Its not often we get overly excited about new products and concepts, but luckily it happens now and again. In a chat with a Irish acquaintance I was introduced to a little gadget from a Canadian company that did exactly that. Got me overly excited. A little thing called Royaltie Gem. And after a couple of days with online research I was convinced that this is the next big thing and a blessing as a marketing tool for small businesses. I put in an order almost straight away.
What is a Royaltie Gem
Or the Marketing Gem as we like to call it. The marketing gem is a small little beacon, a transmitter, that broadcasts a signal in a radius of (in this case) 100 yards. These signals are received by android smart phones, via Bluetooth technology and converts the signals into notifications on the phone. (I don’t know too much about the technology, so there might be some faults in my explanation. The end result is right, tho.)
Okay, Bluetooth and beacons, and what’s called near field communication and proximity marketing is nothing new. The technology was used by chain store back in 2009. You had to download an app and received offers and coupons on your phone while you were in the stores.
And it works. A Norwegian mobile provider Netcom tested the effect when their subscribers was near selected stores and received, via their mobile application, a discount coupon on the phone. Nearly 40% of the clients that received the message went into the store. And as many as 50% of those who read the message used the offer the offer they received. According to a case study made by InMarket the consumer reached via beacons are 19 times more likely to do a purchase then those who is not reached via beacons.
The concept was, however, not a huge success since consumer engagement was limited to those who downloaded the dedicated app. And people was getting tired of downloading an app for every occasion.
We forward to December 2016. Google tweaks the technology and now the signals received can be translated into readable messages on android phones without the use of a specific app. Awesome!!
But what about Bluetooth?
Surely nobody is using Bluetooth. In 2009, no. Then it was only used by very few. But since 2015 the usage has exploded, along with new products that hit the market. Sports watches, activity bands, smart watches, VR glasses, action cameras, headsets, the so called wearables are connected to phones via Bluetooth. Hands free in cars – Bluetooth. Playing music from your phone on speakers on the beach or in your living room – Bluetooth. And many new product will be launch with Bluetooth technology, since “everything” has to be connected in this day and age.
What about beacon?
A beacon is just a small transmitter, and some smart people has been able to reduce the since smaller then a Zippo lighter. A mobile phone could, in theory, be a beacon. It already have the transmitter and technology. (Otherwise, you couldn’t use the phone to pay with your mobile wallet at the local shop, I guess). Or NFC as it is called.
Small beacons has been offered for around € 10,- Chinese online store for a while already, but what to do with a beacon if you know nothing about programming? Its almost like having a desktop computer without an operating system. This is where the Royaltie Gem from Canadian comes in. You pay a monthly fee for the usage of the Royaltie Gem system for about € 20/$ 25 a month. When you sign up for a subscription you’ll get a beacon in the main and you log in to the Roayltie Gem website to create your message. You can change you message once a day. The notification sent out is limited to 40 characters included a web link. And the gem transmits 24/7. That’s marketing for under € 1/$ 1 a day!
Brilliant marketing tool, right!
A restaurant can broadcast it’s “daily specials” to “all” passers by, a carpenter or painter on the job can inform the neighbourhood about their services. (The neighbours are wondering what’s going on across the fence, anyway. A music blogger can bring the gem to a concert and tell the other music lovers about his or her’s newest blog post while enjoying the music and a beer. The possibilities are endless. For the first time the small businesses can play with the technology that in the past was only obtainable by the “big boys”.
Okay, this has to be spam!
Many are looking as this as an awesome marketing tool, while some will say it’s spamming. But those who looks at this as spam, probably also curse the billboards and tv ads. The facts of the matter is that if you don’t like it you can turn off your Bluetooth notifications. And everybody doing marketing has local rules and regulations the follow with their existing marketing.