Selling to Multi-Location Brands: Applying Geotargeting Lessons to Mobile Push

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Mobile push marketing is one of the most popular technologies multi-location brands say they’re interested in exploring in the near term. Suppliers of local marketing technologies and services can help them do more than explore by taking lessons from brands that have had success with geotargeting.

Street Fight surveyed local marketing decision makers at big brands and multi-location retailers about which of a list of relatively new local technologies their companies had their eyes on. We asked them to choose up to three, and the results are shown in the figure below. The responses were pretty similar to our 2016 survey—about one-third of brands cited real-time location data, mobile push, and programmatic ad buying. (We didn’t ask about addressable TV that year). This indicates continuing interest, if not tremendous momentum. Online-to-offline attribution might act as a catalyst for investment in location data, and that data will help trigger advertising and offers served up on smartphones.


Meanwhile, our survey showed a correlation between interest in push and effectiveness in using geotargeted ads. That’s not surprising. Once a brand has seen success with location-targeted ads, it’s a natural next step to try pushing marketing to smartphones. One fifth of brands we surveyed listed geotargeted online or mobile advertising among their top 5 most effective local marketing tactics. Of those, almost half said they were interested in mobile push. Likewise, of all the companies that showed interest in push, 31% listed their geotargeting as effective.

As shown below, the companies that said their geotargeting worked were more likely to say their overall digital efforts were effective at a variety of different marketing objectives. What the figure illustrates is that 16% to 19% of all the survey respondents rated their digital marketing “very effective,” the highest rating on a five-point scale. Across almost all of the objectives, more of the brands that were good at geotargeting rated digital marketing “very effective,” particularly in raising brand awareness and improving conversion or sales. For the one area where brands especially good at geotargeting were about average—new customer acquisition—over 60% said they were “effective,” if not very effective. By contrast, the marketers that said they were interested in mobile push more or less matched up with the overall enterprise local marketers we surveyed. That’s a pretty strong indication that the geotargeters are successful early adopters. 

Tech vendors and digital marketing agencies can help brands interested in push be more effective by understanding the characteristics of successful geotargeters. Mining the Street Fight survey for insights into the tactics and operations of those geotargeters, we identified the following:

  • The effective geotargeters dedicated more of their digital spending to local than the other brands in the survey. More of them said they expected that mix to increase somewhat (37%) or significantly (16%). Two thirds of them said they were increasing spending on paid search, and over 60% said they were doing so for social media and mobile marketing.
  • They listed social media and online display among their top five most effective tactics, a result that’s similar to the rest of the brands. But twice as many of them listed search. They seem to be less enthused about email, and even though they appear to be very focused on branding advertising, they were average in their attitude toward local TV.
  • More of them used a broader variety of management tools and services than the average brand. Over 40% used a third-party dashboard and 35% used a data management platform (DMP). The effective geotargeters were two times more likely than average to use lead qualification/nurturing marketing automation. They were relatively heavy users of call-tracking and custom codes to prove marketing effectiveness. More of them than average made use of third-party shopping data, online purchase data, and third-party location data.
  • More of the effective geotargeters had local or regional management leading local marketing decisions than most brands. Many said their marketing departments had authority over customer data, which is similar to other enterprise local marketers, but many said sales or IT was the lead. Advertising usually had the second most influence.

Like most brands Street Fight surveyed, the effective geotargeters said proving ROI and attribution was one of their most difficult challenges related to digital marketing. But they rated managing and understanding multiple sources of customer or audience data just as tough. The brands interested in mobile push marketing reported similar attitudes.

Based on the survey analysis, would-be suppliers of marketing technology and services should help the mobile push fans beef up their more conventional geotargeting campaigns first. There should be good opportunities to sell these brands a dashboard or DMP to ease their customer data integration and management. Half of the brands interested in mobile push already use custom codes or offers to evaluate marketing programs. It would be natural to incorporate these practices into push programs. 

David Card is Street Fight’s director of research.

Click here for more on the Street Fight Insights report: Enterprise Local Marketers 2017: Benchmarking and Best Practices.