Today, three NFC (near field communication) specialists are announcing a global alliance to help promote the use of the technology as a viable mobile marketing tool. The firms involved in the NFC World Alliance each represent a different geographic region, and include Blue Bite (America’s region), Proxama (EMEA) and Tapit (Asia-Pacific).
All three already have experience in running successful NFC-based campaigns that have helped connect brands to their audiences on a large scale.
“We’re very excited about the potential of NFC,” says Blue Bite’s VP Business Development Dan Trigub, referring the to short-range, high frequency technology that, these days, is often more associated with mobile wallets and mobile payments systems than it is with advertising. In the future, NFC could provide comparable reach to traditional mobile media, Trigub explains.
“NFC is becoming a standard feature on mobile handsets,” adds Neil Garner, CEO of Proxama, “particularly for tag reading.” Tag reading enables a consumer to tap an NFC-enabled item, like a poster or sticker, to receive information or perform an action. Similar to the functions provided now by barcode scanners, with a tap, users of NFC phones could launch an app or visit a website, for example. But NFC can also enable other actions, too, such as “liking” a brand on Facebook, following a Twitter account, or even switching on Bluetooth to opt into direct-to-mobile offers from a retailer.
In addition to the combined interest in promoting NFC technology, the three companies involved in the alliance have access to the key media buyers in the region, which makes the newly formed group sort of a one-stop-shop for a brand looking to run or expand a global campaign in other regions. Alliance members will provide support, analytics and other tools to participating brands looking to experiment with the new medium, they say.
After a campaign completes, the firms will share the details of what they learned with each other in terms of what worked and what did not, so they can all improve their own systems. At some later point, this information may also be released in the form of research reports or white papers.
And, says Tapit CEO Jamie Cunningham, when there is leftover ad inventory, members may also use that space – like the ad panels at a bus stop, for instance – in consumer education efforts about the benefits of NFC and how it works.
In short, the participating firms simply believe that when it comes to consumer adoption of NFC, it will be brands leading the way, not the OEMs, handset makers and mobile payments companies. Whether or not that’s accurate remains to be seen, of course. However, the alliance is yet another example of NFC’s upward momentum this year, which in and of itself speaks to the technology’s growing potential.