Location-based marketing tools make sense for retailers trying to drive customers into their stores, but what about brand advertisers? Without their own brick-and-mortar stores or places for customers to physically “check-in,” many consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands have come to the conclusion that location-based marketing tools aren’t a viable option.
“Over the next few years we are going to see many new applications of location-based marketing. Wholesale brands will play a key role in the overall ecosystem, but the form of that involvement will likely evolve over time,” says Rob Murphy, vice president of marketing at Swirl, an in-store mobile marketing platform.
Here are seven strategies that brands can use to take advantage of location-based marketing tools right now, even without having their own physical establishments.
1. Target shoppers at authorized retailers. “Brands may not have their own brick-and-mortar stores, but the retailers that sell their products do. By targeting shoppers who are nearby these retail locations, and also giving them directions to the closest stores, brands can effectively make their offers locally relevant and acquire an audience that is most likely to convert. In other words, by running ads showing where to view, touch, and purchase their products, brand marketers can close the gap between brand engagement and product purchase. We’ve seen 10% to 50% improvements in CTRs simply based on adding SOMETHING of local relevance, even if it isn’t driving in-store traffic.” (Jeremy Geiger, Retailigence)
2. Find the right partners. “Whether it’s retailers who are using location-based mobile marketing to drive traffic to their stores, mobile ad networks that offer geo-targeted advertising, or location-based lifestyle and shopping apps, wholesale brands can find a number of places to insert themselves into the location-based marketing ecosystem. By partnering with retailers who sell their products, wholesale brands can create value for consumers in the form of exclusive content or offers that can be used in location-based marketing campaigns.” (Rob Murphy, Swirl)
3. Communicate about events and product launches. “Location-based marketing (LBM) is a great opportunity for CPG brands to connect with their consumers wherever their products are sold, either working with their distribution channel/retailers (co-marketing) or independently from them. Using LBM methods enables them to communicate special offers or discounts, with a call-to-action on where the consumer can purchase nearby. They can also communicate about events nearby organized at a given retailer for specific product launches, demos, or free samples, and raise awareness through associating a brand with a place, time, and context such as weather.” (Anne Bezancon, Placecast)
4. Use location for market research. “Location tools play a key role in market research. CPG companies can use location to better understand where, how and when their customers shop offline to market more smartly to these audiences — whether that’s with out-of-home advertising, point of purchase displays, or identifying new partnership opportunities. Placed offers a service called Segments that lets companies build their own location panels. The insights give brands a granular view into the offline behaviors of their key segments — for instance, moms who use coupons to buy their products vs. those that don’t — to provide robust customer insights that are based on actual observed location behaviors rather than traditional surveys.” (Sarah Radwanick, Placed)
5. Claim a place with broad reach. “If the objective is awareness and branding, we suggest claiming a place with broad reach and using display units or SMS, with no call to action. Brands can ‘claim’ a place by associating their messages with physical locations in proximity through geo-fencing. This allows them to reach a large number of people by leveraging geo-targeting and mediums like mobile display while taking advantage of dynamic creative. Examples of this could be Got Milk? geofencing gyms, parks and basketball courts, The North Face geofencing ski resorts, or a luggage brand geofencing airports.” (Anne Bezancon, Placecast)
6. Use retailer app data to build future strategy. “Aisle411 works with retailers to optimize the location-based in-store digital experience, which allows brands to work with retailers to connect with shoppers based on in-store purchase intent, indoor location, and the context of that location. Brands can find out what products shoppers search for, what products they have on their shopping lists, and when they scan a product. Search/grammar databases match what users search for (e.g., cookies) with the actual products (e.g., cookies like Oreos).” (Kris Kolodziej, aisle411)
7. Understand your goals and metrics. “It’s easy to jump on the location-based marketing bandwagon without understanding how to measure whether a campaign was successful. If it has been decided explicitly that this campaign is going to provide the same awareness as any other campaign, but will also be incrementally used as a learning experience, that is fine, and from my personal perspective, recommended. If the brand has done lots of experimentation, it may want to measure CTRs, secondary actions, in-store visits, and average purchase amounts. By defining metrics ahead of time, you will be able to not only determine how successful your marketing efforts are, but also account for any added measurement tools needed to track success.” (Jeremy Geiger, Retailigence)
Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.