As children, we learned the golden rule in the context of interacting with one another. The notion of treating people around us like we desire to be treated became ingrained into our young and developing selves. That lesson is one that holds true not only in a kindergarten classroom but in business, too—especially in marketing.

In the past, retail marketers have developed their own version of this rule when determining messaging strategies: Understand how your audience consumes information and serve it to them the way they prefer.

Unfortunately, this adaptation only focuses on one half of the two-part messaging equation: how to receive plus what to communicate. In this case, all the attention is placed on how people want to receive messages. Advertisers have determined mobile is the clear winner.

But what about the second half previously left untouched. What about the message itself? What exactly do people want to hear from brands on their mobile phone? In the past, advertisers had to make assumptions about messaging and were forced to send it without the input of the consumer.

But a new technology is emerging that has dramatically changed this equation.

The World of Beacon Technology

Beacons allow advertisers to deliver customized messages on-site aimed at improving the shopping experience. Message customization is based on a consumers' preferences, previous shopping habits, location, and other data. With the help of beacons, messaging is woven into the larger customer experience, creating both interactive and relevant messaging—all at the time of purchase.

Beacon technology may sound like a thing of the future, but a BI Intelligence report projects that use will grow 287% to nearly five million by 2018. For many brands, the benefits of beacons are clear, and early adopters are starting to see the return.

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Dave McMullen is partner at redpepper, a full-service, integrated advertising and marketing agency that specializes in producing creative ideas that provide real results.

LinkedIn: Dave McMullen