November 16, 2012
Near field communication (NFC) is taking mobile marketing to a whole new level. (NFC is a form of contactless communication between devices like smartphones or tablets that allows a user to wave their personal communication device over a NFC-compatible device to send information without needing to touch the devices together or go through multiple steps to set up a connection.) The short range wireless RFID technology is poised to bring marketers and consumers together like never before, as it paves the way for the instant exchange of all sorts of content and data.
NFC has such a broad range of applications that the much less sophisticated quick response (QR) codes pale in comparison. Although QR technologies can be effective for delivering information to consumers, NFC technologies take this concept much further, allowing information to be instantaneously transferred and exchanged between individuals and organizations. NFC has much greater functional uses and the potential to ultimately transform the way that business is conducted. Here are a couple of examples:
- Data on purchasing behavior collected through NFC exchanges will allow marketers to more effectively target and deliver the right type of content to appeal to and engage with users. It will also make it easier to manage and promote customer loyalty and reward programs, and consumers will no longer need to carry around reward cards and coupons. Individuals will also be able to automatically spread the word about incentives and deals on social networks via automatic NFC-enabled sharing.
- NFC tags can be placed in print media, such as signage, magazines, product displays, and packaging. The tags are capable of reading the preferences and purchasing data of anyone with an NFC-enabled smartphone. This allows marketing messages to be customized to target and attract individual consumers.
- Smart posters containing custom URL-programmed NFC tags enable seamless transactions with mobile users. Smart posters have been successfully used by businesses including Samsung, VH1, and Lipton. In addition to transferring digital media such as music and video, smart posters can deliver information like product availability and purchase locations.
- NFC tags will also equip marketers with real-time analytics to track engagement with a campaign. Furthermore, geo-location mapping will provide specifics on the time and place of transactions and interactions. With data so precise and readily available, businesses will have a greater ability to refocus their efforts in real time.
NFC also has a number of other potential applications that could be far reaching, impacting the way business is done for transit systems, healthcare providers, banks, ticketing outlets, and more. It could also be used to provide things like electronic keyless entry. The potential for increased revenue and reduced expenses makes this technology very appealing for a variety of organizations.
NFC capabilities are currently being incorporated into the networks of mobile carriers, as this technology is set to become the new standard for location-based marketing and communications in the near future. Interestingly, Apple decided not to enable the iPhone 5 with NFC technology, which is allowing the competition to pave the way for the breakthrough technology instead.
With the capabilities of NFC technology, mobile devices will become even more crucial to individuals than they already are today. Will it become the standard of exchange for business transactions, eventually replacing credit cards and even cash for the average consumer? In what ways will your business use NFC technologies to make a greater impact in the marketplace?
This article was originally published on ClickZ.com on Nov. 7, 2012.
NFC image on homepage via Shutterstock.