An inside look at bluetooth and location based marketing
Petros Kondos was way ahead of his time. Well before smartphones, mobile apps and even the mobile web Petros recognized the potential of mobile phones for not just marketing, but customer relationship management programs. He was effectively one of the pioneers of location based marketing (LBM).
Using the power of bluetooth for good (permission based) and not evil (what we used to call bluespam) he was an example for the rest of the world to follow. I first learned about his company in 2007 while in Barcelona for the World Mobile Congress and followed with great interest as he got 50 of the biggest malls in South Africa as well as several banks, automotive dealerships and other retail centers on to his bluetooth marketing system.
We exchanged emails over the years and I had the opportunity to meet him two years ago when he was in Toronto scouting out a possible relocation and partnership with a Canadian bluetooth marketing company. Since then he has shut down his business and wrote a book about his experience from start to finish. You can find it on Amazon.
I really enjoyed his book and took away a few things:
1) His marketing instincts led him to create an amazing CRM product based on Bluetooth – but instead of staying true to his marketing roots he eventually became a Bluetooth company that did marketing and not the other way around. This ultimately held him back from evolving & expanding beyond Bluetooth early enough as he was too heavily invested to abandon it or to invest in other emerging mobile engagement mechanisms.
2) Over the last few years his marketing instincts led him to the development of a revolutionary product that leverages the signals from all Bluetooth devices to more accurately map and track foot traffic in retail – by the minute. When I learned about this two years ago I was working for a promotional marketing company that specialized in shopper marketing who would have salivated for this type of tool in their tool box. Before I could more seriously validate and explore an implementation in Toronto I was recruited away to RIM.
3) Mobile marketers today who are only now figuring out location based marketing as part of their marketing mix using mobile Apps that leverage GPS or by leveraging mobile triggers such as QR codes could learn a lot from Petros on how to make it relevant in retail and how it fits into the broader promotional or marketing mix
Although when I think of location based marketing today I mostly think about the gamification of loyalty programs through the likes of foursquare, the future of LBM is exciting. With NFC becoming standard on mobile devices, mass adoption of 2d code readers and even the evolution of the bluetooth standard to leverage and incorporate wifi all point to a future of mobile marketing that goes beyond a banner Ad.