Proximity Marketing Case Studies

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Ask Red Bull, Waze and Alex and Ani about proximity marketing, and they'll tell you how they've made it work for them. In this lesson, we'll look at three mini case studies and show how these brands have implemented the proximity marketing strategy.

Proximity Marketing

Think of proximity marketing as messages and advertisements that follow you around. One minute, you're walking though a department store, and the next, a map of the location pops up on your phone! Maybe you've had a rough morning at the office, decide it's time for a break, and you head outside for some fresh air. While leaving the building, your phone alerts you of a nearby coffeehouse. Just the thought of caffeine makes you feel relieved, so you head straight there to get some java. This is how proximity marketing works. It delivers targeted advertising content to consumers' mobile devices based on their location.

This could come in handy in a number of ways. For retailers, it reminds consumers when they're close to a store, and it can also deliver a message or coupon that may cause them to stop in and make a purchase. For consumers, it may help remind them of an afterwork stop they intended to make, and could even provide something useful like a coupon or a map.

Retailers have poured tons of energy into direct mail, social media and even email marketing. They are now discovering the effectiveness of influencing customers when they're close to a store, or while they're waiting in a checkout line. The proximity marketing strategy persuades people to react spontaneously. This can lead to the discovery of brands they never knew existed, and can also encourage impulse buying; ultimately increasing the company's revenue.

Below are some examples of brands that have adopted proximity marketing as part of their strategy:

Red Bull

The energy drink that ''gives you wings'', opted for a proximity marketing campaign featuring digital signage in Canadian convenience stores. Shoppers in local stores were greeted by signs that encouraged them to activate their wireless bluetooth feature, which allows for the transfer of communication and data. In exchange for their participation, a 2-for-$4 coupon was delivered straight to their device.

Even though Red Bull does not have any stand alone retail locations, they were able to capitalize with proximity marketing by putting their digital signs near checkouts and in store aisles. This made their deals readily available to consumers all over Canada, in addition to promoting their brand name. Upon activation of their bluetooth, customers received a digital coupon, which encouraged them to make an immediate purchase.

Red Bull was able to get feedback from each offer delivered, and could determine how many coupons were actually being redeemed. This opened the door for further communication with the consumer, once they opted-in to receive promotions.


A GPS program like Waze sounds like a good fit for proximity marketing, right? Indeed, the company began using their popular road map application to reach commuters and travelers on the country's highways and byways.

Users may notice when they open Waze, that some popular eateries and gas stations are now displaying as pinned locations, complete with brand logo. Creators sure pushed the envelope when developing this interface because it even allows those brands to send messages to consumers, based on their location.

For example, Waze employees uncovered statistics showing that 80 percent of its users visited a grocery store on their way home from work several times each month. Waze took the information and set up a platform, allowing grocery stores to send coupons through the app to commuters who were close by.

Other brands have followed suit. While utilizing Waze, they have been able to target consumers within a certain radius. Brands who participate can also provide links in the app, giving users the opportunity to access information about a promoting company.

Waze's statistical analysis revealed that brand participation in the program with a promotional offer, caused those companies to receive three to four times more clicks on their links, than brands without an offer.

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