Three ways to utilise location for mobile first marketing

In a recent post I discussed whether mobile marketing needs to be contextual. Forester’s, in its Mobile Mind Shift, describes contextual marketing as: “The expectation that any desired information or service is available, on any appropriate device, in context, at your moment of need”.

Therefore “the right content at the right time with the right action”.

One component of contextual marketing is location. Location is all powerful and, when used in the right way, enables you to send personal and valuable content to your customers.

Using location marketing allows you to target customers where they are AND where they have been, using both app location and app tracking.

What are the ways use location for mobile first marketing?

1. Rich (Push) messaging

Push messaging is a way to send an ‘alert’ to a smartphone via an app. When you are segmenting your app subscribers, and the customer has allowed the app to know their location, you can target content to customers at a specific location.

Therefore when you are running location specific promotions you can segment customers based on a specific location and target them with relevant content.

Services such as Urban Airship allow you to send push messaging that directs to the mobile app ‘inbox’. The mobile app inbox contains a richer more HTML-like message where content can be tailored to a specific location.

Another example would involve sending a high-value coupon to users who haven’t opened your app recently and have been near your store, as an incentive to win back their custom.

Specific examples show that push messaging does work: for example, Rip Curl drove a 23 percent increase in app opens by incorporating rich media push notifications.

2. Geo-fencing

Geo-fencing is a potentially powerful, albeit new, way to communicate with customers. Geo-fencing involves sending a message to a mobile device when that device enters a location-based area; i.e. the geo-fence. Programs that incorporate geo-fencing allow an administrator to set up triggers so when a device enters (or exits) the boundaries defined by the administrator, a text message or email alert is sent.

Geo-fencing (geofencing) is a feature in a software program that uses the global positioning system (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to define geographical boundaries. A geofence is a virtual barrier.

The power of geo-fencing is that the technology is compatible with 92% of U.S. mobile phones.

Neiman Marcus is piloting geofencing in its stores so salespeople can see when VIP customers are in store, look at their purchase history and provide more personalised service. But Costa warns: “Make sure it’s not intrusive, make sure it’s additive. The value exchange has to be there.”

Other examples:

  • A restaurant can trigger a text message with the day’s specials to an opt-in customer when the customer enters a defined geographical area
  • A mall/shopping centre send alerts to shoppers via text with shop offers when they enter the area

3. Live email content

Using live email content in email messages allows you to change images based on the location of the recipient when they open your email. Therefore you can show location-based content at the time & location of open.

Using live content ensures that email is now location-relevant every time email is opened.

Live content uses GEO-IP to determine location and is therefore not 100% reliable (unlike GPS); however, it is still accurate enough to be useful and engaging.

You can show the nearest store to a customer based on location of open. Then, when they click on the image, they will get directions to the actual nearest store via maps application (using GPS).

You can combine location and weather to:

- Change products in email depending on weather at the time of open. For example, wet weather gear if it is raining, and ski gear if it is snowing.

  • Show the 5 day weather forecast at a travel destination
  • Show live weather forecast for the location at time of open

Your customer is constantly on the move and your email content can now update in sync with them. Update email imagery, show nearest offers and trigger messages when your customers is in the correct location or on the move.

What other contextual marketing opportunities have you used?

About Matt Hayes

I'm immersed in the mobile marketing world and the Co-Founder of Kickdynamic.com a live email content platform.

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