One would presume that in the run up to summer everyone is hitting the gym, avoiding pubs and eating more healthily. But is that really what is happening? Consumer behaviour is becoming increasingly difficult for organisations to understand and predict, but that’s no excuse. In particular marketers need to understand there is no one-size-fits all approach – and that location insights help.
Thanks to the digital era we live in, we’re always a few steps or clicks away from a better deal or offering. As we switch from online to offline worlds, researching products we like on our mobiles then visiting the physical store, our path to purchase becomes so scatty, it’s difficult for businesses to keep up. So how can organisations piece the puzzle together to get the full picture of their customers’ interests, where they like to visit, and ultimately who they really are?
Intent means everything
As a result of the change in shopping habits, it’s imperative to serve experiences that break through the noise and engage the customer at the point when their need is highest – rather than guess. Location insights offer businesses a great understanding into real world audience behaviour. This is because it is based on anonymised visitation data points that measure customer footfall in the real world.
Last month one of my daughters asked me to search for a picture of James Bond’s car. But despite that search I’m not in the market to buy an Aston Martin DB10 – I’m more about the motorbikes – so I’m probably not the right audience to be marketed to. If I was visiting an Aston Martin showroom, which Aston Martin would know using location insights, I’d be a more profitable consumer to market to as my purchase intent would be higher.
Location intelligence enables organisations to predict behaviour – my historic behaviour is more likely to reflect the real me, and therefore where I’m likely to go next. It’s an inherent trait of location. For example, it would be unlikely someone would be at a gym if they weren’t trying to get fit, lose weight or maintain a good level of health. A gym visitation measured by location shows such a commitment more than search and social insights do. That way health-focussed brands can utilise this visitation data and market to those in the gym.
An example of where search and social could “fool” businesses, like Wholefoods, into thinking the “right” healthy people are being marketed to could be those sitting on their sofa researching the date for a half marathon but never actually signing up and training for it. In this sense, location says a lot more about someone than just where they are, it’s a strong indicator of intent and the most honest version a consumer’s behaviour.
Not only does location help organisations build campaigns that speak directly to the people interested in that brand or service, it also helps businesses recognise when consumer behaviour changes. This in turn saves money, as no one would be “chasing a dead lead”.
At the start of the year, xAd looked at foot traffic in gyms, health stores and restaurants between 12 December 2016 and 29 January 2017. We found that visits to gyms throughout the UK in January increased by 31 per cent compared to December overall. However, visits began to plateau around 16 January and by the following week, visits to all the type of places that tempt people to break their resolutions (such as pubs and restaurants) started to increase again.
With true insights like this, businesses can serve experiences that are more relevant. The boss of a clothing store may recognise an audience trend of increased visits to a near-by gym and serve this audience with ads detailing their fitness line. It’s about making communications with consumers smarter and helping people get to a better place.
Solid insights are key
This current uncertainty for businesses, (dare I mention Brexit), has made forecasting more challenging. It’s causing companies to think carefully about where the marketing budget. In such times, ROI is everything. In this case, the marketing team needs to show value, not only in marketing, but in providing vital business insights that can boost the bottom line.
Guesswork simply won’t cut it anymore. The C-Suite want solid insights that will help them answer questions: like how am I doing against the competition? Where are the best areas to open a physical shop? These new data points are available with location technology and can be actioned and fed into the business strategy.
Ultimately, consumer behaviour is becoming predictably unpredictable. Guessing will only make an organisation look lazy, unconnected and turn consumers off. In order to connect with the right people at the right time, in the right way, precise location insights must be utilised. Competition across all sectors is heating up as all types of businesses scramble to offer better customer experience. Alienating consumers with irrelevant communications is risky businesses, therefore context is crucial.
Theo Theodorou is MD of xAd EMEA