Tips for Location-Based Marketing: Part 1

Dave LawsonMarketers today are being impacted by location in ways that many would have never expected. When planning and executing mobile marketing strategies, location plays an inextricably important role.
Given the fascination and hype surrounding location-based media options, check-ins, and the like, I’m leaving those targeting topics for another blogger, or at least another day. I will also leave the topic of privacy for future discussion-(always assume when we discuss location that information is received with opted-in permission of the user and that the value exchange is always weighted in the user’s favor.)

Being cognizant of a user’s context when they are interacting with a brand can mean so much to any marketing effort. Even today, with location being on everyone’s minds, planning is a bit one-sided and revolves solely around a physical location (e.g. I want to market to people in Dallas, TX and Akron, OH). This is important but there are some other ways to advance your thinking around effective uses of location awareness.

Context can mean a lot of things in the location-marketing space, a useful way to frame thinking around how to exploit a location element is by dividing strategy into three different classifications that can/should be applied to any initiative you are considering :

  1. Viability
  2. In-the-moment
  3. Life pattern/Story boarding

I’ll tackle each of these elements in a series of posts. Let’s take a look at how viability should be applied to your location-based mobile initiatives.

Viability: Is the marketing opportunity and the engagement you have designed going to be technically viable in the location of the user when the marketable opportunity arises? Simply put: will it work?

A good example of this is some failures you are likely to have experienced yourself. For example, at a leading retail conference in NYC last year, the topic of mobile marketing was on the tip of many attendees and especially exhibitor’s tongues. The stage was set to capture all that enthusiasm and ride a wave of good feelings to a year of mobile excellence by marketers and revenue creation by technology providers.

Unfortunately, lack of connectivity in the exhibit hall and around the conference center raised some big questions about the viability of mobile technology changing the in-store experience. No one can say precisely if or how this delayed an entire industry segment’s paradigm shift in marketing options but it certainly didn’t help advance the cause. A big investment suddenly became a big risk simply based on the limitations of location.

This translates directly to marketers looking to leverage the transformative nature of the mobile channel. Here are a few examples of ways to consider viability in your planning:

  • Cross-national/cross-cultural considerations for function and user experience: An example being CPG or product manufacturers that sell in North America primarily in the US and Canada. Many approach the markets very similarly but when launching an SMS campaign need to make sure hang tags, on-product placements, and shelf talkers use the US code in the States and the Canadian code in Canada.
  • Is the engagement opportunity you imagine a reality? For instance, as 2D barcodes become more mainstream, think about your placements in publications and real use cases. In airplanes and cruise ships for instance, the traveler is a highly desirable consumer to target but much of the customer-facing time is spent without the ability to connect to your mobile destination. Be aware of the most likely times those scans will be successful and plan for that.
  • Along similar lines, is connectivity possible at all? For retail, hospitality, events, and even medical and pharmaceutical efforts, consider offering wifi in low-connectivity environments and let people know it’s available to them to have access to enhanced experiences. Think about high limit caching of data and images for times when connectivity might be an issue.
  • How “on the go” is the mobile audience you plan to engage? For situations where you are likely to be communicating with people who are not in their native home environment, consider if they will have a proper roaming data and minutes plan, and what alternative language presentations you might automatically key.

These viability considerations are crucial to your engagement being functional and when addressed proactively, can vastly improve a mobile engagement for the user.

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