Location Data Insights

The Red vs Blue Ocean Proximity Strategy

September 20, 2016
Birte Steen
VP Strategic Partnerships & Business Development

It is clear that the competitive landscape changes rapidly in the evolving proximity industry and this is very much reflected by our partners. Competition is tightening up. As retailers and brands are approached by multiple vendors offering increasingly sophisticated variations of the same services, they become more educated and demanding. The need for differentiation against competition is crucial to surviving.

The Unacast PROX Network has had consistent growth of three new partners per month the past year, and recently passed 60 partners and 2M beacons deployed globally. As VP of Partnerships, I have engaged with all of them in their process of deciding to partner, as well as supporting them once they have become a partner. My conversations with these companies give me insight into why some have matured their business models and generate revenue, and why others have not. This blog post highlights the biggest differences between the two.

Don’t Sleep in Class

A growing industry with low entry barriers will always be attractive to enter. The threat of new players with new angles will be there as long as the sector is growing. The rules that applied for success yesterday might suddenly not be the rules of today. Investments made in educating retailers and brands might be taken advantage of by a new player that contacts a client tomorrow.

The revenue generating partners want to be at the leading edge of the industry and have a constant paranoia that someone else will take that role. This can be a known competitor or someone sitting in a garage currently building the next generation proximity services. They live by the notion that the industry is shaping as we go and that there is a constant battle of who takes the lead and who follows. These PSPs are afraid they might be sleeping in class by sticking to their initial idea and are in constant search for improvement. They know they have to go first and offer clients something new, and show them why it matters.

Offer your client something new, and show them why it matters

High return comes from taking risks. It’s clear that those PSPs that have broken out of pilot mode have dared to continuously go back to the client to kill their darlings. They are asking what success means to their clients, and make sure to keep that as their focus. The services that were the reason they engaged in the first place might not be their reason for continuing as a client. If success to the client changes, success for the PSP must change accordingly.

Red vs. Blue Ocean Strategy

The latest Proxbook Report confirms how competitive the landscape has become. 73% of Proxbook’s +340 members offer mobile communication and 51% indoor navigation. These services have already grown into representing a Red Ocean Strategy.

Focusing on mobile communication and indoor navigation alone is already a Red Ocean Strategy

The biggest development the past quarter and the services that are experiencing the fastest growth according to Proxbook Report is leveraging the data collected from existing deployments for online advertising, retargeting and monetization. As an example, sports teams in the US have seen an ROI of their proximity investment as significant as 40x from data monetization.

Sports teams in the US have seen an ROI as big as 40x from data monetization

Our revenue generating partners all offer mobile communication and analytics or navigation. What differentiates them, however, is that these services have grown from being their core offering into representing their basic package. They have moved out of pilot stage by changing their strategy towards data management. Being able to offer a solution that not only engages visitors and increase basket size but also covers the initial investment is clearly a competitive approach which wins deals from PSPs that keep swimming in the Red Ocean of pure mobile messaging services.

Dare to Challenge the Client

Clients see significantly less differences in our offering than we do ourselves. Just imagine being a retailer or brand that wants to leverage proximity services. With the majority of suppliers offering close to the same services, all stating their solution is the best without much differentiation - the decision becomes very hard.

Clients see significantly less differences in our offering than we do ourselves

To generate new demand going forward, you’ve got to prepare to do it in a world of reluctant, risk-averse customers. The revenue generating partners use thorough understanding of the customer’s business to push their thinking and teach them something new about how their company can compete more efficiently.

Instead of focusing on the client’s convenience and consensus, be the supplier that dares to take them outside their comfort zone. Don’t let others take the role of challenging and teaching the client because you are uncomfortable talking about something that is new to you. The result might be that clients sign with a new provider that took the role of teaching them something they didn’t know, but should.

Unacast Lets You Stand Out From The Crowd

Being that one supplier that offers something different by educating on how to make money from you proximity investment, makes you stand out. The client probably did not know this was even an option, and only saw proximity technology as a cost. This is how Unacast measures success for our partners. Adding our monetizing opportunity does not cost you any resources. Our role is to do the job for you so that you can focus on your core business and still differentiate yourself.

Drive growth through the quality of the insight you deliver

The biggest opportunity to drive growth isn’t in the products and services you sell, but the quality of the insight you deliver as part of the sale itself. Win and keep clients because you are the trusted provider that always make sure they take advantage of the latest development. Be the provider that changes your strategy and dare to have an uncomfortable conversation with your client in order to make them successful.