Location marketing, the next big technological breakthrough in marketing, has been anticipated for a while. Now that the tech has caught up to the hype, experts anticipate big investments and profits.
Many people know what location marketing is even though the tech used to serve it to customers is still fairly cutting edge. Futuristic sci-fi movies, like Minority Report, have been featuring characters being served personalized, proximity-based advertisements for more than a decade. Now that smart mobile devices are virtually everywhere, customers are used to interacting with brands online, and marketers are realizing how to use technology to engage, just as they’ve learned to make the most of SEO and content marketing.
Where We Are With Location Marketing
Those who haven’t been keeping up with the latest tech innovations may hear “location marketing” and think discounts for “check-ins” on Foursquare or Google search results showing the nearest local shops and hours. But location marketing has moved far beyond that. It’s yet another tool, in addition to SEO and content marketing, to get in front of customers when it matters most.
Beacon devices, near-field communication (NFC), Bluetooth communication, and mobile iOS, Android, and Windows devices are the building blocks of today’s location marketing. Those tools help businesses generate advertisements and coupons which can be pushed out to customers via app alerts, email, and even SMS text messages.
Why Location Marketing Matters
These location-based advertisements and coupons aren’t just showy gimmicks. The value to businesses is big, and it’s growing.
In 2015, the value of in-store sales influenced by beacon-triggered messages for U.S. retailers was valued at $4.1 billion. This year, an exponential increase of $40 billion is expected, resulting in a total of $44.4 billion in beacon-influenced sales.
According to a survey by Statista, 42% of companies say they are already using this type of proximity marketing. The reasons why are numerous:
- 71% say they’re able to track customer buying patterns better
- 59% say their customers are more engaged in-store
- 53% say location-based marketing offers are more relevant and compelling
- And 24% say sales and offer redemptions have gone up.
How Location Marketing Is Growing
The proliferation of location marketing beacons is only expected to ramp up over the next few years. A 2014 Business Insider piece called beacon marketing “the most important retail tech since the mobile credit card reader.”
According to Google, 82% of customers make purchase decisions in-store. A significant 40% of companies surveyed by Statista that don’t already have beacons plan to implement the tech in the next 3 years. And less than one in five respondents said they don’t have plans to use the technology.
In hard numbers, beacon use is expected to grow to 4.5 million units by 2018. A large portion, 3.5 million, will be for retail use by businesses. Half of top retailers reportedly tested beacons in 2014, and those numbers are expected to continue climbing and spreading into other business verticals. AdExchanger notes the tech was deployed in 2015 at the Super Bowl, Tribeca Film Festival, U.S. airports and sports arenas, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Walgreens, and Marriott.
Where Your Marketing Is Headed
All this data suggests that location marketing will be a force to be reckoned with in the near future. But will it be in your future? For many businesses, the answer could be yes, for others, maybe not.
Brick and mortar retail businesses are the most immediate candidates for the tech, though other sectors also stand to benefit. However, if your business sells through an online e-commerce portal, or relies on phone or web leads, it may be worth waiting to see how the tech evolves to serve your niche.
While you’re waiting, don’t neglect other marketing advancements, such as online basket comparison or trigger automation advances. Whether or not location marketing is right for you, good marketing is right for every business.