Op-Ed: What Marketers Need to Know About Geolocation Tech

Op-Ed: What Marketers Need to Know About Geolocation TechThe following is a guest contributed post from Ben Tepfer, Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign.

The famous refrain “location, location, location” may have been borne out of the real estate industry, but its relevance to marketing is undeniable. At the most basic level, geolocation allows businesses to understand customers’ interactions in the physical world. When customers do this, it’s as if they have given you a treasure map complete with an X that marks the spot. Savvy marketers understand how to turn location into an experience.

Geolocation Wins with Real-Time Relevancy

Marketers know that geolocation technology can help them interact with customers in two ways. First, by understanding customers’ activities in the physical world, geolocation helps answer the question, “What are my customers doing?” Knowing what they’re up to helps marketers address the second concern: “How can I better engage these customers?” In other words, using geolocation gives companies the chance to give customers relevant, meaningful experiences—intercessions that can make a customer’s life better. That’s a great way to build relationships.

In real time, in real space, as conditions change, brands can be at the ready for their customers, many of whom want to be served. A majority of consumers—55 percent—feel it would be useful to receive marketing promotions on their mobile devices while in a physical store. Imagine connecting with your customers through iBeacon technology as they walk down the aisles of your store. In understanding their shopping habits and the products they’re looking at alongside their history with your brand, you’ll be well-positioned to send customers the right offer at the right moment.

The “U.S. Mobile Benchmark Report” by Adobe found that 71 percent of consumers are more receptive to personalized ads. That makes sense. Customers who live in Southern Florida, for example, don’t want you to waste their time with offers on snow skis instead of water skis. The perceived cluelessness of a brand failing to geographically personalize interactions with customers will only stand out in greater relief as competitors move to adopt geolocation technology. Already, 49 percent of marketers use GPS to deliver location-aware content to customers, the Adobe report finds, while another 48.8 percent plan to use it in the next 12 months.

As alluded to previously, each customer will—and should—have the opportunity to decide how much privacy they want to give up in exchange for what you have to offer. You will have to provide something valuable in exchange for the privilege of connecting with customers through geolocation. Mainly though, ask customers’ permission to accompany them on their purchasing journeys.

Let’s take a look at how you can get started with geolocation:

  • First, map your customers journeys. You’ll need to walk a thousand miles in their shoes to anticipate what they will need and want.

Did you notice I said journeys, and not journey? You don’t have one generic customer, so you won’t have only one journey to map. Think of all the routes you can take to get from point A to B in your hometown; there are multiple routes. Understanding customer needs enables great customer experiences, and great customer experiences equals great marketing. If you’re new to mapping customers’ journeys, you can get some tips for beginners. Brands who commit to understanding the customer journey also learn how to improve company processes and policies from the buyer’s perspective. Everyone wins.

  • Next, get your customers’ permission to geolocate them. Otherwise you’re going to be creepy and repel customers. Tell them what data you’ll collect, when you’ll collect it, how you’ll collect it, and why you’ll collect it. If you follow customers’ movements through smart phones via iBeacons in your store, tell them the benefits of allowing you to do so—you’ll send personalized offers right to their phones, for instance.
  • With permissions in place, use geolocation technology to accompany customers, providing handy and timely services and offers. By accompanying each customer, you’ll be able to zero in on a customer’s particular journey, tailoring your marketing to each person’s specific needs as revealed by their movements. These consumers gave you permission to map their movements and behavior for a reason, and that reason is for you to provide a helpful, pleasurable experience tailored especially for them. Let the customer inspire the particular customer experience you provide.
  • Finally, build deeper relationships with customers based on what you learn. Use the information to enhance and expand the customer experience into more traditional channels, such as email, which remains the workhorse of modern communications campaigns providing $39 returned for every dollar spent, according to the Digital Marketing Association. Insight from geolocation will allow you to enhance messages with dynamic and contextually relevant content that is more likely to elicit interest and action from the customer

Combining such practices with geolocation, you can make every stop on the customer’s journey feel like a treasure hunt.