Mobile is the future of, well, everything, and that includes cause marketing. I like to say that the future of cause marketing is targeting donors where they are and where they care. Here’s how the new iOS 7 operating system for Apple’s mobile devices is making this future a reality.
I’ll leave it to others to explain the technology behind iBeacon, but here’s how it will work. iBeacon is “micro-location” because it’s designed to work in a physical location (like a store) with your phone – specifically your retail apps. With an iBeacon transmitter businesses can better interact with smartphone-toting consumers in and near their stores. Sure, they can push coupons to them when they walk in the door, but they can also give them one when they linger in a particular aisle or over a specific product.
Companies can even push reminders to consumers. “Last time you were on our website you were searching for a blend of coffee that we have in stock.”
Think about the possibilities for cause marketing. Companies can let them know when they are supporting a cause, which products are eligible for a donation and even ask you while you stand in line at checkout if you want to donate to a cause.
Remember, iBeacon is consumer-approved because it works through apps the consumer installed. Businesses don’t have to rely on a check-in service like Foursquare because they can push reminders, deals, coupons, etc. via their app. Finally, iBeacon is hyper-sensitive to a consumer’s movements because the transmitter is located in the store.
Another cool thing about iBeacon is that it turns consumers into beacons. When you support a cause at the register the business can update others in the store of the new grand total raised for its favorite charity. That’s a great way to remind consumers to give when it’s their turn at the register.
AirDrop is like iBeacon in that it’s location-centric. When two iOS 7 users are close to one another they can quickly and easily send each other files, photos, contacts, etc. It literally takes two steps and you don’t need someone’s email or phone number and you don’t need to “bump” phones. All you need is two compatible phones that are close to one another. You can read more about AirDrop at AppleInsider.
Think about the possibilities for businesses and cause marketers.
- A customer makes a register donation and asks for more information about the charity. Using AirDrop, the cashier quickly shares a one-pager with all the details.
- A customer snaps a picture of herself donating to a collection drive. Via AirDrop, she shares the picture with the business and in return gets a coupon. The business has a new picture for its Facebook page!
- Businesses that offer in-store events for nonprofits – like A. C. Moore Arts & Crafts and its annual crafting event for Autism Speaks – now have an easy way to collect pictures and contacts. AirDrop also gives the company an easy way to share instructions for home crafting activities that can support AS after the in-store event.
There are a lot of other great features on iOS 7 and in the the new iPhone 5S that will be useful to cause marketers.
- The “Apps Near Me” feature shows relevant apps based on your location. Nonprofits that are location-centric (e.g. historical sites, museums, food banks, etc.) have a new way to stand out – and perhaps raise money with every download.
- Enhancements in the camera and photo sharing means more stunning visual content for Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. Look for more photo-related fundraisers from brands.
- With the new iPhone 5S fingerprint sensor built directly into the phone it’s getting easier to buy (and donate) without entering a password.
Mobile is quickly changing everything, including how businesses and nonprofits work together to bring about change. How will you use Apple’s new iOS 7 operating system for cause marketing?
A big thanks to location-marketing guru Aaron Strout for originally piquing my curiosity on the potential of iOS 7 for marketers with his article 3 Key iOS 7 Features Marketers Should Care About.