Advertising Business Digital Marketing — 04 October 2012
The future of Mobile Marketing is NFC (Near Field Communication)

One of the biggest challenges facing marketers now is how to effectively use mobile for marketing. Most of the conversations on mobile marketing are focused on creating a HTML5/WAP site, building an App on iOS or Android or buying text or banner ads on mobile websites. Some of this is needed (all brands should have a mobile-optimized website) but if we keep talking about these tactical marketing tools, the ill-fated and long promised “year of mobile marketing” will never, ever arrive.

But now there’s a new transformative technology that will change marketing forever. It’s called Near Field Communication (“NFC”). NFC is very simple – it’s the ability for you to tap your phone against either another phone, a credit reading device (like those you use for credit card payments, EFTPOS or NETS) or against a simple sticker (or tag) that is NFC-ready. This “one tap” of your phone instantly exchanges simple data. For example, it can make a payment, open up a website on your mobile browser, it can open an App, or make a phone call to a set number or enable/disable functionality of your phone. All in one simple tap. The opportunities are amazing!

There are 3 trends in mobile/NFC that will enhance your future marketing:
  • Smart tagging: A mobile user touches their phone against an NFC tag, which provides a small amount of information to their phone. This is where marketing can shine – imagine a customer downloading a video, updating their Facebook status or “Liking” a product with only a simple tap? Retail and OOH/outdoor media will particularly benefit from this. A great example is if you see a poster of the latest blockbuster Hollywood movie at a bus shelter. You then tap the NFC tag to view the movie trailer, download an App or game associated with the film and buy the movie ticket instantly. Wow!
  • Sharing (peer-to-peer): Sharing contacts, web content, or a YouTube video with another NFC-capable phone will be the way customers share branded information.
  • Payment: This is simply a quick tap and a transaction is completed. The transaction could be anything from purchasing a bus or train ticket, taxi fare, buying a Coke at a 7-11 or paying for your groceries at the checkout, all with a single tap of your phone. This will eventually replace your credit card.

NFC is going to make your advertising and marketing so much more effective, as it brings the digital world into the real world. You can now simply walk into a retail store like Harvey Norman or Best Buy, then tap an NFC sticker on a TV (or any product) to open a price comparison website, see real-time ratings and reviews of the product on social media or even buy it. In the world of advertising, I imagine that all marketing collateral will have feature an NFC tag (replacing the cumbersome website URL or phone number) that prompts you to download more information. It’s an exciting technology that has fantastic potential, which is available right now for smart marketers to use.

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(8) Readers Comments

  1. Great post Damien. I only hope that marketers put some thought into the user experience on NFC interactions. QR codes are still rarely executed well. What are your thoughts on the proliferation of NFC given the iMasses will have to wait another 12 months for this technology?

  2. Really great insights Damien, totally agree with you on this one. There’s actually a new whitepaper by a couple of key players in the NFC industry just released: http://www.scanvee.com/nfc-white-paper
    Definitely worth checking out!

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  8. NFC is certainly gaining in importance and use, but many businesses don’t use the technology correctly and in some ways it hurts all NFC users. So before adopting the technology take a look at example like this one from GAP Japan (http://qfuse.com/blog/gap-in-japan-uses-nfc-in-high-fives-marketing-campaign/) and learn from them before using them yourself.

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