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Are You in the Dark About Beacons?

March 6, 2015 | Kelly Edwards

BeaconsDespite what Kevin Costner was told in Field of Dreams, even if you build it they still may not come to your exhibition stand. Sometimes you need to reach out to your audience in a way that is both meaningful to you and relevant to them.

Beacons are a great way to do just that.

What are Beacons?

Beacons use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to broadcast your advertising message to any Smartphone in a 70m radius* that has a synched app enabled – your app, or the event organisers app. The beauty of Beacons is that they target a specific audience, offering you an opportunity to engage with your potential customer base and to provide some exclusivity.

So what message might you want to send?

Beacons can create a buzz, turning an exhibition stand into a localised media event. This, of course, could be filmed and incorporated into future promotional activity on subsequent stands.

Beacon hot spots

By hosting your own beacon hot spot – where visitors have to stand in close proximity to have access to exclusive content and discounts – you can drive people to your stand.

There’s a great example on eConsultancy where ‘Ladies Night Hot Spot’ floor graphics were used throughout a shopping centre for visitors to get access to specific offers and discounts.

For exhibitors, hotspots can provide a great perk for visitors, but from your point of view, it also entices people to visit your stand giving your sales team an opportunity to work their magic.

Perhaps we’ll see more hot spots popping up around exhibition halls in the future!

VIP arrival

If you want to reward your loyal customers who have downloaded your app, a Beacon can detect their arrival, alert you and also send them a message to collect a VIP gift as a thank you.

This would also be a good opportunity to send them extra information to reinforce the messages that your on-stand staff will be telling them!

Just a fad?

Tests are still being conducted in retail and event markets to see how Beacons can increase engagement, but the initial results seem promising for marketers that are eager to dip their toes into the water.

John Lewis has clearly seen the light as far as Beacons are concerned. It has committed L100k to Localz, an Australian tech start-up, to develop this aspect of the technology, and plans to pilot the service in some of its stores in the future (read more about this story here).

All of which suggests, when it comes to embracing Beacons, exhibitors might want to make a stand!

* Beacons have a range of 70m to 100m depending upon location and environmental conditions.