6 ways Geolocation will change the way companies market

By Robert Szyngiel, Director of Product Management at DMTI Spatial

Not only is location accuracy improving every year, technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence have also joined the mix to make geolocation a goldmine for marketers

Location indicates intent, right? What would a person be doing at a ski resort if not skiing? What would they be doing at a car dealership if not checking out a car they want to buy? Location demonstrates intent. So, you can’t really blame marketers for dreaming of a world where a coffee shop will be able to draw in everyone who is passing by on a hot summer day for an ice-cold coffee.

Geolocation is redefining the way businesses look at marketing and advertising. Not only is location accuracy improving every year, technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence have also joined the mix – ensuring that geo-marketing becomes indispensable for any business that wants to grow. Here’s how geolocation will change the way companies market:

1) Creative Geofencing

Targeting only those people who are near the location of your store? Why not go after those who are leaving the premises of your competitors? Or focus on the areas where you are most likely to find your intended customers – something which would be paramount for those businesses that do not have a physical storefront. So, if your business manufactures beauty or makeup products, simply target salons and spa centers with geofencing. Or if you want to invite feedback from the people who have just attended an event you organized, send them a geofencing-based message as they leave the event location.

2) Richer Datasets

As more and more marketers realize how underutilized the location data they have been sitting on has been, they will start focusing on creating richer datasets based on customer segmentation. Expect businesses to pick up the digital breadcrumbs thrown out by their customers in the form of coordinates (latitude, -longitude), and add intelligence like age, gender, profession, etc., to the mix. They can then look for insights and analytics to find out how these customers can be driven to the desired location – physical or digital.

3) Predictive Analytics

By finding patterns in historical data, marketers will be able to find out their customers’ next move. Say, if a person visits a grocery store thrice a month or someone goes to the movies every week, predictive analysis of the location history will be able to tell interested businesses when their communication is most likely to get the desired results. Also, dynamically changing the messaging or discounts being offered according to these insights can become an excellent tool to pull in a lapsed customer.

4) In-Transit Shopping

With every major automaker (and a whole lot of tech companies) working on connected cars, get ready to see a big boom in advertisements targeted at people who are on the move. By using machine learning- enabled navigation apps to predict high-traffic areas, marketers can offer in-app discounts to consumers. For example, you could get 10% off if you place an order at a junction where there is a known stoppage of 3 minutes. Or a business can even offer to pay a part of your toll fee if you listen to their advertisements while you are near the toll plaza . The opportunities are endless!

5) Geosocial Experiences

With a huge chunk of location data coming from users’ checking-in to different places using social platforms, it only makes sense for marketers to create campaigns revolving around geosocial experiences. Just like The History Channel joining forces with Foursquare to give a user checking-in at a particular location a li’l bit of historical trivia about that site, businesses crave to create proactive social media experiences. And that’s an area where technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality are all set to play a significant role in the future.

6) Location meets Direct Mail

This is a particularly interesting scenario wherein businesses can fuse location intelligence with the traditional methods of marketing like sending a direct mail to the customer’s home. A personalized map, for example, can be an excellent tool to make the customer feel special. In Germany, pet food manufacturer Josera has been using this multichannel marketing technique with great success. And there’s no reason why other businesses cannot get innovative with their geomarketing strategies like this. According to a survey by the Location Based Marketing Association (LBMA), businesses in the United States spend a quarter of their marketing budgets on location-based ads and more than half of those surveyed used location data to target customers in 2017. How far geolocation will take marketing in 2018 is anybody’s guess!
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