Location-based technology was heralded at SXSW as the next consumer killer app, with major brands including Virgin Airlines, Macy’s and Apple all jumping on beacon-based opportunities.
Now, Bohan Advertising is getting in on the action itself by investing in bluField, a startup company in the beacon technology field. "We believe this technology will enhance consumer experiences with the companies and brands that embrace its use," says Kerry Graham, CEO of Bohan. "The experience is at the heart of all marketing today and we see this investment as a vital way for us to help our clients have competitive advantage.”
BluField's patented software integrates Bluetooth beacon signals into citywide networks to deliver information to consumers on their mobile devices as they move through a city. Users download the company's Stroll app onto their mobile devices and request information about specific interests. Stroll then feeds information from existing and supplemented beacons to those visitors when they are near member retail locations. These messages arrive as a stream of information, similar to Twitter.
“For instance, if I’ve indicated I’m interested in restaurants that offer live music, Stroll will deliver special offers or information on what’s nearby as I travel through the city. Stroll also is a tool for retailers to identify and reach their targets – all with just one menu-driven app,” says John Mark Eberhardt, president/COO of bluField.
Bohan became interested in bluField because it adds a one-of-a-kind tool to the agency’s mobile marketing capabilities and its obvious benefits for the tourism industry. The agency was launched on a tourism account, the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, in 1990 and has travel industry accounts across much of the U.S. It also has numerous retail clients such as Dollar General, and others who could benefit from this technology.
“The Stroll app and the technology behind it provide an innovative, cost-effective way to reach today’s travelers – especially when 70 percent of search and web traffic now occurs on mobile devices,” say Graham.
Bohan's home city is serving as the test market for the app. Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation has selected the company as its beacon provider with the Nashville bluField beacon network expected to debut later this summer. BluField is also in discussions with other destinations around the country.
Networking brought these two companies together. Bohan's Graham first met bluField president Eberhardt at a LaunchTN event last year, a meeting that led to a business relationship. Agency chairman David Bohan now serves on the bluField advisory board.
Bohan is now looking at investing in other technologies to help its clients better connect with consumers. Although this is the agency's first start-up investment, they say they plan on making others.
"The potential for bluField to grow is substantial, and Nashville’s popularity as a destination makes it the perfect launch pad,” says David Bohan.