Bob Garfield

iBeacons in restaurants: A testing ground for the future

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While beacons are generating buzz, it's still too early to see mainstream appeal. Here's a sneak peek into what true mobile personalization will look like.

The mobile revolution has expanded our understanding of how important context awareness will be for the future of marketing. Gone are the days of broad, general ad campaigns that you hope will generate a few conversions. Today, the consumer's first screen is the mobile device, and it's also the most personal technological gadget consumers own. This means that marketers need to rethink their definition of "personal." A personalized ad message used to be defined by how well a cookie tracked online users and then served them relevant ads. Those days are quickly fading and being replaced by the new definition of what personalized messages look like: context-relevant, real-world messaging.

Perhaps no better practical example is being executed today than what is happening in the restaurant industry. We spoke to Bryan Menell, CEO of Mahana, a mobile restaurant app that uses iBeacons in restaurants to provide customers a rich, contextually relevant messaging experience. The company has worked with copious restaurants to strategically place these beacons in order to send customers vital information like restaurant wait times and special offers for frequent customers. The restaurant industry might be a perfect testing ground for the practical use of beacons and how marketers can start to have meaningful, personalized conversations with consumers.

 

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