The VPM Blog

How RFID Technology is Shaping the Marketing World

Posted by Don Crow on Jun 8, 2016 8:00:00 AM
Ask most marketers what frustrates them the most today and somewhere in their Top 3 will be the words, “fragmentation,” “segmentation” or, “the increasing demand of consumers for more tailored experiences.”

Personally, I’ve had an interest in RFID since we began working on apps for live sporting events back in 2012. Fast forward a couple of years, and Verge Pipe Media was fortunate to win the RFID Lab at Auburn University account. We’ve been partnered with them since and have enjoyed learning and seeing RFID technology tested in different industries and potential consumer facing applications.

Unfortunately to me, how RFID Technology is shaping the marketing world currently appears to have less momentum, relying instead on repurposing QR codes (remember those?).

There are some bright spots across the digital marketing landscape, including partnerships, events and real-time messaging opportunities. Here’s a quick list of my favorites ways RFID Technology is shaping the marketing world:

  1. Sponsorships. The folks at Blue Bite worked with Pinellas County, Florida to bring NFC and QR to the Pinellas Trail, a 47-mile trail featuring 54 newly enabled sign faces and sponsorship opportunities. Trail visitors can now use NFC enabled smartphones to get everything from weather, to restaurants, to fitness challenges. What this means to outdoor marketing and sign sponsors is the potential to capture user data for future follow up campaigns.
  2. Interactive campaigns. For their UK #LookingForYou campaign, the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home used RFID to have a dog “follow” shoppers through the mall, appearing on digital signage along their journey. The RFID chips were embedded in leaflets given to mall shoppers to enable the display to present, “Barley” to shoppers throughout the mall. BTW, Barley found a home with a loving family after the campaign! 

3. Targeted messages in brick-and-mortar locations. Close to home, Coca-Cola equipped its World of Coca-Cola attraction with beacons to unlock content as visitors stroll through the exhibits. It required a separate mobile application but gave users a chance to share, engage and in general interact based upon their location and proximity to certain areas within the overall attration. Using WiFi, Bluetooth and Beacons, Coca-Cola was able to deliver specific in-app messages at key points in the overall user experience. This allowed the app to go well beyond just being a handy map and reference point for users who undoubtedly wanted more from the experience.

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These three examples are at the tip of the spear in the integration of RFID into marketing campaigns which help brands and organizations tailor everything from experiences, to messages, to today’s connected consumers.

Thinking of how today’s consumers use their smartphones (never leave home without them!), and pairing that with brand ambassador programs, your organization should deliver an interactive experience beyond just the latest in website design. RFID technology allows marketers to move past just the data collection (although that’s important) and really flex some creative muscle around immersing consumers in your brand culture.

I personally think it will be important to leverage RFID in all its forms to learn what sort of experiences consumers want as we all begin the pivot towards Virtual Reality over the next 10 years. Just like the folks who ignored social media are now out of business or playing catch up, you don’t want to be on the wrong side of the equation in embracing all that RFID unlocks.

It isn’t just Millennials looking for more immersive experiences, but consumers of all age groups are now turning to mobile for shopping, travel and more. If you’d like to focus on Millennials for your marketing, tap the button below to download our latest FREE eBook on, “Marketing to Millennials.”

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But it doesn’t have to be a frustrating experience if you look around and start noticing just how much Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, has infiltrated everyday life. Technically, RFID isn’t “new” as it’s been around since the 1970s. Large retailers have helped bring RFID into the mainstream in the past two decades by using the technology to improve their supply chains and improve in-store efficiencies for everything from loss prevention to simply restocking shelves.

Topics: Brand Marketing, RFID Technology