The Marketing Bureau

Specialist Marketing & Communications Resourecs



Where Do You Want To Shop Today?

Location Redefining Behavior Marketing  

By Mitch Wagner, Editor in Chief
The CMO Site

This will be a big year for mobile-enabled local marketing. Marketers will pioneer ways to turn mobile marketing into real-world commerce, according to an Adweek report.

Location marketing goes beyond check-in services like Foursquare to target consumers with offers and information pinpointed to their location.

For example, the Weather Channel works with brands, including Westin Hotels and Resorts, to target users with weather-based campaigns, Adweek says. This year, the channel plans to roll out a new location-based function capable of targeting users at a level more local than the ZIP code.

Victoria's Secret is integrating local aspects into its rich-media display ads. Clicking an ad will point consumers to the nearest retail location.

But location-based mobile display ads require users to open an app, which presents an obstacle, Adweek says. A technique called "geofencing" sidesteps the problem. After opting in once, the user receives local ads any time the phone is on.

JetBlue uses Placecast ShopAlerts to geofence airports. Placecast says 6 million consumers opted in to receive ShopAlerts, and 130 brands are using the platform. “It creates ways for the brand to interact with those consumers in meaningful ways tied to location,” Placecast CEO Alistair Goodman told Adweek. “It doesn’t just have to be deals.” The North Face uses Placecast to geofence ski resorts and deliver snow reports to skiers.

One problem with geofencing is that marketers perceive the technique as lacking scale. Privacy is also a concern.

The Adweek article barely touches on another possible obstacle to geofencing: the annoyance factor. When faced with a growing number of alerts from advertisers, consumers might simply switch them all off.

Check-in services like Foursquare are the best-known example of mobile marketing, but they're actually pretty small. Only 6 percent of US adults online have used an app like Foursquare or Facebook's Gowalla, according to a Forrester report released in December. That's just 2 percentage points of growth from a year earlier. By comparison, the report said 55 percent of smartphone owners use their device to get location-based information such as restaurant recommendations or driving directions.

According to Adweek, brands have had mixed results with check-in campaigns:

Take JetBlue Airways. Members of JetBlue’s TrueBlue loyalty program can link their accounts to an app on the company’s Facebook page. Then, by checking in at various JetBlue terminals, they automatically received TrueBlue points or special offers.

To encourage customers to participate, the airline’s agency Mullen executed a campaign in which travelers automatically received text messages when they entered an airport, reminding them to check in—a tactic known as geofencing. But as the airline shifted focus to updating its digital platforms (JetBlue unveiled redesigned mobile and desktop sites as well as an iPhone app last week), the check-in campaign went dormant.

But JetBlue hasn't killed the program. The airline is looking at ways to improve it, perhaps by integrating it with a branded iPhone app, Adweek says.

Are you looking at mobile marketing this year? Geofencing? How about check-in marketing? What kinds of results are you seeing? Let us know.


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