Arts Centre Melbourne launches iBeacon trial

Trial taking place during Melbourne Festival in October

Arts Centre Melbourne is trialling beacon technology during the Melbourne Festival to alert visitors to food and beverage offers from its venue.

With a flock of visitors coming to the centre during the festival, which runs until 26 October, the marketing team found an opportunity to see how the technology could be used to promote its cafés and bars, ultimately driving sales.

Using iProximity’s iBeacon, visitors download coupons from their iOS or Android phone, where it is stored in their Passbook or the equivalent app in Android. When visitors walk near a café or bar, the beacon triggers the coupon to pop up on their screen, asking if they want to redeem it.

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Arts Centre Melbourne’s marketing manager, Kristen Eckhardt, said the coupon has been downloaded 378 times since it was first advertised exactly a week ago.

“That’s quite an impressive start for us,” she said. “The more we can deliver based on people’s behaviours and [use] things like geographic location, which beacon technology does, the better marketers we can be because mass media just isn’t working the way it used to.”

Eckhardt advertised the coupons through Melbourne Arts Centre’s weekly entertainment guide EDM on the back of the Melbourne Festival to help it gain traction. She also decided to avoid using an app for the trial, believing it’s easier for people to download a coupon.

Arts Centre Melbourne is also advertising the coupons on the Melbourne Festival page of its website where they can be downloaded, and has set up a system for people to download the coupons by texting ‘Arts’ to a designated mobile number.

Should the trial prove a success, Eckhardt will look at using beacon to promote the centre’s performances and shows. This would involve a mobile app that delivers push notifications and rich programs or guides.

“The media landscape is changing rapidly, and it’s no longer adequate to put an ad in a paper and expect people to come to your shows. People are expecting a much more personalised experience,” Eckhardt said. “Segmentation and targeting is, in my opinion, the marketing of the future. So we need to get smarter about how we talk to people and respond to their needs.”

However, it’s one thing to have people download an app or coupon and be alerted to offers when the time is relevant, it’s another to get them to go through with the purchase, Eckhardt said.

“How many of those [378 coupons] are redeemed is the next question to be answered. People need to actually redeem them in order for them to have that full experience. This might be the next big thing, or it might not. But I am very curious to give it a go,” she said.

“I think it’s really important for us to be at the forefront of technology, certainly as it relates to providing our customers with great customer service and also marketing our shows and performances as best we can,” she added.

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