The 10 Trends to Watch in Location Based Marketing

Last week Spotistic proudly hosted a panel discussion on location-based marketing with  Asif Khan, President and Founder of the Location-Based Marketing Association. A.Khan highlighted the current major trends of local marketing. For those of you who could not attend this discussion, we have prepared an article summarizing A.Khan’s insights in 10 points.


First of all, what is a location?

A location is not just a physical building with walls that one can check-in to. A location can be anywhere you are, but more importantly,a location is a geographical data. We can now broaden the scope of location-based marketing: it it is not only coupons and check-ins- it can be much more. Here are the 10 trends to follow, to exploit  location-based data in rich and imaginative ways.

1. Gamification


Foursquare led the way in gamifying location-based services through its badging system and mayorships. However, Foursquare is not the only example. Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds, partnered with retailers by allowing players located at these retailers’ stores to unlock “magic places.”By doing so, Rovio created a unique way to involve Angry Birds fans with different retail brands.

2.Taking the store to the people

Bringing the store to wherever the customers are is one of the biggest trends in the US right now. For example Shazam-  an app that recognizes the tune playing next to you-, enables you to “Shazam” ads on TV, which will identify your location and give you the directions to the closest shop where you can buy the advertised product.


3. From active check-ins to passive check-ins

Active check-ins require you to use a specific app (Foursquare, Facebook, etc.) on your mobile phone to register your location by “checking in.”

Passive check-ins, on the other hand, eliminates this process.  Facedeals for example enables you to check-in to stores and get deals simply by being in-store.  Once you have connected your Facebook account to your Facedeals account, you can show up in the stores that have been equipped with the Facedeal camera and “check-in with your face” to automatically receive your coupon or promotion.
Such “passive check-ins” may initially raise privacy concerns. However, A.Khan believes that people will eventually learn to adopt these new technologies as the industry becomes better at communicating the value and relevance of location sensitive products.

Check-In with Your Face from redpepper on Vimeo.

4. The re-emergence of SMS

Currently, the USA is experiencing a huge come-back of SMS. Indeed, SMS happens to be a very powerful local marketing tool. 91% of people said they were positive about receiving 3rd party messages via O2. 95% of all SMS messages are read within 3 minutes. Thanks to geofences, virtual boundaries around a specific place, brands can now push SMS messages to potential customers in a geotargeted way.  As soon as the customer enters the geofence, he or she may receive offers and deals via SMS that correspond exactly to the location he or she is in.

5. All Media can be location-based

When we think about location-based services we think mobile. Mobile is indeed the connective tissue that makes LBS work. However, it would be a mistake not to consider other media for local marketing. Currently, digital advertisement accounts for only 24% of global advertisement expenses. This means that 76% are still dedicated to traditional media. Thus, it makes sense to include location-based services in cross media campaigns to connect mobile with other traditional forms of media such as billboards and TV. A German brand for dog food, Granatapet, distributed some free dog food for every check-in made in front of a billboard. Unsurprisingly, the campaign was a huge hit.

6. Indoor positioning

Indoor positioning is the “Next billion dollar market” according to Forbes Magazine.

When you are indoor, GPS positioning loses its accuracy. With wifi and blue-tooth technology, it is now possible to track footsteps inside a building. Using such systems, brands can send promotions to customers the moment they walk past the product with a hyper-local precision. Can you imagine how powerful this can be?

7. Completing the redemption cycle

Sometimes staff members of the store you check-in to for a deal has not been educated enough to know what to do when you show them your phone with the promotion you received. It is now possible to connect your credit card or loyalty card to your Foursquare account so that your discount is directly applied when paying at the store. As a result, the process of using a discount when paying at a store is completely streamlined.

8. Content is King but Context is advisor

Locality is more than just deals or coupons. For example, BlueBrain released the first location-based album that can only been listened to from Central Park in NewYork.  The location from where the album is listened to provides a context for how the music was created thus adding an augmented listening experience for the user.

9. The reinvention of search

It is now possible to generate search results without having to type or even ask for anything. The search engine can take into account your exact position and the topics you are statistically prone to search for in order to automatically generate relevant search results.

10. Creating Memorable Experiences

Location-based marketing campaigns enable innovative and unique experiences that encourage people to get involved. In Korea, a Shopping Mall named Emart boosted its foot traffic during lunchtime, by creating a 3D QR code that can only be scanned at certain hours based on the shape of its shadow.

     Key Take-aways

“A place is wherever you are right now”

“It’s not about hyper-local but really about hyper relevance”

“LBM is not only about mobile, but the integration of mobile around places.”


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