With any new technology there is bound to be some trial and error. It takes a few brave souls to try something out in order for the rest of us to learn from their successes and, well, failures. We’re not naming names here, and we owe our sincere thanks to these courageous marketers who’ve shown us all the ways to blow it with iBeacon-enabled marketing programs (and how you can avoid them).

  1. One-Size-Fits-All Messages – in some cases, sending a mass message to the audience in your iBeacon’s vicinity is warranted. But if your goal is to use iBeacons to enhance your visitor’s experience and build a deeper relationship with them, why not target messages for them and show them relationship is your goal?
  1. Creepiness – inherent with any technology like iBeacons, there is an element of creepiness, whether it’s true or not. The fact is that iBeacons detect devices, but they do not track people. Plus, it cannot communicate with users unless the user downloads a compatible application. It should be said that with this kind of data comes the temptation for marketers to use it in a creepy way. This is a bad idea. See the data your users give you as a way to get to know them and communicate with them in a way that is most relevant and HELPFUL to them.
  1. Wrong/Outdated Notifications – if your communications are timely, or are structured around a specific date or holiday, make sure you are staying on top of which ones are in queue to make sure your users get the right, updated information when they need it.
  1. One-Way Communication – the opportunity that iBeacons and iBeacon-enabled applications provide to marketers is the ability to learn about their customers. Give app users a way to respond to offers, accept or decline messages and give their feedback to you. This will help you form future communications and make the conversation truly two-way.
  1. Too Many Notifications – it’s natural that when you see something is working, you’re reaction is to do more of it. Sending more notifications to your iBeacon-detected users is probably not the answer. Instead, send better notifications – ones you know the user will really appreciate (see #8).
  1. Push Your Own Agenda – so there was an error in shipping and your store received double the number of camouflage pants as you ordered, so you use iBeacon-enabled marketing to try and sell them to everyone who walks in the door. This is called advertising and is the least effective way of communicating with your app users. Sure, if they’re by the “pants” isle, suggest camouflage, but if they’re shopping for bedding, don’t push the camo, help them find coordinating pillows.
  1. Undefined Strategy – marketing with any technology without a strategy is risky, but it’s especially true with real-time marketing. It’s essential to know what business goals you’re looking for with your in-app marketing program before you start pushing notifications. Flying blind will end up hurting mobile engagement, while meshing user goals and business goals will deepen the relationship and make your in-app marketing program more effective.
  1. Seeing Mobile as Another “Advertising” Channel – it is a mistake to think that what works for broadcast, print or even banner or search advertising will work in-app. The opportunity for marketers with iBeacons is the use of context – knowing what your user base would find useful and knowing when to deliver it. New technology or not, people are good at tuning out advertising. You put a lot into your application, make sure you’re using it to it’s potential.
  1. Stepping Backwards into Interruption Marketing – we’ve come so far! Let’s not go back. iBeacons and in-app marketing is not a new mass marketing channel where we can blast people with our marketing messages. It’s a new way to connect with our user base and serve them content that is helpful and purposeful.

What we, as marketers, must never forget is there are real people holding those mobile devices. People who can, in an instant, hold down your app with their thumb and…poof. If it’s deeper engagement you seek, let that drive your in-app marketing programs and you’ll see greater results.

Need a plan for getting more out of your mobile application? Contact us.


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