Some Keys to Geography-Based Mobile Marketing

Brian DeaganIn many respects, geography-based solutions are the holy grail of mobile marketing. The potential is huge. There's been enormous progress in making it a reality, but marketers also have to look at what's practical today and how best to invest in this promising channel.

For geography-based mobile marketing to really take off, there are still some key developments that have to happen. First, mobile manufacturers and mobile carriers need to open their platforms more. Some phones do make the location of the consumer available to third-party application developers via GPS. Others do not. Third-party developers, (like us) can also use triangulation to pinpoint location. It’s nice that these options are becoming available. Unfortunately, developers have to accommodate both for the time being.

In addition, both of these approaches require the consumer to download an application to their mobile phone. For some mobile devices, like the iPhone, this isn’t a big deal. For almost any other phone it’s an enormous pain point for the consumer because most phones are horrible at multi-tasking.

Therefore, marketers should ask themselves the following questions before investing in geography-based mobile marketing:

“Are the benefits to the consumer for my geography-based mobile marketing program so compelling that it’s a reasonable expectation for them to:
1) Download my application to their phone
2) Step through the process to install it on their mobile phone
3) Make sure it’s running when they walk through the doors of my location?”

Knotice believes these are not reasonable expectations to place on consumers. For the majority of consumers, asking them to download and install a mobile application is still a lot of work. And until multi-tasking improves, asking consumers to have only “your program” running on their phones is unrealistic.

For the current stage of development, at least through 2009, Knotice recommends using an existing CRM integration between a database provider and a software platform with bi-directional SMS and mobile web capabilities. This type of integration will achieve pseudo geography-based mobile marketing.

Let’s put this in perspective with a quick, concrete example from the hospitality industry. Based on an expected or actual check-in date, the right software will “know” when a consumer has arrived at a given property, and can trigger a permission-based, multi-sage mobile marketing campaign accordingly.

As multi-tasking improves, and it becomes increasingly transparent for consumers when a third-party application is running on their phone, consumers will be more inclined to receive geography-based mobile marketing.

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