Event Tech Strategy, Insights & Trends.

Why Privacy is Key for Proximity Marketing at Events

Proximity marketing (the localized wireless distribution of advertising content through Bluetooth or other wireless devices) is a vital element for events looking to stay on the cutting edge of technology. But why are some attendees skeptical or even adamantly against it? The answer is privacy. This is because attendees feel like opting in makes them a vulnerable recipient or unwilling participant with no options. Full potential can only be realized if participants feel comfortable and in control of the information exchanged.

The fear and uncertainty around beacon and mobile technology is that it gives unfettered access to companies who can “throw” promotional materials and content at will. Whether in a store, on the floor of an industry conference, or simply surfing the web, proximity marketing tools can be utilized anywhere. However, this fear and unfamiliarity make people feel attacked instead of enabled by these tools.

Smart badge technology on the market today can offer proximity marketing options with common courtesy. The right platform can employ simple practices to ensure that privacy is the foremost priority. Let’s break down the specifics.

Communication and interaction must be a two-way street. Attendees should have choices that allow them the freedom to leave at any time. No one should be forced to opt in forever simply because they wanted a one-time discount.

Attendees should be given offerings that are both useful and beneficial and, in return, have the choice of sharing low, medium, or high levels of personal information. A “one size fits all” approach does not work well for T-shirt sizing or information exchange. The best fit for both results from a variety of options and the ability to choose between them.

Among the available options should be the ability for people to opt in to sharing services for a limited amount of time, participating only for the duration of a particular marketing campaign or discount. People respect having their privacy respected and choices are honored.

In life, the only constant is change. Just as preferences differ among demographics, these preferences also evolve as the demographics themselves age. Not all groups are equally willing to share personal information. At present, members of Generation Y (or Millennials) are quite accustomed to giving marketers access to personal details and full social profiles. However, in a few years, these preferences are likely to change as they get older. They will begin to have families and young children that will likely alter their opt-in preferences and in an attempt to shield young kids away from the public arena.

Because of the inevitability of change, event marketers must check in early and often to avoid alienating customers. They must give them the chance to update their privacy preferences to meet constantly evolving needs and desires.

Successful proximity marketers should take note; the promise of privacy is not just attractive, but imperative.

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