“When someone picks up their mobile device,” Google analysts assert, “chances are they want to learn, do, find, or buy something right now.” They label those opportunities “micro-moments.” Those micro-moments are especially important for retailers when consumers are near-by. At those moments, targeted marketing can have its greatest impact. Carlos Garcia (@Mkt_Hacker), co-founder and CEO of HYP3R, explains the importance of location. He writes:
“Ask real estate agents today the three most important factors in marketing a house, and they will tell you that these are ‘location, location, location.’ Location has long been considered essential in many industries. In manufacturing, for instance, location matters because access to raw materials and a qualified workforce are critical to success. And in retail, having a storefront on a town’s main boulevard versus a side street can greatly impact walk-in sales. In short, profitable business growth has been viewed as a function not just of what a company does but where it chooses to do it.”
Over the past couple of years, we’ve watched brick-and-mortar stores close at an alarming rate. Some of those stores were in what used to be ideal locations. Garcia notes many people believe these stores have been victims of the so-called “death of distance” effect created by the World Wide Web. He writes, “This newfound connectivity eliminated — or at least diminished — the importance of location. Businesses didn’t have to be where their clients were; instead, they could now reach consumers through the cloud anytime, anywhere.” Whether location remains an important factor in retail remains an open question. Personally, I think it still matters a lot.
Targeted Marketing and Location
Like Google analysts, Garcia believes mobile technology is making location important again. “Today,” he writes, “thanks to the explosion in mobile technology, the perspective on location is changing again. In recent years, smartphones and social media have made a massive impact on the way consumers communicate and businesses advertise.” Study after study has concluded consumers now use their mobile devices whether they are shopping online or in stores. Brick-and-mortar stores (and the brands they sell) can leverage mobile technologies by targeting consumers when they are near-by. Google analysts explain, “By being there, your brand has the chance to address consumer needs in the moment, help move someone along their decision journey, and deepen their loyalty. Showing up gets your brand in the game to be chosen, not just seen.” David Kaplan (@davidaKaplan) notes, “The use of location can help cut through the problem of drowning in Big Data that isn’t readily actionable.”
Denise Koeth asserts mobile technology has opened up new opportunities for local businesses. “In the past,” she writes, “targeting a specific area with your shop’s marketing message was somewhat limited: direct mail, newspaper ads, and radio or TV commercials were among the most popular methods. But even with classic target marketing, [retailers] never really knew how many eyes or ears actually received the message, and often the cost was high compared to the actual return on investment. Introducing yet another great opportunity of the digital age: geo-targeting.” She continues:
“Simply stated, digital geo-targeting helps you fish where the fish are swimming – or target your digital marketing, including paid search and display ads, specific to the location of prospects you hope to reach. You determine an area where your target audience lives, works or visits, explains Margaret Klemmer, chief business development officer for Autoshop Solutions, ‘then (digital) ads, sponsored videos or sponsored posts are displayed to those people who are online and located in the targeted area.’ Geo-location technology allows you to identify the real-world location of a computer or mobile device when it’s connected to the Internet. Advanced digital ad servers use this information for geo-targeting, delivering specific content to an individual based on his or her location when online.”
Larisa Bedgood, Director of Marketing at V12 Data, insists, “Mobile has completely transformed the retail landscape. … Mobile ownership is growing at record speeds, giving retailers unprecedented opportunities to target consumers by their geolocation data.”
Cognitive Computing and Location Marketing
Connectivity creates data; but, data is dumb. To make data smart requires advanced analytics. Cognitive computing platforms, like the Enterra® Enterprise Cognitive System™ (ECS) — a system that can Sense, Think, Act and Learn® — can handle all varieties of data sets; and, using the world’s largest common sense ontology, can put the data in its proper context. Garcia explains why this is important. He writes:
“With skyrocketing mobile usage comes accurate location data, enabling businesses to understand exactly from where people are publicly posting on social media. They can then use that additional layer of context to deliver messages in the right place at the right time. This lets businesses cut through the noise and find the right moment to engage — rather than to interrupt. The outcome is a more organic, human-to-human interaction between companies and consumers. As a result, the pendulum is swinging back. Location is once again becoming a primary focus of marketing, as all consumers who have seen pop-up messages seeking permission to know their location are already aware.”
There are other ways cognitive computing can use location to enhance sales as well. For example, Enterra’s SensoryMap™ solution provides CPG companies an easy-to-understand way to visualize consumption and demand patterns by geography to gain rich insight into what Americans are eating, and what they will prefer to eat in the future. Predictive modeling allows marketers to model and simulate consumer acceptance by region, providing deep insight and forecasting capabilities. Pre-mapping sensory preferences to geography allows marketers to quickly determine if a product will sell well in a given area. Enterra SensoryMap products are available by individual zip codes and by any number of zip codes, and can be augmented with additional segmented data and insights to improve forecasting, enhance targeted marketing and better align inventories to demand.
Bedgood concludes, “Geolocation technologies can be used in innovative ways to enhance the mobile customer experience. By understanding who your target audience is and what they value, retailers can implement strategies to wow and delight mobile users.” Garcia adds, “Businesses that are able to re-evaluate and re-think the role of location in marketing, and how to best capitalize on all available data, will be better positioned to grow profitably over companies that fail to do so.” Google analysts insist the most important micro-moments are the “I want to buy” moments when “someone is ready to make a purchase and may need help deciding what or how to buy. You can’t assume they’ll seek you out; you have to be there with the right information to seal the deal. Consider this: Eighty-two percent of smartphone users consult their phone while in a store.” Location never matters more than when someone is actually in the store ready to buy.
 Staff, “Being There in Micro-Moments, Especially on Mobile,” Think with Google, September 2015.
 Carlos Garcia, “Why Having a Location-first Marketing Strategy Pays Off,” Knowledge@Wharton, 22 May 2017.
 David Kaplan, “How Location Data Can Influence Ad Creation Not Just Targeted Placements,” GeoMarketing, 6 April 2017.
 Denise Koeth, “Pinpoint Marketing,” Tire Review, 19 October 2016.
 Larisa Bedgood, “5 Ways to Use Geo-Location Data to Transform Your Retail Marketing Strategy,” V12Data, 23 August 2016.