Using Beacon Triggered Push Notifications to Promote Upcoming Events

Dukes Rewards, James Madison University’s (JMU) rewards program, sets up strategically placed beacons throughout the campus to send notifications to students even when there aren’t any events. James Madison believes that Duke Rewards beacon notifications drives student attendance and increases student engagement with JMU Athletics’ programs.

Since its initiation, Dukes Rewards has helped James Madison drive student attendance to JMU Athletics’ revenue and non-revenue sports, said Director of Marketing Taylor Dewey. Duke Rewards gives points to members that attend JMU Athletic’s events, which encourages students to attend the non-revenue sports, said Dewey.

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Dukes Rewards then allows members to use the points they earn for athletics merchandise, tickets and cool prizes like an Ipad Mini. They can see these prizes, upcoming events, and other ways to earn points on the Duke Rewards website or mobile app.

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Dukes Rewards creates new members by encouraging incoming students to sign up. Duke Rewards also uses giveaways on campus and emails to students to promote the use of Duke Rewards during the first weeks of school.

But after the first month, it can be difficult to keep students engaged with the program. So Dukes Rewards plans on using the beacons that they have set up throughout campus to remind students to participate. “Some students will forget to check-in, so the reason we wanted to do the beacons is to make it easier [for student participation],” said Justin Zenz, Assistant Director of Ticketing & Customer Relations.

Beacon notifications will encourage students to open the app, see what prizes they can win and what events they can attend in the future, said Zenz.

Dukes Rewards positions beacons at the entrances of football, softball and basketball stadiums on campus. These entrances are strategic because they can be used during game day but also when students on campus walk by a beacon when an event isn’t happening.

If days before a game, students pass by the entrance to the football stadium, Dukes Rewards may send out a targeted message to them. The message might read something like “Looking forward to having you out Friday night,” or “Check out a big game tomorrow night!”

Beacons requires Bluetooth, so Dukes Rewards encourages students to keep Bluetooth on so they can receive the beacon notifications. They plan to do this through using exclusive promo codes and giveaways that students may only receive through beacon notifications. Another creative way Dukes Rewards intends to use the beacons is to have one with their mascot, Duke Dog when he is walking around. Students are then alerted when he is near with a beacon notification, which creates a reward for students that keep on their Bluetooth.

“Beacons will make it even easier for the students, they don’t even have to remember to take out their phones, they don’t have to remember to open the app, just by being there we can ping them and thank them for coming,” said Dewey.

Through the use of beacons, Dukes Rewards hopes to continue to drive student attendance and maintain steady engagement with James Madison Athletics’ events.