By John Rampton
The ongoing use of mobile devices by consumers means that companies have a much better way of tracking where their customers are going. Knowing where they are thanks to geolocation technology means that a new marketing opportunity has emerged that can maximize the return you invest in marketing. Now, companies can leverage geolocation-based marketing to reach out with personalized, local messaging, promotions, and other strategies designed to raise leads and encourage impulse purchases.
A New Language
The marketing language has changed with the introduction of geolocation. First, there is geosocial networking. Consumers commonly use this to check in from their current location on social media sites like Facebook or Foursquare. Second, there are location-based services. Consumers leverage this service to learn what is nearby like a restaurant, shop, or gas station. Also, marketers can offer promotions or messages at just the right time. That’s because they have each mobile device’s geographic position.
Then, there is what’s known as geofencing. This is a marketing tactic that involves putting a virtual perimeter out there. When people enter that with their mobile devices, they then receive specific alerts, messages, or promotions.
Who is Using Geolocation-Based Marketing?
The Location Based Marketing Association generated an infographic from research conducted by The Pew Center that illustrated just how widespread this type of marketing has become due to the increased use of mobile and social location services among consumers. Their findings included the fact that 58% of adults with smartphones have used location-based services while 55% of these have used it for directions or recommendations.
With the majority of adults now using smartphones, there is the potential that more people of all ages and backgrounds will adopt some type of location service or feature. Companies and consumers all over the world use geolocation services. Therefore, this means more opportunities for marketers.
Geolocation: An Evolving Marketing Process
It is also important to understand how technology furthers geolocation services. Sensors are an integral component. This includes Bluetooth Low Energy beacons, microchips, and sensors and microchips that power near-field communications (NFC). It’s this technology that also enables mobile payments. There are also geofences, which incorporate technology like GPS, WiFi, electromagnetic fields or RFID.
Beyond technology, marketers still have to be aware of other factors if they want the technology to be effective. That means understanding where your customers are coming from and where they are headed. You’ll also need to figure out what gets their attention and admiration. All the technology in the world identifying where a customer does not matter unless the marketer has the context for the various types of experiences that customers go through, it won’t yield results. As the technology evolves, a marketer must still be that human point of context that can integrate that very necessary perspective about behavior and customer expectations.
An Immediate Impact
The real impact is in the benefits that this marketing strategy is providing to companies of all sizes and across multiple industries. Here are some of the key ways you can gain an advantage quickly:
- Social media sites offer location-based searches that allow you to find prospects by city, region, or country. This is ideal when you have a physical location and want to draw customers to your business. Targeted marketing messages are sent to these prospects. These include a special or promotion as an incentive.
- You can receive an alert when customers are in a certain area. This allows you to interact with them. Customers like to know that you are interested in what they are doing. This can quickly increase the engagement level with them, especially if you can tie some reward to it. When they are walking into your store, use a geolocation alert you and send them a greeting with timed promotions or a coupon to increase the chances of them buying while there. Even beyond a purchase then, it can also encourage them to come back again in the future.
Then, there are advantages that can be achieved over time:
- While the ability to incite impulse decisions is a great benefit, the results don’t have to always be immediate to get your ROI. For example, the geolocation data leads to a profile of buying habits. This profile shapes future marketing campaigns. This profile can also include dates so that you know when to follow-up with certain customers. An analytics platform assists with developing this profile.
- Other information that comes from the geolocation data an tell you where they went in your store and how long they stayed. This also can impact other marketing endeavors, including store layout, in-store promotions, and product placement. This approach improves their experience.
Things to Remember
When it comes to geolocation-based marketing, you still must proceed with caution. While customers like the engagement and attention, they are also very concerned about their privacy and maintaining some distance. That means finding the right balance between respecting those boundaries and taking the available data to do something that enhances customer experiences. A best practice is to use an opt-in arrangement for location-based services. That way, users can choose to agree with this sharing or not. For those that do connect with your business this way, you can target even more precisely as well as engage in new and exciting ways. It also delivers a win-win for a sustained relationship.
When you can personalize the customer experience across channels, you can provide a unique experience that increases customer loyalty and satisfaction. But in order to do that successfully, you’ll need to know how. Download the Personalization Playbook for more information on how to make it happen.
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