Make Money off Your Kids to Pay for Their College!

I have been heavily researching mobile marketing and specifically, iBeacons, which are low-cost Bluetooth Smart transmitters that work in many forms – and like all marketers I see issues and tremendous opportunities. I have also been talking to my brother about how is he going to pay for his kids to go to college? And then…

Lightning struck!! He can turn his kids into iBeacons!

Think about it – who is going to suspect that sweet looking little boy or girl in a department store who is BORED out of their minds? All the while they are in Macy’s, they are transmitting offers for Bloomingdales. It makes the “Miracle on 34th Street” seem… well, childish. It’s the ultimate business: mobile competitive offers – with kids (better make it your own kids to be safe).

"It makes "Miracle on 34th Street" seem… well, childish."

Start-up costs are low since beacons are a low-cost piece of hardware small enough to attach to a wall, a desk or even a clothes rack, and they have low-energy Bluetooth connections to transmit messages or prompts directly to a smartphone or tablet. And now you can add a child as a place for a beacon! Here are some pointers I gave my brother for planning:

  • iBeacons can connect with iOS devices that have the pertinent apps installed;
  • Perfect for loyalty programs or instant offers;
  • Accept that the range is 2 meters – 30 meters (so keep the kids close);
  • Assume that customers are opting in to provide Trustability (as Don Peppers would say).

And the ROI is tremendous – having kids moving around with the iBeacons among the consumers, rather than the iBeacons being small objects attached to sedated walls or desks. You can make money off them playing hide-and-seek in the store while your spouse tries on those new pants they really need (or not!).

There are so many opportunities opening up in mobile marketing and we marketers are going to explore, test, and measure over the next few years, but this idea is a keeper for all of you parents. If you are a soccer coach, den mother, etc., I’ve got two words for you: Ka-Ching!


There's a better way to engage and retain customers - one which turns traditional methods on their head. Learn more with our new eBook, 5 Ways to Maximize Customer Value.