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Geolocation and Geomarketing

July 15, 2014

What is Geolocation? Geolocation is the identification of the real-world physical, or geographic location and behavior of an object such as a mobile phone or an Internet-connected computer. The integration of this information into aspects of marketing is referred to as geomarketing

It’s fairly easy to recognize why marketers would be interested in geolocation: you can effectively target customers at the most crucial point in their consideration cycle – standing right in front of you or the product. Historically, digital marketing has been relegated to brand awareness or driving customers into e-commerce.

Social media has been shown to break the wall that exists between the two – brand building and purchase behavior. Starbucks has done a fantastic job of driving sales through social media engagement.

The value of geolocation for the consumer is not as clear, though. Studies have shown that more than 30% people who have smartphones say privacy concerns prevent them from sharing their location on their mobile devices. 

To overcome consumers’ fears about privacy, marketers can use a brand’s authority and reputation. Brand trust will be one of the main factors in driving geolocation services into the mainstream. Nike and their Nike+ products are a good example of this. On top of their brand authority, Nike used sharing achievements with friends and the running community to provide consumers a clear reason to share their personal information and location data. 

Yelp is another company that successfully used geolocation on top of social media from the beginning. By letting reviewers check into restaurants with their phones, they could be reminded later to review the restaurant. This built their reputation with their friends and others as an authoritative “foodie.” That reputation was worth giving up some privacy for.

Don’t worry about getting everyone – especially your casual customers to check-in or engage with other geolocation services. Instead, you should incentivize your most loyal advocates – your existing, active social media followers. These consumers will let you know how much they trust your brand based on their social behavior. Plus, you can tell how influential a consumers is when they check-in or use other geolocation abilities. Always reward and thusly reinforce that behavior.

Create rewards and reinforcements that yield richer social connections with your consumers. By putting consumers in touch with each other, your brand creates a meaningful and engaged community around a shared idea. That’s a big win for everyone.

For example, Taplister does a great job of this by connecting beer aficionados with geolocation information about where their favorite beers are on tap. Taplister successfully builds on the beer lover’s desire to taste, compare and discuss beers with others interested in the topic.

As of 2014, Over 60 million people have used a geolocation service. That’s enough to recognize that geolocation and geomarketing should be an important component of any digital marketing strategy. It’s still early enough for you to run a pilot program to determine what works and what doesn’t without risking your brand equity. Information you acquire will become invaluable when using geolocation services becomes as commonplace as sharing a picture on Facebook.

What are you doing to be ready?

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