A quick look at recent mobile shopping statistics shows us that 2014 is likely going to be a banner year for geo-marketing. Last year, 39 percent of mobile users in the UK were shopping on their mobile devices. In total, mobile purchases in 2013 grew by 46 percent over 2012.
Companies are starting to pay more attention to this trend. More mobile consumers means there are more opportunities to get creative about how businesses interact with customers by combining location, mobile, social and other contextual data. All of this combined can build personalised, real time marketing programmes that meet a customer’s needs at the right time and the right place.
But what does this kind of geo-marketing look like in action? Two trailblazers in the social-local-mobile (SoLoMo) arena have been McDonald’s UK and Google. By leveraging information about customer behaviours, history and other preferences in concert with contextual location data, they are leading the charge in creating new ways to get in touch with customers.
1. McDonald’s UK
McDonald’s UK knew that there was a lot of potential business from the so-called “night owl” audience – customers who were either enjoying nightlife or traveling to and from night shifts. The problem was reaching those customers and letting them know that select restaurants were open.
So the restaurant franchise built a “restaurant finder” app. Customers downloaded the app and could use it to locate a nearby McDonald’s. The app leverages real-time, geo-location and mapping technology to show nearby locations of the restaurants and relevant contextual data. The hours of operation and other details, are displayed for each location.
The campaign was a resounding success, increasing night time sales by four percent.
Imagine that you have a meeting in five minutes, but can’t remember the details about the conference call number or the room. Well, if you’re using one of Google’s latest mobile creations – Google Now – there’s a good chance that information will be delivered to you all on its own just as you start heading out of your office – because Google Now can predict what you’re going to search for before you actually search for it.
Or maybe you’ve been emailing or texting back-and-forth about your daughter’s football match. As the time gets a little closer, a reminder may pop up with the driving directions to the football pitch. The location data you need is fed to your phone automatically, triggered not by a search on a maps application but by another contextually-relevant activity you undertake, such as leaving the geocoded “fence” around your house at a certain time of day.
Google Now is a flagship example of contextual, geo-targeting campaigns that help users with their day-to-day lives. By understanding a user’s location and combining that data point with a wealth of other available information, Google Now becomes a powerful personal assistant. Opportunities for marketers to access and leverage this information will be enormous in 2014.
The Future is Context
Platforms that can process the sheer volume of data now available to companies will revolutionise the mobile experience by combining location with consumer context. Contextual geo-marketing is the art of knowing why customers are at a location, not just that they’re there. And, as McDonald’s UK and Google have already shown us, when you know the “why,” you can better serve customer needs on an individual basis.