When you think about it, it sounds obvious. But the fact that the mobile is always with us, the fact that effectively it locates the user in real-time, has huge implications for marketing in the 21st century. And the implications of that are only beginning to be truly understood.

Sure, we’ve had what we might call ‘dumb’ location in the past. Think of the campaign that sends push notifications to everyone in a sports stadium to let them know there is a sale on at half-time. That’s all very exciting, but the truth is those campaigns were less effective than many marketers hoped. It’s not that hard to work out why either: apart from all being in the same place (or somewhere near that place) at the same time, most of these people had little in common.

Location Plus Intelligence

What’s changing is the ability to fold in user information that is NOT related to their location at that specific moment in time. That could relate to anything, but most obvious would be location information from the past (where someone has been, in other words) and data relating to app usage - what users are interested in, what they buy and browse, when they use a product or service: as any Swrve customer knows there is almost no limit to this data.

That combination of location + intelligence opens up a whole new world of campaigns - campaigns that are highly targeted and can really make a difference. Here’s a few examples:

  • Pre-emptive mobile campaigns. If someone is disposed toward your particular store (ie because they have your app) you can ‘catch’ them as they park their car and let them know there is a sale on that day. Better yet, it’s possible to make that message relevant to what they browsed in the past. The result is shoppers in your store first - which statistically is likely to give you more share of wallet
  • Competitor targeting. As we all know, when you see a Starbucks in San Francisco, it's pretty likely that you'll also see a Peet's. What’s really interesting is that with a little work, the marketers in either of those organizations can know how often their customers buy a coffee in either - and can deliver mobile campaigns relevant to those spending patterns.
  • In-store maps and directions. Especially now the Apple Watch is on the market, many major department and grocery chains are looking to create in-store maps, and offering walking directions to find items on an app-generated shopping list. It is possible to both track what is left to buy and offer specific directions for how to get there - and the result is happier shoppers and (more importantly) more revenue!
  • Offers based on offline browsing behavior. Location isn’t just about space, it’s about time as well. How long someone dwells in a particular spot will tell you an awful lot about how they feel about the items they are looking at. Fortunately we can parse this information and deliver mobile campaigns based on dwell times (or repeated dwell times) in store. Spent 10 minutes looking at Prada shoes in store? Spent 10 minutes doing the same thing 3 times this week already? That’s when it might be profitable to deliver a mobile campaign advertising a 20% discount - specially for that customer!

Of course the possibilities don’t end there - they are almost limitless. As we gather more location data, and match that with user profiles and behavior over time, marketers have ever more sophisticated campaigns open to them. Make sure to deliver them in a targeted, helpful way and your customers will love you!