Friday, September 13, 2013

iOS 7 Hyper Targeting Shows Promise for Healthcare Marketers

Guest Blogger, and SVP Account Director, Sean McClafferty is an expert on all things Apple. Below he shares his thoughts on iOS 7's role in targeted marketing.

While much ado was made of the impact of the new iPhone 5c on Apple’s stock valuation, and new fingerprint-scanning technology, there was less attention paid to some of the new features being rolled out inside the new iPhone 5s flagship model – and to all iPhones through iOS 7.

iPhones have been able to capture their users’ location through the use of the internal compass, accelerometer and gyroscope for years now. But the new Core Motion API in iOS 7 tracks this data on a regular, ongoing basis (rather when specifically requested by an app). In addition, the iPhone 5s dedicates a separate processor to coordinating and handling this data, keeping the phone zippy for tasks the user is actively engaged in and saving battery life. This opens up a lot of possibilities for app developers and marketers who are given permission by the user to have access to this data.

On the retail front, this information can be used by retailers to drive targeted, location-based offers on a micro, step-by-stel level, powered by small Bluetooth connected devices in-store and a protocol Apple refers to as iBeacon. With this information, a grocery store could determine that a customer is in the cleaning supplies aisle and beam her an instant coupon for laundry detergent. Or mall visitors could receive a notification of a current sale promotion of a store that they are about to walk past in real time.

In the health realm, this has the potential to supplant the Fitbits and FuelBands of the world – if not providing a gateway to them – by eliminating the need for carrying or wearing a separate device that tracks activity. In fact, Nike’s already at the forefront, creating their new Nike+ Move app that can use the iPhone’s capabilities to translate this data into Nike+ Fuel points. Targeted to folks not yet using the Nike+ ecosystem, the app is will track and gamify the most basic functions of activity to introduce people to the fitness monitoring habit and get them competing with others through the iOS Game Center.

This opens up a lot of opportunity particularly for our pharma clients. Combining both the retail and health aspects, could we partner with a retail pharmacy chain to use their app to target patients at the point at which they are reaching the pharmacy counter in-store? Could we go further to segment special offers and messages to health-engaged patients who are relatively more active? The key will be to implement these ideas in a way that aren’t intrusive and provide value in exchange for the information the patient is providing. 

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