As technology changes, it's important for business owners and marketers to incorporate these advances into their marketing plan. Doing so helps marketers to reach their target audience with relevant content and ads. One trend that marketers should take note of is the growing use of beacon triggered marketing. This article will explain what beacon triggered marketing is, and how businesses can use it to increase their in-store sales.

At its core, beacon triggered marketing is essentially a more accurate form of proximity marketing. However, unlike traditional proximity marketing tactics, which get a device's location from GPS and WiFi signal, beacon triggered marketing works by looking for the bluetooth signal from a beacon located with the store.

Though similar to proximity marketing, beacon triggered marketing is much more accurate. WiFi often place devices at the neighborhood level and GPS doesn't always work within a buildings (e.g. shopping malls). Beacons ensure that the right message, reaches the right customer at exactly the right time.

Beacon triggered marketing is still relatively news. According to a poll conducted by Harris Poll for Placecast, only 57 percent of US smartphone owners were aware of in-store beacons, and just one in five (20%) had already used them.

Beacon triggered marketing will become better known and accepted as more national brand use them. There is also a growing body of evidence that shows the benefits of the marketing tactic for increasing in-store sales.

Swirl, an early pioneer of beacon trigger technology, reported that 73 percent of consumers say they are more likely to buy in-store when they receive beacon-triggered content and offers. Swirl also found that 60 percent of shoppers surveyed open and engage with beacon-triggered content. About one in three (30%) redeem beacon-triggered offers at the point of purchase.

About three out of five consumers (61%) surveyed by Swirl said they would visit a store with beacon marketing campaigns more often. Similarly, 60 percent said that they would buy more as a result of getting beacon-triggered marketing messages.

Though beacon marketing may sound cost prohibitive, the technology is inexpensive and relatively easy to deploy. The beacon itself can be bought from between $20 and $40 and the only other cost would be the time and resources needed to create the content.

Beacon technology has also seen some recent improvements that make the technology more useful to marketers. When beacons were first introduced, they only worked with the branded app of the store. This is fine for people who know and use in-store beacons, but recent advances that lets beacons interact with other apps increases the range and effectiveness of these campaigns. For example, some of the largest third-party mobile apps, including Facebook, have added beacon-sensing capabilities to increase engagement (by providing more relevant content) and revenue from their apps.

Though the technology has had a slow start, beacon trigger marketing is growing in acceptance. Recently, it was used during the Super Bowl, the Tribeca Film Festival, at airports, sports stadiums and even stores like Macy's and Walgreen's are planning to deploy beacon triggered campaigns.

As adoption increases, so will the revenue generated through these types of ads. According to BI Intelligence, US in-store retail sales influenced by beacon-triggered messages will see a nearly tenfold increase between 2015 and 2016, from $4.1 billion to $44.4 billion.

Beacon triggered marketing is something that brick-and-mortar retailers should consider using in order to increase their sales and revenue. Beacon triggered marketing lets business target consumers in their stores with highly relevant content and deals that can drive people to buy.

For more information on proximity marketing, read this article on how marketers can balance privacy and profitability when using proximity based ads.

Published on: Feb 23, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.