Coca-Cola has taken a step closer to using beacons to turn location-based marketing on its head

It represents a major step toward Coke figuring out a role for beacons in its marketing mix, which is still shackled somewhat by its…

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There’s no question that a combination of location based marketing with gamification, effectively rewards for behavior, works.

The movie industry is in constant competition with everything from going to the beach, to sitting at home watching an ever increasing sized TV; and just like the music industry, it is becoming easier to view movies within a short period of their launch, without leaving your home to purchase or consume them.

This process appears to be designed to allay fears of invasion of privacy, but I’m not sure that is a big deal, because the only element that is different to other forms of cinema marketing really is the fact that they use the beacon to catch you at or near the cinema and as a means to collect your data so that they can ‘anonymously’ identify’ you when you are in proximity of the location where they want to make you another offer. In many cases the concept of privacy is now moot and in fact many of us would like relevant offers to our personal interests, location and time availability.

I’ve long been interested in using distressed inventory for proximity based campaigns and Gartner said this industry was poised to break out a few years ago in their Hype Cycle. The main reason it hasn’t in my opinion is simply because the industries, like the film industry have not yet applied themselves to disruptive technology. They continued to focus on core services, enhanced technology such as video quality, 3D, more expensive lounge environments and to some degree web based marketing though discount clubs and email lists. All old school technologies, despite the fact that their largest target markets are highly tech savvy people carrying powerful computers in their Smartphones.

I wonder if some of the benefit of technologies like beacons is more about the creative marketing people the vendors employ to tell the location based story, than the hardware itself, because  you don’t actually need 3rd party hardware to identify that someone who is using your app is at a location where you want to influence their buying behavior.

On my phone I have several apps such as Facebook and Swarm that already know I am at the theater. Any well built app could provide notifications to the device user to make them an offer based on their location without a piece of hardware to trigger the offer. Of course the beacon is probably housed inside a billboard so it stands out, but the point of this exercise at least is that you are already at the venue and they already have plenty of billboards.

Another element in favor of this exercise, whether it was with a soft drink manufacturer, pop corn or any other top vending consumable, is that those products have high profit margins and therefore using those at the venue makes it very cost effective for the cinema to reward people for coming, or coming again.

For Coke of course the desire is that the high profit margin beverage in their post-mix machines carries their brand, so they have a symbiotic relationship between the movie, the salt from the pop-corn to make people more thirsty and the venue itself.

This really is just a rehash of old school, but it has the potential to get certain demographics going to the movies more often. All in all though it is a relatively unimaginative use of location based marketing. It won’t save the industry or revolutionize it. The people they really want to catch are the ones who otherwise wouldn’t have gone to see the movie in the first place, but were in the proximity at the right time, are interested in the genre or the film and could be persuaded to make a purchase. Then of course there are the up-sell opportunities and gamification.

The best patron would be driving by, not intending to watch the film, but at a time that the application knows they have been to see films before. They get an offer which could be a free drink, a future half price ticket into the Gold Lounge to get them back or an instant upgrade for loyal customers (think frequent flyer), and they walk out with a branded bag with the movie sweatshirt or merchandise that they paid full price for.

The movie industry right now should take a look at companies like Uber. They are reinventing a segment of the transport industry. It still serves the same purpose as a conventional taxi, getting people from A to B, but they are even encouraging people to use their services when they may not have even intended to travel anywhere. The taxi industry is being seriously disrupted, in my opinion because they have not yet recognized that they have to change. If they think they are an essential mainstream service because people need transport, I suspect the senior executives at Borders thought the same. The fact is, more books are being sold and read now than when we still had their wonderful stores.

So it’s great to see this exercise happening, however a lot of these projects are simply campaigns that are then forgotten, often with little being learned. It’s a pattern. Each movie has a marketing campaign.

If the industry wants to survive and flourish, and it can, it needs to go a couple of steps farther and then keep innovating and developing relationships with its customers.

As I’ve said before, BAU or business as usual is a planned chart for a steady decline in any industry or business. What is happening in your industry? Are you going to make things happen, watch things happen, or wonder what happened?

See on Scoop.itLocation Is Everywhere

About Luigi Cappel

Writer for hire, marketing consultant specialising in Location Based Services. Futurist and Public Speaker Auckland, New Zealand
This entry was posted in beacons, Cinema, Gamification, GPS, lbs, location based marketing, Marketing apps and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Coca-Cola has taken a step closer to using beacons to turn location-based marketing on its head

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