The Future of Location Based Marketing Location based marketing offers great potential for growth but marketers are still not cashing in. Here's why-

By Zafar Rais

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Virtual reality devices, location-based services, personal broadcasting networks—10 years ago, these technologies seemed like something out of a science-fiction movie. Location-based marketing has expanded in the past few years, opening up avenues to reach out to customers on the move. Location-based marketing and the technology that drives it are expected to grow this year, driven by adoption from big brands and heavier investments by the social media giants. According to a new study of brand marketers, 75% believe location based marketing is an important element to their business strategy in 2016. With mobile Internet becoming widely accessible and the giants of social networking sites investing in a more synchronized form of location-integration into their products, there's a lot to expect in the coming years.

Research studies on mobile marketing show that 42 consumers feel that the marketing communications they receive from businesses on their mobile devices are neither relevant nor useful. Location-based marketing answers the concern through relevant and personalized localization. Customers and their the need to be constantly updated, are open to sharing their personal information with brands when they download their apps and further share their location, shopping inclination, demographics, amongst various other personal information. When they visit a mall, they receive a notification from a coffee shop in the vicinity with a special offer, automatically luring them in. Such location-based advertising has been proven to be 20 times more effective in providing returns than the generic banner ads. Location targeting technologies such as iBeacon and Geo­fencing can enable apps to target consumers individually based on all the information provided to them. Google Now is one such example of how a marketer can connect with its consumers via adapted and local reminders by means of geo-­fencing technology.

Location-based services (LBS) rely on smartphones that allow users to access rich internet features wherever they are using GPS (global positioning system) technology. Google Places, Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram have been leveraging LBS to the optimum, syncing it brilliantly towards brand and consumer advantage. While Facebook provides users with the advantage of searching nearby locations and places friends have visited, along with letting others know when they check-in to a place, Instagram has a useful geo-tagging feature that collates content and elevates brand experiences. Foursquare, one of the pioneers of LBS, has business owners provide offers and discounts in exchange for a check-in.

What's particularly interesting to marketers is that, aside from seeking directions to specific places, geolocation-enabled activities are often directly related to consumer-related behaviour. Data-driven geolocation notifications and incentive with alerts along with geo-conquesting which refers to targeting competitors locations with their aggressive brand offers can help marketers plan and implement a concrete location based marketing strategy.

Many research studies have highlighted that mobile is increasingly growing on its monetization feature. The average consumer now spends a large amount of their time consuming media through mobile, leading to an increased spend of advertising budgets on mobile devices. Secondly, the mobile ad ecosystem is now sufficiently robust to support what marketers want: legitimate content choices on where to put ads, different formats of targeting, such as banner, carousel, sequential, etc. With the introduction of its new "Local" feature, Facebook brings in local awareness form of advertising which allows you to target people in and around the brand property or presence. This translates into real customer results.

Zomato makes for a great example of LBS done right. The brand has a well incorporated mechanism with social media which allows a consumer to check-in via the application followed by other features which include providing reviews, ratings, etc. The app provides the best incentive alert strategy which helps in bringing the localization aspect towards a marketing strategy. Brands such as Splash Fashions, JW Marriott Juhu, Sula Vineyards have made use of location based marketing for promotions and succeeded in increasing foot-falls. Also, location based social data fills the gaps left when relevant keywords are not used and provides a rich visualization of the real-time happenings during an event.

Combined with programmatic technology, brands can leverage location with acute precision to influence everything from awareness to in-store purchase intent. Data surrounding a consumer's daily habits through where they go is, in fact, the crux to building personalized messaging that will make people feel valued as individuals. A well-optimized mobile website, a perfect keyword selection and engaging content can help in planning a successful location-based strategy.

Privacy is one of the main hesitations concerns that's holding this technology from sky-rocketing. By being straightforward with consumers and utilizing specific tactics companies can push past the privacy barrier. Some of these tactics include in store Wi-Fi, geo-fencing and radio frequency identification.

As the consumer increasingly becomes more interested in their locations being used to enhance their experiences, location awareness will be critical for varied product and service offerings. With smart phone penetration and the number of active social media users, the use of location services and its value is bound to soar up. Merchants or vendors who use this to their advantage will stand out amongst various others helping them become leaders within their domain.

Zafar is a Post Graduate in Business Management. He has over a decade of experience in areas of marketing, sales, operations, research and product innovation. After an early start into the digital era, Zafar established a need state for ‘MindShift Interactive’. Through his entrepreneurial venture he promises to deliver Insightful Digital Outreach for businesses and create a presence for brands that is backed by insights, intelligence and impact. Under Zafar’s leadership, MindShift Interactive runs two business verticals, MindShift Digital (Digital Marketing, Influencer Relations & Mobile Technology) and MindShift Metrics (Digital Research and Social Care). Zafar is highly passionate about creating global impact through digital and is an avid traveler.


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