How Local News Publishers Can Score With Proximity Marketing

Share this:

Equipped with their smartphones, today’s consumers do their research, compare products and prices and make their buying decisions on their way to or inside a store. For competing retailers, this is the moment for “proximity marketing” — sending those consumers a “buy” message that lights up the device in their hand or pocket or purse.

Because it’s so direct and more cost-effective than traditional ways for brick-and-mortar businesses to reach consumers, proximity marketing is becoming increasingly popular. According to the 1st-quarter 2017 Proximity Directory Report, from Unacast, 75% of top retailers today are using proximity technologies — primarily store-based beacons. Globally, nearly 14.5 million sensors of all types have been deployed by merchants trying to halt the steady erosion of sales to Amazon and other Web-based retailers.

In this Q & A, James Ewen, marketing manager at UK-based proximity-marketer Tamoco talks about how local news publishers can benefit from this trend:

Major brick-and-mortar retailers are big into proximity marketing. But what about the smaller retailers that are the bread and butter of community-based news providers?
While large retailers are deploying their own hardware, this is not necessarily a requirement for smaller retailers to enter the proximity space. In fact, Tamoco takes a network approach to proximity marketing. This means that our proximity network takes advantage of the strategic proximity partnerships and the sensors that come with this, meaning that small publishers and retailers don’t have to deploy them themselves.

We currently have millions of proximity sensors on our network, allowing proximity marketing and the associated insights to be accessible to the smallest of publishers and individual retail stores.

What should community news providers be doing to stay on top of proximity marketing, including what kind of content they provide and what audiences they target? What role does Tamoco play here?
For publishers, the current climate consists of declining print circulation, rising consumer demand for free content and the issue of ad blocking. In terms of advertising, this means that a solution must place responsible, contextual advertising at its center.

To stay on the top of their game, publishers should be embracing new technology that aims to create a better relationship between advertiser and consumer. Marketing and advertising tech has advanced quickly in recent years.

Publishers should focus on the implementation of data services and understand the growing value of consumer events. This data can inform audience segmentation and help determine the most effective kinds of content. This is value generating for the end user, which benefits both parties.

What role do notifications play in your service?
Notifications provide advertisers with the ability to reach the end user at the most relevant moment. The importance of this should be understood in the today’s environment of growing ad blockers and the increased resistance towards bad advertising. Contextual notifications can help to facilitate good advertising and create value for the end user.

The push notification is an instant, contextual message for the end user based on many different factors. But, an important feature of this kind of advertising is the data that it generates around audiences. It’s possible to learn and adapt content, as well as delivery, based on this data. For publishers this provides a channel that is effective, cost-efficient and value generating.

Swirl is a major provider of proximity marketing services to retailers. What’s your relationship to what Swirl does?
Swirl helps physical retailers to reach their customers in much the same way that we do. We have partnered with many PSPs (proximity solution providers) similar to Swirl. These partnerships allow advertisers and publishers to use the sensors that companies like Swirl have deployed. We offer insights into the interactions that occur in PSP campaigns and attempt to create a network which connects the offline retail experience with the online consumer journey.

Swirl helps its advertisers reach their end users effectively, as do we. The difference is that we aim to aggregate insightful data points from multiple PSPs to create a more revealing picture of what goes on in the offline world and give publishers access to these insights, to create a better kind of advertising.

Tamoco acquires customer attributes and behavior from personalized shopping journeys tracked by wifi, beacons and geo-fencing. Can your publisher clients use that data to build better relationships with their users?
Proximity marketing facilitates location based retargeting and audience data can deliver important insights into consumer preferences. This allows publishers to deliver unique, contextual marketing, to engage and retarget users.

Tomorrow’s successful media publications will learn in real-time the most effective content, and how different kinds of content will affect various audiences. The future of publisher content involves leveraging mobile location signals and understanding consumer trends to provide marketing that creates value for the end user and breeds trust and value between publisher and audience. It’s important that publishers think of themselves as a platform which can help open meaningful conversations between advertisers and community.

The cost of advertising (bad advertising in particular) is a growing concern among publishers and advertisers. Income-generating advertising may not be worth the revenue it generates if it’s not helpful, relevant or value-generating. Proximity marketing helps to solve this problem by understanding what is relevant for each user and establishing contextual advertising.

To benefit from the growth of proximity marketing, what kind of investment do publishers needs to make in technology to get maximum benefit?
Publishers need to ready themselves for the emergence of location data as a viable source of income. Publishers with a dedicated app can help offset the decline in print revenue with the income from app-generated location signals, especially around how content is consumed. This will then provide the end user with a better content experience.

For publishers without the luxury of a dedicated mobile app, it’s important to invest in proximity network that will help create valuable connections with their audience and understand their behavior. Generally, the more sensors the better, as this means more points of interest to deliver advertising, understand audiences and get feedback around content delivery.

If local news publishers stay current with what’s happening in proximity marketing, can it become a major new source of revenue for them?
Publications can in this way become a source of meaningful dialogue with consumers without disrupting them.

If publishers with their own app would like to facilitate relevant third-party campaigns then it’s possible to generate significant revenue. However, a significant income generator is the data that is a product of these campaigns. Publishers can take advantage of these signals by monetizing without the pressure or worry of delivering advertising that won’t distance their audience.

What’s the next big thing in proximity marketing — and how might it affect local news publishers?
As cities become smarter and proximity sensors become even more widely integrated into all walks of life, publishers will be able to understand the offline world better than ever before.

This means adapting content in real-time, based on highly detailed contextual data which goes much deeper than just location. Publishers will be able to understand news stories as they are happening and will possess the ability to segment content based on when it is most effective and on quantifiable evidence.

Tom GrubisichTom Grubisich (@TomGrubisich) writes “The New News” column for Street Fight. He is editorial director of hyperlocal news network Local America, and is also working on a book about the history, present, and future of Charleston, S.C.