Econsultancy’s new Location-based Marketing Smart Pack has just been released as a theory-driven explanatory guide about this rapidly evolving area.
I’ve identified 26 key elements inside this wide and complex channel that you probably need to be aware of. Notice that it’s a mixture of trends, platforms, strategy and more, as I’ve avoided simply listing the main players in the market that everyone knows about.
Let me know if you think I’ve missed anything important!
A ... is for Apps
Apps are important and have proved to be a game-changer for geomarketing. 29% of mobile owners use location based apps on their phones more than once a day and 27% use them multiple times on a weekly basis. This is expected to dramatically increase in the future.
B ... is for Businesses
Get your business online! Google Places should already be a staple part of any SME/SMB company's online marketing presence. Even enterprises with localised offline stores can jump on board to reach out to a local audience.
C ... is for Campaign
Location-based marketing can take many forms so you need to think about your objective and then build a strategy around this. Will a quick PR campaign achieve your goals, or would you be better off finding a more long-term approach?
D ... is for Directory
Getting listed in local directories is being overlooked a lot at the moment, in favour of more sexy kinds of geomarketing.
I still think there's enormous value (especially for smaller businesses) in getting onboard with niche sites such as Yelp or TopTable. It'll also help improve search visibility, which is an important factor, considering that more than 20% of search queries have a localised intent.
E ... is for Engagement
If you're going to have a geo-based mobile application, you have to make it engaging for your audience. If not, it probably won't work, especially when you consider that it has to compete with millions of other apps to stand out.
It's generally the same for any wider campaign: if it doesn't get people wanting to be involved, you're likely not to meet your objectives.
F ... is for Foursquare
I said I wouldn't mention too many location-based services, but to ignore Foursquare would be silly. The platform has seen great uptake amongst users and brands have been quick to wade in.
There are a lot of great case studies of smart, creative campaigns floating around.
G ... is for Gowalla
G was pretty hard, so I had to use this one. Gowalla is pretty similar to Foursquare: It's a location-based social network that users can connect to and check-in based on their physical location.
In return virtual rewards are collected, which can then be redeemed for real-life rewards like cinema tickets.
H ... is for Hotpot
Google is seriously throwing itself into localised content and search results. Hotpot is a new UGC local recommendation engine, Here's a good explanation as to how this works.
It still seems to be developing, but may well gather momentum in the near future.
I ... is for Information
A lot of users are looking for information from local businesses: where a store is based, opening times and more. Don't withhold this from them!
Ensure that they have access to as much information about your company as possible across as many touchpoints you can manage.
J ... is for JiWire
JiWire is a smart location-based advertising company, which uses free wifi hotspots to serve up relevant display ads.
It's quite a new company, but an innovative approach means that it is blazing a trail across location-based marketing.
K ... is for Knowledge
Before embarking on any form of geomarketing, you need to arm yourself with knowledge to help you understand your goals - at marketing and business levels - and to plan around these.
Who are your main audience? What are their behaviours? What do you want them to do? The questions that need to be asked will go on for a long time, but once you full know what the answers are, the rest should fall into place.
L ... is for Latitude
Google Latitude is a location-aware mobile app. It allows the user to share their location on Google Maps with selected people to whatever degree they want: eg. Street, city or country levels.
It can be turned on and off at will, so gives a large amount of control. While this on its own is arguably nothing special, it has an open API that marketers can take advantage of.
M ... is for Mobile
Without a doubt, mobile handsets are changing the location-based marketing game. The flexibility and potential now offered by smartphones means that the only real limit is creativity. (And budget).
N ... is for Nice-to-have
You need to question whether having some geomarketing capabilities are essential or just nice-to-have.
What's more important: allocating resources to ensure that your chain of offline stores can be found in the results of user's local search queries, or setting up a Foursquare campaign?
O ... is for Objective
What do you want from your location-based activities? Branding? Increased awareness? Sales? Leads? Once you understand this, figuring out the best strategy to achieve it should be pretty easy.
P ... is for Places
What kind of list would this be without mentioning Facebook Places? Places lets users check-in to Facebook using a mobile device and share their location with their social networks.
Recent developments have seen partnership deals with the likes of Starbucks, Debenhams, O2 and Yo!Sushi.
Q ... is for Question
As already mentioned, you need to question not only what you want from any location-based marketing, but also what your users want.
With the best will in the world, without understanding your main demographic, planning and execution of a campaign or programme can still go horribly wrong if not realised properly.
R ... is for Rewards
It's no secret that users love rewards and marketers are using this more and more. The likes of Facebook, Foursquare and Gowalla have all formed partnership deals with companies to reward users with physical products, based on ideas surrounding location loyalty.
S ... is for Search
Two words here, really: Local search. You need to make sure you're on it, for all the obvious reasons.
T ... is for Twitter
Twitter recently launched Twitter Places, which is the functionality to show the location of users as part of an opt-in process. If a user chooses this option, then all their Tweets are subsequently attached to publicly shared information about their exact location.
U ... is for User experience
In the same sense as "Engaging", geomarketing has to deliver a great user experience, particularly if it's part of a campaign. Without good UX, users will quickly stop participating.
V ... is for Voucher
W ... is for WiFi
As wifi becomes increasingly free, it's getting easier for users to share their location with their networks and to engage with geo-driven campaigns and marketing. Arguably, this has been a big driver of the increase of LBM, alongside smartphone handsets.
X ... is for X-marks the spot
Make sure your location is right! There's nothing more frustrating for a user than to discover you've moved, but haven't changed the details on search-based maps, for example...
Y ... is for Y-gen
Just something to keep in mind, but statistically, Generation-Y is more likely to share their location and engage with geomarketing.
Z ... is for Zzzz
Location-based marketing has been around for a while, but it's definitely here to stay, helped along by the user uptake of social media and mobile. If you snooze, you'll lose.
[Image credit: Andrea_44]