Phygital Marketing

Chris Lever | January 10th 2017

I was hoping to open this article with ‘Let’s get Phygital’; I was beaten to the post.

What exciting times are we going through as digital marketeers? We are starting to see traditional marketing channels merge with the digital world in the much-heralded omni-channel experience. The world of marketing is advancing as quickly as the technology we use to promote the brands we serve. We marketeers have shiny new technology to help us reach customers and clients.

A marketing term that’s been hiding on the sidelines for the last few years is coming into fruition: phygital shopping experiences. A number of leading US-based retailers are now using technology such as iBeacons and near-field communication (NFC) to entice customers into parting with their money.

What is Phygital Marketing?

For many the term phygital will be a new word. It is of course a term dreamt up by the marketing industry – a portmanteau of physical and digital – and describes an omni-channel shopping experience to drive sales and engagement using existing and upcoming technology such as smartphone apps, iBeacons and NFC merged with traditional shopping experiences.

Potential Uses for Thygital Marketing

I can see Google and other search engines soon taking advantage of the possibilities that the phygital sector has to offer, especially for the millennial generation. Amazon is leading with Amazon Go.

Google could start utilising our search history to display real-time digital advertisements in the physical world. For the paid search industry, that opens up a world of possibilities to target new customers.

Imagine this scenario. A 20-something shopper is walking through a large shopping centre. She is walking past a popular clothing brand store. Her smartphone or smartwatch pings out an alert; it’s from the clothing store for a discount for a dress she searched for on Google earlier in the week. The alert offers a 10% discount if she comes in the store today and buys it. The shop is utilising iBeacons, Eddystone and NFC technology linked to Google. Strangely enough, that technology is widely available; it’s just a matter of time until this kind of marketing strategy is available.

Another example that comes to mind is preference-based advertising using phygital channels. Let’s say you are in a train station and the train is running late. What a surprise – you have time to spend. You are stood close to a digital billboard with NFC technology installed.  The billboard starts to display your favourite alcoholic beverage, with the wording: “The train is running 30 minutes late. Time for a drink? Head over to the bar on Concourse 3.”

The digital marketing industry is heading for a big shake-up with big possibilities to drive sales for our clients, and paid search will lead the pack. I wonder how organic can follow. Feel free to comment below with ideas on how you can target customers using omni-channel phygital experiences.