When we last covered Blue Bite, they were just starting to use near field communication (NFC) to deliver content in a highly targeted way. As Daniel Trigub, Blue Bite’s VP of Business Development, told me, the company is focused on bridging location and content – and they believe NFC is the wave of the mobile marketing future, even though widespread adoption of the technology is a year or 2 away due to the slow rollout of NFC in mobile phones.
Here’s what I learned about the future of NFC, which extends way beyond mobile payments:
Tech Cocktail (TC): Why is NFC the future of mobile marketing?
Daniel Trigub (DT): NFC connects rich media content with consumers and their phones in all sorts of venues – shopping malls, bars, movie theaters, gyms, etc. We partner with marketing companies that have screens in these places, allowing our advertisers to reaches customers where they are in one-on-one engagement in the right context. So for example, Nike can run an ad for a new line of running shoes at the gym.
We think NFC is going to be the silver bullet – it’s almost like a QR code, but you don’t need to download an app or take a picture of the code with your phone to get content. Because NFC is embedded in phones, you just point your phone at the code – it’s just easier.
Plus, with NFC, you get a lot of data on how well your marketing campaign is working, so you can truly calculate ROI.
TC: What are some NFC campaigns you are currently running?
DT: We just ran the first nation-wide marketing campaign using NFC for hoteltonight.com, which provides last-minute deals on hotel rooms. They wanted to promote their app, so we ran ads on screens in airports and downtown coffee shops in San Francisco, New York City, and a few other cities.
Interested users could use NFC on their phones to download the hoteltonight.com app right from the screen and book a hotel room from their phone. It was a big success: in 6 weeks, more than 15,000 mobile engagements led to more than half of those using iPhones or Androids to download the app.
TC: How do you see NFC being implemented down the road?
DT: NFC tags will be located throughout a venue. So, say you’re in a drugsore like Duane Reade or CVS. You use NFC to get a coupon for diapers, receive a free something with your purchase, or get 20% off your entire purchase. There are a million possibilities.
We see NFC being everywhere eventually. I will go to work and see targeted ads on digital screens in the elevator, in the cab going to lunch, at the gym after work, in the bar when I’m meeting friends for drinks, and at the airport when traveling. There will be a major shift from advertising in print media, where maybe you will reach your audience, to NFC, where you will reach your audience.
TC: What is next for Blue Bite?
DT: We will continue to grow our network and get into as many locations as possible. We want to be in 500,000 locations in the US by the end of 2012 and be in targeted venues where marketers want to talk to people.