Businesses, now more than ever, have dozens of ways to get to know their customers and improve their experiences. And with cloud based communication software, such as hosted PBX, bringing the globe together, companies can often lose track when making marketing or other decisions. They fail to bring the data at their fingertips to bear.
Failing to consider the relevant data when making choices, however, can often lead to a one-size-fits all type of marketing campaign. And these just don’t work anymore. 76% of consumers now expect companies to cater to their individual needs and interests.
Location Intelligence has become a recent addition to the channels used for understanding buyers. And both consumers and businesses can benefit. Think of the times Facebook has notified you about concerts or an interesting art exhibit in your area. Or the last time there was a major price surge when you needed an Uber.
This all happens because of location intelligence. Location intelligence, when permitted by users, provides companies with consumer data based on geographic location.
Meaning businesses can now make data-driven decisions based on real-world customer interests and preferences. This is vital since what works for one individual or even one group could be a disaster for others.
This data from location intelligence can include:
- Mobile advertising ID, this identifies the device without sharing personal data
- Stores, restaurants, or other venues consumers frequent
- Timestamps and other device information
Up to 53% of businesses use location intelligence when they develop their growth and marketing strategies. Given that it now plays such a vital role in marketing strategies, is it possible for all businesses to use it?
Who Uses Location Intelligence?
Location Intelligence offers a gold mine of information about buyers. It’s an asset which is no longer reserved for bigger companies.
CARTO Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Javier de la Torre says “Location Intelligence is not only limited to early adopters in Silicon Valley (e.g. Google, Uber, Amazon), but is opening up to a much wider range of players (e.g. telecommunications, energy and utilities, and financial services).
SMEs have started to utilise location intelligence and its data for better business decisions. Fully 42% of businesses say there is now a push to find third party location intelligence companies to help determine what customers want.
Restaurants are just one of the many sectors capitalizing on this data. In 2018, Burger King launched the Whopper Detour campaign. For a limited time, customers would receive a 1 cent coupon for a Burger King Whopper, via their app, whenever they were within a 600 foot radius of any McDonald’s US location. This is just one of the creative ways businesses have used location intelligence and geofencing.
Advantages of Location Intelligence
We’ve covered what and who can use location intelligence. But I bet you’re wondering what does this mean for my business?
There are numerous ways geospatial data can inform business decisions. Think about the fact that 5 billion people have and regularly check their smartphone. That means they are always providing you with valuable data that can change and improve business practices.
Now let’s dive into some of the perks of geospatial data.
1. Localise Consumer Insight
Think of consumer insight as a window into what drives your customers. This could mean their needs, habits, or the broader trends in the marketplace that those suggest.
Businesses use location intelligence to gain insight using geo tracking services and other Internet of Things, IOT, devices. This data can allow for a much more granular and street view approach to understanding consumer trends.
Localised data is focusing on what makes a specific country, region, or city tick. It’s an extra layer of personalisation needed to attract buyers. Especially in a global market where 53% of buyers are more comfortable making purchases sold through their native languages.
The importance of drilling down to the local level is apparent for all businesses. Take Procter & Gamble, for example. The vast company struggled to promote their nappy brand Pampers in China. This was largely because disposable nappies were simply not the norm in the country.
After localised research, they found that Chinese mothers are concerned about their baby’s sleep, since they believe it leads to better brain development. Using this, Pampers rolled out the Golden Sleep campaign which highlighted that the comfort of nappies helped babies sleep better. And it worked, with the brand becoming the #1 nappy brand in China.
The recent Covid-19 pandemic provides another example. The degree to which the crisis has impacted consumers differs greatly by geography. In some places, entire populations were first locked down, and then told to continue practicing social distancing.
Retailers, therefore, needed to quickly work out new ways to serve those consumers. Through location intelligence they can find if customers want home delivery, BOPIS, or entirely different logistics solutions. The benefits of a warehouse management system informed by localised data is clearly apparent here.
Focus on the local market and it can work wonders for you. Location Intelligence makes it much more straightforward. When using localised data, you get to create tailored content and strategies that local buyers will value when making their purchases.
2. Precise Target Marketing
This is the most common use for Location Intelligence. With 90% of consumers saying it’s “annoying” when they receive messages that aren’t relevant to them, target marketing is absolutely essential.
Location based ads are 20 times more effective than ones which aren’t, since consumers know that they can benefit from the services offered.
Think of the times you purchased a movie ticket via an app. Movie chain apps, through LI, then use your location to tailor specific advertisements about special events, packages, or discounts at cinemas near you. Or partner restaurants can also use this opportunity to suggest restaurants nearby, for a complete night out. The once popular app, Movie Pass used a similar model.
Effective target marketing can eventually lead to better ROI and customer lifetime value (CLV); one of the top key performance indicators for businesses. This is because loyal customers not only make return purchases but can also act as valuable ambassadors for your brand.
Location Intelligence when paired with social media listening, which tracks how consumers are talking about your brand, further enhances the data. It lets you learn about how consumers are interacting with your stores both on and offline.
Waze, the popular navigation app, jumped on location targeted marketing when they launched Waze Ads. With a 2.8 million user base in the Philippines, Waze decided to partner up with brands to deliver organic and unobtrusive advertising. Through these ads, consumers receive suggestions when they’re close to partner services like fast food chains, ATMs, or petrol stations. When selected, the app then easily reroutes drivers to the chosen destination.
Tracking consumer location allows businesses more data to personalise their marketing strategies. In a user driven economy, personalised marketing has become vital, leading to a 30% ROI increase.
Personalisation via LI doesn’t exist in a vacuum, either. Smart companies can combine their localised data with other elements of business intelligence. For instance, your firm may have built a 2020 retail calendar. Such a document helps brands ID events to build marketing campaigns around.
You’ll hardly need telling that 2020 hasn’t panned out as expected. As such, you’d need more data to check if certain events will still resonate with consumers. Location intelligence can get you a real-time measure of customer behaviour to reveal precisely those types of insights.
3. Expand to Omnichannel Marketing
Omnichannel marketing makes use of every touch point available to users and businesses. This means websites, social media, chatbots, brick and mortar stores, and everything else in between. With advances in technology, it’s easier than ever to enhance customer experience through different mediums.
Businesses who have taken advantage of omnichannel marketing campaigns earned a 90% higher customer retention rate than companies who only used single-channel campaigns.
The success of omnichannel marketing has shifted focus to the overall customer journey versus simply analysing the final sales.
With 80% of buyers checking their phones while in stores, businesses have now started to realise the importance of connecting shopping channels to improve the customer journey.
Geospatial data can improve sales by finding unique locations which can bring the user experience to new heights.
Starbucks, for example, experienced customer friction of long lines and addressed it with an omnichannel, location based solution. The Starbucks app conveniently maps out locations close to users and allows them to order and pay ahead of time. The app even allows for customers to have the same drink customisation services they get in-store. This means customers rushing to work could place their order ahead of time and pick up their drinks without having to wait in line.
Businesses also use geospatial data when assessing location value for physical stores. For example, a Russian retailer opened 2,500 stores in one year. This jaw dropping, seemingly risky move was actually made with carefully calculated data. By using geospatial cloud information, they were able to predict buyer trends in specific areas which gave them solid location pinpoints when deciding where to build stores. And it worked, with profits going from $233 million to $538 million in two years.
With omnichannel marketing becoming essential for most businesses, location based data serves as key information when expanding touchpoints. The data can inform decisions on new stores or even ways to improve local customer experience.
The areas of your business which location intelligence can impact in this way are limitless. Everything from customer service to accounting could benefit from more accurate data. You could even gain insights into FIFO vs LIFO, and which inventory management option is right for you.
That’s because at heart, LI is about gaining more accurate information on real customer behaviour, right now. It tells you what consumers at your stores or interacting with you in other ways want and need.
Think Local to Make Far-Reaching Decisions
It is impossible to ignore the technology around us. It’s made everyday tasks from shopping to hailing a cab doable with one click. This is great for both consumers and businesses, as every keystroke provides information on how to improve customer relationships.
Location intelligence can offer key reference points like demographics or even local customer beliefs. These make for smarter and more effective ads and marketing campaigns that feel relevant and personal to those at whom they’re targeted .
More than that, the accurate real-time data can help you improve all areas of your business. There’s no process or department, after all, that wouldn’t benefit from decisions driven by accurate data.
From marketing to customer support and sales to logistics, evidence-based choices are best. It may be romantic to talk about trusting your gut in business. In truth, though, it’s by gaining genuine insight into customers that you give yourself the best chance of success.
The internet has put all the data you could possibly need at your fingertips. Using these connections allows you to market to buyers on every avenue and meet their every need. Taking advantage of these leaps in technology can guide you and your business into the future.
Originally published Aug 21, 2020, updated Jan 16, 2023