Every brand wants an improved understanding of its customers. Like their offline counterparts, digital marketers have gotten good at analyzing online behaviors and preferences. But for a complete audience picture, you need to know what is happening in real life.
For brick-and-mortar businesses to online-only brands, insight into an audience’s real-world location and behavior patterns leads to a more nuanced understanding of their demographics, behaviors, preferences and mindsets. These location-based insights fuel a host of marketing benefits as well as inform all-around better business decision-making.
Nearly every brand manager I meet acknowledges the benefits of location-based insights. But many admit they struggle to incorporate them into their marketing programs. So, let’s consider how brands across channels—from retail to direct-to-consumer—can apply location-based insights to improve customer understanding and, in turn, unlock myriad benefits.
Location-based insights improve every step of your marketing.
An understanding of your audience’s real-world behavior can improve your advertising strategy, your targeting and your ad creative. Imagine a candy brand that wants to stand out from competitors with provocative messaging crafted to appeal to a particular audience mindset. Using location data, the brand segments its audience based on where they buy candy and treats, creating groups such as “retail chain shopper,” “grocery store shopper” and “convenience store shopper.” Then it tailors messaging for each segment.
The brand also discovers that a high percentage of convenience store shoppers visited a movie theater soon after their store visit, so it designs new, movie-themed product packaging to appeal to this mindset. Location data creates better customer understanding, which delivers measurable business results.
Because DTC brands don’t have as many opportunities to appeal to customers in person, location-based insights can be especially valuable. Imagine learning that customers are 120 percent more likely to visit a gym or fitness studio and 130 percent more likely to visit a health food store. Or perhaps you discover that they are more likely to take public transportation or visit a luxury hotel. Nuggets like these have all types of use cases. They could even reveal new audience segments to target, helping you to scale your marketing.
Furthermore, brands across verticals can benefit from location-based insights about their competitors’ customers. Perhaps they differ from your audience or overlap in interesting ways. You can also analyze competitors’ store foot traffic to see how it compares to yours.
Leverage traditional channels such as OOH with increased confidence.
Advancements in targeting and measurement are fueling exponential growth for out-of-home advertising. In the second quarter of 2019, OOH revenue grew 7.7 percent year over year, reaching $2.7 billion, according to the Out of Home Advertising Association of America.
Location-based insights improve your decision-making about where to buy OOH impressions and what creative to run. You can also use it to learn about the people exposed to your OOH media or measure how likely your ad is to be seen by a particular audience segment. Retail, CPG and auto can then connect OOH ad viewership to store visits and conversions by measuring foot traffic.
Interestingly, DTC OOH spend is also on the rise. In fact, it increased 7 percent in the first half of 2019 to $4.6 billion. One of the reasons for the spending frenzy is these brands need new ways to reach their audiences outside the digital advertising ecosystem. Rather than measuring traffic to a store, DTC brands can use location data to retarget people who saw their OOH placement with digital ads to drive conversions, such as site visits or app downloads.
Location-based insights give new meaning to first-party data.
Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of marketing leaders say they have increased their use of online customer data over the past two years, and 70 percent plan to use more in the next two years, according to the 2018 CMO Survey conducted by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. But marketers are not confident they’re using this data to the fullest. Just 47 percent believe they are tapping into their company’s first-party data potential, according to a recent survey by MightyHive.
One way to get more from your data is to layer it with location data to uncover insights about customers’ real-world behavior and preferences, such as which chains and categories they visit most frequently. This can inform all sorts of decision-making. For example, a DTC brand could use these insights to determine where to open a pop-up store or build look-alike audiences for reaching new customers who match the profile of certain existing customer cohorts.
Marketers agree customer understanding is key to effective marketing. Now it is time to further that understanding with location-based insights. It’s simple logic made possible by the science of high-quality location data.