The Benefits of Proximity Marketing

Have you ever received a notification from your favorite brand or app about your  location and wondered how exactly it knows where you are?  Perhaps, you have even taken advantage of this feature and stopped in Starbucks to receive a drink at half off.  If so, then you have experienced the effects of proximity marketing.

Proximity marketing (or location based advertising) refers to any system that uses location based technologies to communicate and advertise with their customers.  Professor Rhoads describes it as, “localized wireless distribution of advertising content associated with a particular place, typically accessed through mobile phone.”

Furthermore, proximity marketing offers many benefits which Professor Rhoads explains to be:

  • Provide deeper engagement with your audience
  • Deliver ads that are relevant to the venue, demographics and unique needs of mobile users
  • Leverage engaging, interactive ad units
  • Develop solutions that fit seamlessly into your existing media campaign



In order to really grasp what proximity marketing is and how it is so beneficial to the marketing strategy of a brand, let’s examine a couple of successful proximity channels; Foursquare Swarm and Facebook Check-In.


Swarm is an app created and powered by Foursquare.  Essentially, Swarm is a social map that lets users check-in and find nearby friends.  Furthermore, every check-in will earn the user coins.  Collecting the most coins and finishing at the top of the leaderboard will earn the user prizes.  If you are familiar with Foursquare, then you know that Mayorship can be awarded to someone who checks-in to the same spot the most in a certain period of time.  However with Swarm, it is a little different.  Mayorship is still awarded, but instead it will be based on friend groups.  So, if the user checks into the same spot more than all of her friends in a certain amount of time then she will be appointed as mayor.

Businesses use Swarm (and Foursquare) for many different reasons such as: claiming the location, offering different specials, and also to promote local updates.  For example, explains that a restaurant could offer specials that allow friends to receive a free dessert if they all check-in on Swarm, or even 20% off a bill for having Mayorship at a particular spot.

It is clear to see how Swarm can help a business gain location awareness and attract customers with specials and coupons.  The location awareness that Swarm creates is especially helpful for new businesses trying to establish a presence in an area.

Similar to Swarm, Facebook Check-in also allows users to “check-in “to a particular place. On the other hand, explains that Facebook differs from the other proximity channels in that the user,

“can build money-off vouchers or both individual and group discounts. The user can choose how discounts are claimed (as in checking in a certain number of times) and how many times by it can be claimed. Charity offers can be created where donations are made based on the number of people checking in.”

Businesses use Facebook check-in to create incentive for individuals to visit a business by offering rewards and coupons.  For example, further explains that Nike used Facebook when it paired with a Korean taco truck out of Portland, Oregon.  They gave away “Destroyer Burritos,” or fake burritos stuffed with branded athletic jackets, to those who checked in on Facebook.  Moreover, Southwest Airlines also used Facebook for a holiday charity campaign. Southwest made a $1 donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation per check-in at any Southwest airport. Overall, the campaign ended up generating $300,000 for Make-A-Wish.


On a smaller scale, however, businesses can use Facebook to attract customers by offering discounts to its customers who check-in.  A local restaurant that just opened in Tampa offered all customers 10% off a meal if the customer simply checked-in on Facebook.  The advertisements for the restaurant kept appearing on my Facebook page and when I finally decided to check it out, I also decided to check-in on Facebook to get the 10% off.  It was a great way to raise awareness for the restaurant and attract customers in, it definitely worked on me!

Through my research on proximity marketing I could not help but wonder how it could apply to my client, Diesel Fitness. Facebook check-in would be a fantastic and easy way Diesel could take advantage of proximity marketing.

Diesel caters to and specializes in training professional athletes.  However, now that off season is over Diesel has a new target market until the next off season: high school athletes.  During this time Diesel shifts its social media marketing strategy more towards the high schoolers by advertising after school programs and summer camps. One way to raise brand awareness for Diesel (especially as they try to create a bigger following for their new Facebook page) is by having each high school athlete check-in to Diesel on Facebook in order to receive a free chiropractic adjustment. Diesel could even create a little more consistency to the plan and create a different deal each month.  It is a simple plan, but it could greatly benefit Diesel.  First, it creates location awareness.  Each time a high school athlete checks-in to Diesel it will appear on the newsfeeds of every friend of that athlete.  Ultimately, the Diesel location and logo will have circulated and appeared on the majority of newsfeeds for high school athletes within the Tampa area.  In addition, it creates incentive for the athlete to come train at Diesel.  Each time the athlete comes into train and checks-in on Facebook, a reward awaits.


In closing, proximity marketing is a relatively new element to a marketing strategy.  However, it is becoming a crucial element in that it reaps many benefits, such as location awarness and customer incentive. Perhaps, this is due to the rise of wearable technology, such as, iWatch.  People are so mch more connected with technology and it has become so easy for individuals to receive updates.  People nowadays do not even have to look at their phones to receive updates; instead a simple glance at their watch will provide more than enough information. Overall, especially with rise of wearable technology, proximity marketing is very effective in alerting individuals of deals and attracting customers to the business.



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