgetting that they had been saving coupons. Beacons at the front door just automatically opens their App ... that's it. 

Beacons are the next land grab (literally) for the Internet of Things.

A Beacon can go anywhere. They do not need power because batteries last for years. They do not need internet connection since they merely transmit a signal that anonymously (!!) opens a mobile app that corresponds to that specific Beacon location. 
They are cheap enough that you should not let price distract you from imagining the many opportunities to manage employees and satisfy more customers. Each Beacon is only about $25. Since they are always getting cheaper ... think "free" with the right partner.

So... with a little box and some optional data integration, you can:
  1.  Automatically open the right section of a mobile App and engage
  2.  Provide real value with the right content at the right time and location
  3.  Help users find info so they do not need to hunt, click, and swipe for it
  4.  Deliver only relevant experiences by acknowledging user preferences
What should you do with Beacons?

Coupons, offers, and delivering deeper product info are all smart. But also consider the ease of facility management (what should happen where and when). Allocate Beacons for "passive data" not to interact, but only to count customers in key locations.. alert your sales associates about a customer service opportunity right now in the store!

Read how the Magic Kingdom VERY successfully tracks and loves you!
See a 1 minute overview of their RFID proximity service:

To quote GigaOm (RIP), "the best prospects for beacons in the near term may lie in venues such as amusement parks, museums, sports arenas, hotels,and mass-transit hubs. Venue operators can easily use beacons to deliver information users actually want in those kinds of scenarios, and that could pave the way for uptake of beacon-based (advertising and promotion) campaigns in retail settings."

Below are a couple of helpful videos... But first, some related buzzwords: 
VIP 3.0, Micro Geo Fence, Context for communication, Proximity Profiles, Predictive Customer Service, Wiser Wayfinding, a solution to Showrooming ... Digital Delivery for Analog Aspirations!

An overview from one of the vendors we select:

The market opportunity for retailers is huge... now:

Key (No B.S.) Details:

- -  Yes, you need an App to be triggered ... there is one near you (or in your near future).
- -  Yes, Bluetooth must be turned on ... but if the App is valuable, users will want to turn on this surprisingly low-battery-consumption feature
- -  QR codes and NFC are good - but require user to get up and touch or scan.
- -  GPS and Wifi are not better. Neither can pinpont your exact location and both require much more battery power and cannot trigger your phone to take action (you must be actively viewing and swiping). 

Almost half of all U.S. smartphones are currently enabled to connect to beacons using Bluetooth BLE 
(Android 4.3 and iPhone 4S or later). As people upgrade their phones, this is expected to grow to 80% over the next 18 months 

Having Beacons are not even necessary - ByteLight uses LED lighting!


Get the full range of opinions from videos of the sessions at Mediapost's first IOT:Beacon conference and their second conference... to learn about real world deployments by vendors, agencies, retailers, and the Brooklyn Museum. Here is the good intro overview panel. Another recent online event with more video sessions is BeaconConf (find speaker presos here). For an updated directory of Proximity Service Providers, see here.

The exciting challenge is to offer valuable content so consumers opt-in, continue to engage, buy stuff, and share with their friends. Abuse of this channel is as likely as you see in all media.... only worse since the mobile phone is such a personal and important part of our lives.

Digital data feeds are the key. The more relevant the better. Can you deliver live, dynamic info related to a specific location? However, you can easily setup relevant content in advance that matches what you want to offer a customer in a specific location... and on their CUSTOM TOUR (I am yelling because this individualized service is what Beacons are best at).

Security and privacy are on the top of our list. We harness military-grade encryption and make sure that spoofers don't hijack anyone.

If you use the right Campaign Management System, the right data is easy to deliver to the right person at the right place. FYI, we have tested and chosen the best CMS.

Ready to play?

Everywhere... like here and here ... and wherever your prospects are...

(Thanks for the images Creative Commons Nitro, BII) 

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Hot Spot Parking is .... Hot.

HotSpotParking uses mobile phones to make paying for parking easier and valuable to a community. More consumers will enjoy their downtown parking (and buying) experiences.

Businesses pay for in-store Mobile Beacons for automated customer dialogue and to provide VIP services - like free parking - that encourage shopping.

Cities get a free management platform... Everybody wins!

Since, 99% of Mobile Apps are only used once... the hard part is to provide enough value in an App so that it is used... and becomes a communication channel. 

So, here's the point, people will download and use an App to pay for parking... and love it when local merchants treat Beacon-triggered customers like VIPs and automatically engage through the App... and now (easily) pay for a customer's parking to keep them in store!

Learn more about Mobile Beacons HERE

Check out a few slides for details:
This square with the arrows makes it bigger  ^^^

We are also in partnership with big city solutions like

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Mobile Beacons connect consumers to merchants for automatic VIP treatment 
and an ongoing relationship building platform

Mobile Selling - Who, What, and Howler

   Howl-er   \ˈhau̇-lər\  
                   Noun, adjective, verb, etc.

   To yell or cry out without restraint.

   To share with strong impulse. 

You know that your best customer is the one in your store. Howler (at has a real solution to getting more of the right customer where and when you want them. 

Howler has a free mobile App that people will actually use to hear about the stuff they want... at the moment when they can get it ... in front of the right store ... right in front of them. 

This is one of those "smart" Apps that gets more valuable the more you use it. Simply set up the filters to ONLY tell you about what you want and when - the App notifies you when you are near it. Anything such as: meal-time deals that fit your diet, gift choices for Mom's birthday this weekend, Guinness on tap!

These are most welcome howls!

The real magic of their business model is that the store ONLY pays when someone walks into their store. A simple "cost for action" ... and that is worth howling about!

More soon...

Cool & smart ... inspred by Ogilvy Digital Labs

Ogilvy has it going on in NYC at the launch of their Digital Labs with some of the most forward thinking and valuable new media service providers... 
Aerva was center stage during the entire presentation, providing:
  • Multi-framed video with interactivity from any phone
  • Content management of any Web content to any screens
  • Live polling and instant display of results
  • Txt 2 Screen, Twitter 2 Screen, Pic 2 screen, Social 2 Screen!
  • Reply back to participant's phones for automatic engagement and lead generation with calls-to-action, coupons, links, and any media
Here is an overview montage of Ogilvy Lab participants in action:

More Cool & Smart Partners: uses Beacons to connect your Mobile with... Everything! makes a magazine ad into a kid-tracking Beacon

Simple Augmented Reality Demo. AR engages and ads value

TrendHunter says ... Beacons, Sensor Reality, Clairvoyant E-Tail ...!

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My secret to one more happy customer

Dorothy and her posse needed help.

They relied on one crazy dude behind a curtain... it worked. Trust was built.

I have been using a whole team of crazy dudes and dudettes that have earned my trust with my online customer care.

So, as promised, I share the best services that I rely on... Business Plus One is worth sharing. See below for what they do and the ROI they deliver.

BPO has been tweaking the answer for a couple of years (mostly with hundreds of Planet Fitness locations). And now they are unveiling the best model for successfully managing and making money from Online Marketing, Search, and Social Media ... this is ... providing BOTH a great team AND a great technology platform to manage all of my online marketing. 

They are my secret team behind the curtain
for multi-location marketing nirvana.

See their 3 phases below - you need #1 and #2 before you reap the benefits of #3. Check out how they respond to and find LOCAL sales opportunities in YOUR conversations already happening across the Web...

Phase 1 - Create and Cleanup - We consolidate, merge and create the social media channels for every one of your locations. Each needs a single Facebook Places page, updated branding, cover photos, logos and tabs. We claim them under your own corporate email. We do the same for Google+/Maps, FourSquare, Bing and more. We make sure the hours of operation, location and links are accurate.
Results/ROI - Planet Fitness experienced a 40+% improvement in both traffic from better search engine optimization and online joins.
Phase 2 - Manage - Using our proprietary software, we connect all of those Facebook pages into one central dashboard where we can now see all incoming comments, respond to customer inquiries and post corporate approved messages, campaigns and branding. We provide access to each of these pages to franchisees through a password protected area of our software where they can post to their pages, but held in queue until we approve them to provide consistency in the branding and messaging. We would dedicate staff to your brand, train them to be capable of handling customer service inquiries and to answer basic requests.
Results/ROI - At Planet Fitness, Facebook Likes improved from 85k to over 1.1 million, YouTube views from 0 to over 10 million, Monthly reach on Facebook now exceeds 100 million
Phase 3 - Promote - Now that the infrastructure is built, we now have the ability to highly target customers at each location (Microtargeting). We build text, display, video and social media advertisements specific to each location and designed to advertise only to those in the geographic area who best meet the target demographic criteria.
Results/ROI - Planet Fitness now exceeds $800k in ROI from an advertising spend of less than $40k per month which is paid mostly by franchisees.

You know it works because I am "one more happy customer" sharing with you. Give me a call (617-331-7852 or and I will tell you how happy I am that I got the courage to test and invest in BPO... yeah, I couldn't resist...

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Let's take it to the slopes!

As many of you know, I am an avid skier and an apres-ski expert in training... this is a great market...
So... let me tell you about a cool gig that I had for the last 2 years that combines my friend's and family's passion with my career goals of integrated marketing and Digital/Mobile experiences. I am adding interactive services and technology partnerships to a media network at over 1000 destinations worldwide.

- If you ski or snowboard… let’s go! I have some cool tech and hidden powder to share.
- If you don’t … let’s get you started with a little “apres-ski” and some beautiful views.

Sure, we can talk about getting away and into nature for exercise and bonding with your buddies. There is a REAL need for getting out of our ruts and finding the healthy balance around all our responsibilities these days.

We will certainly share the marketing value of such an ideally positive, uncluttered environment for brands to participate and add utility to these fun-loving, receptive, mobile-obsessed “upscale actives” … yeah, a pretty good audience

Please check out what our teams in the US and Austria are up to at our Blog and News - - you will see the two taglines defining our mission: 
Advertise where they Play … and … Minds Open On The Mountain

Check out our new presentation for advertising and promotions:

Check out our new safety initiative across all seasons:

I look forward to our chat (preferably on a chairlift) about the lessons we are learning as we focus on how to really engage ANY audience. Skiers just happen to be a lot of fun.

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What (Really) Motivates Us

Dan Pink's whiteboard presentation is a compelling 10 minutes... 

Check out Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us.

The answer is ... Autonomy ... Mastery ... Purpose

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Jack Sez - Get Out!

Last week I was out at the Connect Conference for the Out-of-Home Industry.  Jack Myers (in the Bob Dylan t-shirt) knows how to MC the truth! My tweet: Out Of Home ad industry has been going digital and ready for Mobile @jackmyerscom #connect2014 #ooh 

The other Jack (Sullivan) from Starcom Mediavest is urging the industry to employ "Digital Designers" (nice term).

They talked about Mobile being a friend or foe... since it's obviously at the center of our world (particularly OOH), Mobile needs to be our best friend. The answer is in testing Mobile Marketing vendors and partners across all Media. They are starting well (but slow) with projects like the Gap's Mobile geo-fencing local bus shelters.

"Convergence is here (again)... this time between OOH and Mobile." (Heberle)

If you want more coolness that actually sells stuff (of course you do), ask me about the tech we are having the most success with ...  

Here is a great slide from Greg Stuart of the Mobile Marketing Assoc reminding us about the consumer's multimedia Path to Purchase (click to enlarge)...

The next most popular topic: Changing an "old school" media industry is...

Here is a nifty overview from the exceptional judges of the best of outdoor OBIE Awards 2014....

History is Bunk... Now is really cool

The first bumper sticker should have been "History is bunk."

In 1916 Henry Ford,  said, "History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present, and the only history that is worth a tinker's damn is the history that we make today."
Pepsi is not necessarily making history... but they are messing with now in a fun way...


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