Unless you were living under a rock in 2016, you couldn’t miss all the buzz about proximity marketing. We’ve watched brands and retailers spend gobs of money and jump through hoops to make that divine connection between their consumer’s location, shopping habits, and their ever growing love affair with their smartphones.

According to eMarketer, 78% of marketers have increased spending on location-based mobile advertising over the past year. Furthermore, studies also show that by 2022, spending on proximity based marketing technologies will reach $53 billion dollars. With the increasing shift from traditional marketing to mobile marketing, there is still an enormous amount of opportunity for brands and retailers to effectively target their shoppers when it matters the most.

So, what have we learned? A lot for sure, but there is still so much we’ve yet to learn. To help us continue down that path, we’d like to take a look back at some of the developments and stories that shaped where we stand today and what they portend for the road ahead. We put together our six most favorite articles, in no particular order, around retail, mobile and proximity marketing in 2016. Our hope is that you have a better understanding of how proximity marketing is not necessarily a one-size-fits-all, and can work for you in the year to come.

1.VB: New report shows marketers missing vast majority of mobile engagement opportunities

VB teamed up with Forrester Research to identify some of the mobile opportunities that most marketers were missing and give us an IDEA of how to fix it. With Forester’s IDEA framework, marketers can:

      • Identify the best mobile moments to capitalize on
      • Design and choose the most relevant content based on the consumer
      • Engineer the messaging to hit the consumer at the right time and
      • Analyze the performance of your campaigns.

It’s kind of a “duh”, but kudos to Forrester for creating a fun little acronym for us to use and reminding us why we must not miss the crucial moments to engage our consumers through mobile to deliver something they will find value in.

2. RetailDive: 5 tech trends that transformed retail in 2016

It seems like a top trend in 2016 for retailers was to create better interactions and stronger relationships with their customers. Aside from Artificial Intelligence and  Virtual Reality technology breakthroughs, we particularly liked the transformation of Chatbots and Personalization. The Chatbots are kind of a reinvent from some of the functions retailers have
used in the past through their mobile apps. Take Sephora for example. Through their Chatbot, beauty enthusiasts can book a makeup consultation at their nearest Sephora retail location through the Sephora app, while the color match assistant offers a shade matching extension that allows shoppers to scan an image of a color and then instantly match it to a lipstick or eye shadow color in Sephora’s inventory. Sephora is killing 2 birds with 1 stone. Getting shoppers in-store for a makeover and providing them with the opportunity to purchase the “Girl Gang” plum lipstick they just matched their favorite scarf color to is pure genius.

3. Forbes: How To Use Location To Power Smarter Mobile Moments

The big L word. Location. Forbes dives into the differences in targeting shoppers in New York versus targeting shoppers in New York who are walking into a RiteAid on 5th Ave to purchase deodorant. Most brands and
retailers want to make their marketing dollars count and hit the bullseye when it comes to targeting shoppers with what they want, when they want it and where they want to buy it. Whether it’s through an app, social media or push notifications, Forbes reminds us that we must not be afraid of the L word but, use it to our advantage to power the most effective hyper-targeted mobile campaigns.

4. New York Times: Clicks to Bricks: Online Retailers Find the Lure of a Store

Ecommerce continues to boom. Yet, on the contrary, physical stores are still vitally important, says the New York Times. Shopper’s want to feel, try on, and directly see what they’re about to make an investment in. Yes, we can blame ecommerce for certain brick-and-mortar’s closing their doors. However, and fortunately enough, that didn’t stop certain brands and retailers from putting their thinking caps on and using their online retail space to develop innovative pop-ups and ways to get their fare share of foot traffic. The article reports that online sales in the United States will reach nearly $394 billion this year, a number representing less than 12 percent of total retail sales, or a total $3.4 trillion however you want to look at it. But, web-influenced sales (search on mobile, buy in store)  in physical stores are expected to account for an additional $1.3 trillion, or about 38 percent of all retail sales. Step aside ecommerce, in-store shoppers are back.

5. LinkedIn: Intent is the Next Big Thing in Digital Marketing/Advertising

Mobile is here and everywhere. I can’t imagine my life without it (sad, but true). No matter what I need or what I want, I can access it on my iPhone in literally seconds. This evolving type of impulsive behavior, thanks to mobile, is ultimately what is driving the advertising industry today. In Brian Solis’s article, he gives a comparison of two physically, and comically speaking, different individuals. Yet, he shows us that though these two individuals may look and act different, they have the exact same demographics. Solis explains that decisions today are made in micro-moments and based on intentions, not demographics that most marketers are used to using when targeting customers. More so, he encourages marketers to “be there” and “be useful” in these moments. Specifically, if you have engaged your consumer, consider ways to be useful whether it is through providing local product availability information or even how-to videos.

6. GeoMarketing: Great Expectations — Is Your Proximity Marketing Measuring Up?

Say you have already implemented a proximity marketing program into your marketing plan. That’s great and all, but how are you measuring the success of it? Are you getting the results you hoped or set out for? Are you even getting results? In most cases, marketers are still relying on impressions, click through rates and foot traffic – basic analytics that are becoming increasingly more faulty. In this GeoMarketing feature, ShopAdivosr’s very own, Jeff Papows, delivers a set of questions that every marketer, who is using proximity marketing, should be asking themselves. Papows also explains how important a pre-campaign lift analysis can truly be for providing very specific and measurable data to determine the effectiveness of any campaign. This is a must-read for any brand, retail or agency professional!

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