Pokémon GO. Simply put, it’s a global phenomenon. But it has also spurred discussion among retailers, brands and marketers about how to use the location-aware nature of the game to cash in on its success.
However, many may not have considered why or how to incorporate location-aware mobile marketing efforts into their strategy for long-term success.
The mobile beast is difficult to tame.
By now, marketers recognize that mobile has created a major shift in how people behave, and the resulting opportunities for brands to reach and engage them. Along with the mobile-driven shift in behavior has come a shift in expectations. People increasingly expect their interactions with brands to be personally relevant to their preferences and interests, and also to their immediate needs in the moment.
In a survey by Google and Ipsos, 69% of online consumers answered that the quality, timing or relevance of a company’s message influences their perception of a brand.
Due to the rapidly evolving nature of mobile technology, and its impact on people’s behaviors and expectations, it can be difficult for marketers to keep up with how to best leverage mobile as part of an overarching marketing strategy that delivers a personal and contextually relevant customer experience.
According to a recent study by PointSource, 54% of retailers say their biggest challenge around mobile experience is finding ways to integrate mobile strategy into their overall marketing strategy.
Location-based marketing provides opportunity for brands to create deeper connections with their customers.
Location-based marketing is the use of location intelligence in mobile marketing to target mobile users within a certain location or geographic area. This might bring to mind in-store beacon technology that allows retailers to ping customers with messaging or offers such as coupons while in store, or location-based app notifications that use geo-fencing.
Behavioral economist Dan Ariely has stated that today’s marketers must “think about the context of their customer on the path to purchase: where they are, what device they’re on, and what their likely mindset is in that given moment.” Location-based marketing creates opportunity for brands and marketers to better reach and engage customers by delivering a personal and contextually relevant experience, both in mobile moments and as part of the overall customer experience.
The following are considerations for brands and marketers to help think about the context of their customer throughout their journey (the phases the customer goes through in their unique relationship with a brand) and incorporate location-based marketing as part of their marketing strategy.
Brands of all kinds, and especially those that have physical retail locations, can benefit from using location-based marketing to build awareness of their local presence. This can include paid search and social media ads that leverage data to provide location-relevant messaging.
For the best approach, brands must consider what their target customers are doing on their mobile devices, including what they might be searching for based on their current situation, location and their immediate needs.
Hilton Worldwide used data to target people in airports at times when there were a lot of flight cancellations by proactively increasing its paid search ad buy in those markets and serving ads for nearby Hilton hotels with geo-targeted messaging to people searching things like “Philadelphia airport hotels.”
Once a prospective customer has moved to the evaluation phase, brands must provide optimized mobile experiences that serve up the contextually relevant information they are seeking in that moment. Websites and landing pages must be mobile-friendly, with quick load times and content that is prioritized by what a customer is looking for in that mobile moment.
Brands can use a customer’s location to help provide the most relevant information and answers that will give them the confidence to quickly make a decision.
GoHealth Urgent Care uses geolocation data on its mobile site to serve up urgent care center listings in order of proximity to the user, along with providing estimated wait times and online check-in. The site also features integrations with Google Maps and Uber to help a user easily figure out how to get to the location.
Once customers have made their decision, brands must provide an experience that allows them to easily take action, such as making a purchase, scheduling an appointment or visiting a location. Brands can use location-based marketing to provide a more relevant and convenient experience in this phase.
Best Buy makes it easy for the on-the-go customer to find and purchase a product by using Google local inventory ads to display its current inventory at stores closest to the customer’s location. A customer that searches “slr cameras” will see exactly which SLR cameras are in stock at nearby stores. The ads let the customer choose to buy online, but also feature an option to pick up in store for added convenience.
Once a brand has acquired a customer, mobile can play a large part of an effective engagement strategy to build the relationship with that customer over time to keep them satisfied and coming back.
A popular way to do this is by creating a brand app. However, with many customers at a point of app fatigue, only a select few apps are actually used on a regular basis. To be successful, a brand app must deliver genuine, long-term value for customers, and location-based marketing can help in providing this value.
In addition to allowing customers to make payments, report claims and view policy info, Security First Insurance’s mobile app allows Florida homeowners to quickly plot their current location against an active storm’s ever-changing path relative to that location using an interactive Storm Tracker. Using social plug-ins, they can also share their map and storm updates with friends and family.
Other opportunities for brands to build loyalty using location-based marketing include adding enhanced personalization to engagement communications, such as providing nearest store location or weather-based messaging in email campaigns.
Pokémon GO may be a tipping point that has started many brands and retailers thinking about how to adopt location-aware marketing tactics, but there’s much more they must consider to achieve long-term success.
In a world where customer-brand interactions are increasingly taking place on mobile devices, and in on-the-go moments, location-based marketing will be an important factor for brands to successfully deliver a personal and contextually relevant customer experience. Those brands that can leverage mobile location data to provide value at each stage of their customer’s journey will be best positioned to win.
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