Mobile Marketing Gets Personal

11/10/2011

Personalization of devices and systems is key to a connected world. Whereas in the past, two people with the same device were limited by the same set of functionalities, in the age of “myPhone,” consumers can tailor their devices to the nth degree, downloading a host of applications specific to their particular needs and interests. Smartphones and tablets are not the only manifestations of this trend; in-vehicle connectivity platforms will soon follow suit, and even ads will configure themselves to better serve you.

Earlier this year, travelers making their way through Chicago’s O’Hare Intl. Airport began encountering “smart” ads embedded into restroom mirrors. The implementation—a brain child of Clear Channel Airports, www.clearchannelairports.com, and Mirrus, www.mirrus.com—relies on sensors that can keep track of how many people interact with each mirror and for how long, before feeding the information to a backend system for tracking.

This type of solution is only the beginning of what will eventually become “personalized” marketing. Traditionally, advertisements are pretty static; messaging is targeted and therefore, companies do their best to strategically place ads so they reach the intended audience.


Now, thanks to innovative technology providers such as Bulzi Media, www.bulzi.com, companies can deliver “micro-targeted” ads on digital signage networks based on realtime audience-measurement techniques.

Earlier this week, Bulzi announced LOCALiz, a platform for delivering targeted ads based on realtime measurement of audiences in public spaces. The company presents a much more effective solution to audience measurement, which in the past has relied on extrapolating one-time results across a massive group of consumers. LOCALiz continuously measures the demographic profile of small groups near an ad (digital sign, billboard, etc.), providing a more dynamic understanding of who is being reached.

The platform relies on anonymous location information from smartphones to generate so-called micro-audience profiles. Demographic profiles are generated and compared in realtime against ad campaign requirements. When a match is determined, Bulzi says its platform delivers the “right” message to the “right” micro-audience, at the “right” place and time.

“Mobile devices provide … a foundation for understanding realtime audience in view of digital signs, using fully anonymized privacy-safe data,” says Brent McKay, Bulzi’s CEO and founder. “Our long view is that mobile devices will be the consumer’s window to the world around them. … When consumers are in public-space venues they are typically exposed to hundreds of signs—static and digital. Some are for advertising, others informational. Our platform will act as a bridge to all. It will also enable applications to build better guides and maps using the technology.”

Eventually, consumers will be able to engage directly with the signs around them, without having to use QR codes or NFC swipes, McKay says. Content will simply be available if and when consumers want it; no behavior modification will be necessary to consume or absorb it.

With the ability to deliver relevant messaging in realtime, “smart” advertising could actually be a benefit to consumers rather than an annoyance. This seamless connectivity is just another example of the broader move toward a connected world—one in which the devices and systems we are coming to rely on will know and respond to us individually.



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