Sales & Marketing

It’s not just Uber that needs to pay attention to location

6 min read

28 September 2016

Apps like Uber have certainly made location technology mainstream, but how and why should businesses that don’t deal with location in an immediate context be competitively concerned about wider adoption?

Indeed, Addison Lee recently announced that it is following in Uber’s footsteps by using its own geo-locational insights to create personalised customer experiences. 

It comes down to marketing measurement. Most businesses understand the power of marketing technology, but fall short when it comes to choosing the right approach to accurately measure the data.

For example, newspapers still sell advertising around readership numbers, based on the assumption that it will reach approximately two and a half times its circulation number because it might get left on a coffee table or the seat of a train and be read by others.

In a similar way, some marketers only rely on subjective KPIs such as views or impressions which don’t provide exact insight. Unable to decipher which channels and campaigns are really impacting the customer, these investments can be a waste of money, encourage the adoption of outdated practices, and also impede on future opportunities to grow.

An extended path to purchase moving to the automotive sector, Luth Research points out that one car buyer can have as many as 900 digital interactions over the course of three months before finally purchasing the vehicle, with 71 per cent of these occurring on mobile.

Particularly with the automotive sector, it is easy to assume that once someone has visited a specific dealership, they are already interested in that brand. Our latest Path to Purchase study revealed that 64 per cent of potential buyers admit to visiting dealerships simply as a component of the broader “research only” process, proving that people are still able to be influenced when they’re in a competitor’s location.

Visiting a dealership is a huge indication of purchase intent, creating a great opportunity for marketers to reach consumers at competitor locations as it’s highly likely they are in the market to buy, opposed to simply just leisurely researching.

Understanding how people are using their devices to consider purchases is critical. For instance, the study also found that over half of consumers researching for retail related products opt to make a purchase decision, online or offline, within the hour and as a result, people are increasingly expecting physical stores to be within five miles.

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Tools for times we live in

In an increasingly mobile-first world, many touch points are not accounted for because of traditional measurement techniques. As the customer journey changes, marketers need to learn about the customer’s behaviour and pick tools that enable them to understand the purchase process in real-time.

Location is a strategic marketing imperative that offers much more than a timeline to Google Maps. Where people go says far more about what they are interested in buying than what they might look at online. In other words; location is the real-world cookie and visitation history is the highest indicator of purchase intent.

By having insight into and then capitalising on the moment a consumer steps in-store, brands are able to reach people in the right place, at the right time.

This enables brands to not only take advantage of opportunities that result in real-time engagement, but also allows marketers to attribute physical store visitation to marketing spend, offering a unique proposition to marketers. Location means that we can tangibly and transparently show how particular marketing campaigns are driving sales in store.

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Location app-lied

So how have businesses from other sectors started to invest in this emerging marketing category?

For many, apps like Pokémon Go have provided an easy environment to interact with younger consumer segments and digitally drive in-store footfall with location-based incentives.

McDonald’s Japan became the first company to officially partner with Pokémon GO, turning all 3,000 stores across the country into “Pokestops” to entice swarms of fans inside to satisfy their appetites after running around the streets attempting to “catch ‘em all”.

On a smaller scale, L’inizio Pizza Bar in New York increased its walk-in business by 75 per cent and made national headlines in the process after paying a mere $10 to have a couple of characters placed next to their shop, highlighting the increasing importance location is having on businesses.

However, an app doesn’t make a complete marketing strategy. Marketers need to look beyond these apps and think about what location intelligence – the actionable insights location delivers – could do for their business.

There is a huge opportunity to use real-world location data to deliver the most valuable experiences in real-time to consumers, driving footfall into stores and providing measurable, accurate results. Essentially, we want to show brands and agencies how they can use location to get people to a better place.

Theo Theodorou, EMEA MD, xAd

Retailers can learn from Uber – without trying to be Uber.

Image: Shutterstock