Beacon Case Study Shows Brand Content Equal to Offers for Driving Purchases

Agency BPN, together with inMarket, presented a Hillshire Brands in-store beacon marketing case study at the Place Conference in New York two weeks ago. This was the first time a national brand beacon case study had been presented publicly.

The company sought to build awareness, among 25 to 54 year olds, for its new "American Craft Sausage Links" -- with digital media exclusively. Hillshire worked with BPN and inMarket, leveraging the latter's shopping apps and its in-store iBeacon network.

Among other digital exposures, mobile users were shown geofenced display ads for the product near stores. These display ads invited users to add the product to an in-app shopping list. Once in grocery stores with beacons, smartphone users were sent a notification about where to find the product ("meat aisle").

In stores, smartphone owners were shown ads/content that featured offers or incentives to engage with and try the product. Others were shown pure awareness messages and branded content that didn't have an associated offer. 

BPN reported that the ads worked equally well. Indeed, pure content/awareness ads drove the same level of engagement and purchase intent as the offer-based ads. This is a major finding: brands don't need to offer coupons or deals to drive consumer purchase behavior. 

Overall the campaign was very successful. Roughly 1% of shoppers going in had any intention of buying the brand's link sausage. After exposure to the campaign purchase intent shot up to north of 21%. Brand awareness was boosted 36% according to BPN. 

This is an early proof-of-concept for in-store marketing and shows its significant potential to generate brand awareness, purchase intent and sales lift. Many billions of dollars are spent annually by CPG companies in grocery stores but rarely achieve these results. 

Accordingly this case study should cause brand marketers of all stripes and types to get going and start testing indoor and in-store marketing before their competitors beat them to the register.