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Monday, January 29, 2007

IdeaBar: "Beaconvertising" And New Social Media Phones

I2m_samsung_buddybeacon1_2 This post is not about the iPhone.  You might have heard that many people believe the latest innovation from Apple will not only revolutionize the mobile phone industry, but maybe even the future of mobile marketing.  Whether it does or doesn't, in the short term, it's easy to forget that ideas for innovation may come from elsewhere.  The Helio from Samsung is one of those kinds of products.  The interface and look of the phone is not necessarily unique.  Yet built into the phone are a range of smart features, from integrated support for MySpace Mobile, to full screen landscape video viewing.  The feature that I found most interesting, however, was the built in GPS.   

A core feature of this GPS service is something they have called the "Buddy Beacon" - a way of broadcasting your location to friends so you can find one another at any time.  This idea of the beacon is a powerful concept with many other applications.  Rather than most maps which rely on street addresses and turn by turn directions, the beacon can be a marker of location that offers a visual way for someone to find you ... or find a location.  It's a portable homing device.  What if retail stores could use this beacon concept for marketing?  The idea of "Beaconvertising" simply refers to the idea of broadcasting your location to customers in a way that helps them find you in the real world.  Now think about all the situations where as a consumer all you need is the closest location of something.  The closest place to buy diapers - the closest place to rent a movie - the closest place to fix a flat tire ... the list is endless.  These are purchase decisions made largely based on location - yet there are still only rudimentary ways to get this information on mobile devices. 

I should also point out that Beaconvertising is not just for the future - Business 2.0 reports in this month's issue about a few advertisers and campaigns, including an effort from Saturn to help customers locate their nearest dealership - that are finding ways to use Google Earth and MSN's competing services to drive users to their physical locations.  Jeff Goodby notes in the article that he believes "every retail chain will eventually do this."  As GPS phones become more common - the range of uses will continue to grow as well.  Keep your eye out for Beaconvertising through GPS - it just may become the next killer app (and opportunity for marketing) on the mobile phone.  Take that, iPhone.

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Comments

Great post, Rohit! I wrote about something very similar last Friday in my social media blog (see URL above). I hadn't heard the term "beacon advertising" before, but I discussed the concept in my predictions for mobile in 2008. This is the future of mobile advertising. Given the small amount of real estate on mobile phones, advertising will need to be relevant and targeted in order for advertisers to pay for it and consumers to put up with it/ use it. Mixing opt-in advertising with LBS and social networking is a winning combination for consumers, operators, and advertisers.

I prefer beacontising to beaconadvertising. Anyone else?

We have an interesting controversy brewing on our site with a lively dialog regarding Clear Channel removing a billboard advertisement we had placed. We are interested in your opinion if you can find the time to visit: www.msco.com/blog/mark-stevens-vs-warren-buffet
Thanks,
Chris Kieff, Editor Unconventional Thinking

Very interesting post, Rohit!

Beaconvertising seems to be the next logical step as more companies use mobile devices to help their communities find and get to their locations much easier.

Your concept of business locations showing up could also allow users to 'subscribe' to a companies location point. This way, the user who has that point could be notified if a sale is going on while they're nearby, if a special event is occuring, etc. This also works out quite nicely with an idea that your post gave me which I call Personal Maps (my blog should provide a trackback from the post that expresses the idea).

I would like to point out that location based bush data marketing are not too popular. Though there are success stories, but they have become too sporadic to take as base point. Though your ideas are quite unique but its popularity will have be tested as market share for the GPS based phone worldwide are still in single digit.

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Thanks..
Nes Billy..

hi! I'm a spanish student and I'm doing some work on marketing, more specifically on Beaconvertising. There is not much information on that subject. It might be kind enough, if you have time to spend some information on Beaconvertising?
Thanks for everything and I feel sorry for my bad language.

Hi, nice info. Mobile marketting is something that i am also looking into and the beacon method certainly sounds like more and more companies will be getting into this. To be honest i just dont know where to go from here. I will keep track of this site to see if you post any more informative information which will guide us though this process.
kind regards

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