Why Location-Based Marketing Matters More Than Ever


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What role does location-based marketing play in today’s global economy? What function does it serve for B2B marketing?

We couldn’t think of a better person to ask than Aaron Strout, the co-author of “Location-Based Marketing for Dummies” and head of location-based marketing at WCG. Aaron shared why location is more important than ever, how marketers can make the most of it and why the B2B industry needs to pay attention.

Oh, and gives us your best B2B/Location-based marketing analogy in the comments section for a chance to win a free copy of “Location-Based Marketing” signed by Aaron.

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My name is Aaron Strout, I’m the head of location based marketing at a global firm called WCG. We’re a global communications agency. I’m also the co-author of a book called, “Location Based Marketing for Dummies”, which just came out. I blog, I podcast the Quick ‘n’ Dirty, I’m a serial twitterer, and really anything social; love Instagram.

What is Location-Based Marketing?
Location-based marketing is a hard thing to define. My co-author Mike Schneider, and I look at it as something where you’re using someone’s location or proximity to a business, or a museum, or whatever it is to help build loyalty, create word of mouth marketing, generate referrals, etc., and deeper customer engagement. What I mean by that is, we’re sitting here right now in Halcyon, which is a staple in Austin Texas.

We’re having coffee, and so if Halcyon knows that I’m checked-in, then they might want to cross sell me something, or they may want to make me a more loyal customer. And so I just got a cup of coffee this morning, but they might say as I check in using my iPhone, “Hey Aaron, we know that you know you’ve been here three times, we’d like to give you a sandwich or a coffee cake, or whatever.” We get a cup of coffee for free. And so all of a sudden, now I’m like, “Wow, that’s really cool. I liked Halcyon. I like them even more.” And because they did that, I have a decent sized social network, I’m probably going to broadcast that to other folks. So it’s really taking some of those things that marketers have always traditionally wanted to do, and connecting that to someone’s location, and the ability to now have a two-way dialogue between businesses and customers.

Why Does Location Matter in a Global Economy?
Location matters now more than ever before. In spite of the fact that we are global – we are more global than we’ve ever been, and we’ll continue yet so. And location in some ways matters less and less. For businesses, it matters more, and more. And it’s interesting because you’ll look at companies like Google that we were talking about earlier, or AOL. AOL has basically bet the ranch on local. And a lot of people have figured out how to advertise at sort of a regional level. People have figured out how to advertise on a national, and sometimes even a global level. People have not gotten good, because it takes a lot of arms and legs, and it takes a lot of specialized know how, to be able to tap into a local market.

So one of the things that I’ve been talking a lot about recently is the fact that location is really the third part of what I call the Holy Trinity of data for marketers. So the first is demographics, right; knowing sex, age, you know spends, where someone lives, etc. The second being this thing called day-parting became popularized in online advertising sort of late ’90?s, early 2000?s, and that just meant sort of knowing when someone was viewing something, time of day, and day of week. That really started back in the I-don’t-know ’50?s when TV became popular, and you didn’t know when people were watching certain ads. But now you have this third piece called location.

So now all of a sudden I know where you are, I know who you are, and now I can do something about the where you are or the when you are piece. And what’s critical about that is there are a lot of people – lets look at retailers. Retailers know that there’s about 20% of their customers that generate 80% of their revenues. This is just a tried and true law that exists out there. The problem is that they end up having to spend for the most part their dollars to advertise to almost the whole 100% of the population.

So with local you’re now able to engage people one, as they’re demonstrating that they’re checking in or two as location gets smarter and smarter, location based services and it’s more of a passive check in, and this can be done with some of the newer technologies like geofencing. You can now target people, and just give offers to the people that you want to. And you can also make sure that you give the offers commercially so I might be worth very little money to them, you might be worth a lot of money to them, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to engage me, but they probably don’t want to give me $20.00 or $50.00 worth of value, or offer me a meeting with their President, or their VP or marketing, or whatever. Whereas, you know if you’re a media person, then they might be more inclined to do that. So for me, I think we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of location-based marketing, and it’s just going to get more and more powerful.

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Why Should B2B Care About Location-Based Marketing?
The question gets asked with B2B marketing really across anything new, like how does this apply to B2B marketing. And quite frankly, it’s always a little harder to execute because I think you have to sort of roll up your sleeves a little bit further, and dig down deeper. But at the end of the day, a customer is a customer is a customer, right?

What’s tricky about that is, is that you’re no longer beholden to specific locations, meaning that if I’m selling chips, you know, microprocessors, then I’m not selling at those at a retail store myself. I might be selling them in somebody else’s computer, and so those computers or those blades or whatever get sold at someone else’s store.

But if you think about that, and think about where is either my customer who is the B2B customer, or where is my end user who is not my immediate customer, but my final customer, where are they going to be, and what can I do to affect them? And so there are different things that you can do. So one is education. If you think about where would my customers be? So if I am a B2B marketer, and I think about, “Maybe my customer makes Windows, right?” So where is it that I can impact them, where can I have a conversation with them? They go to tradeshows, right, they go to Home Depot, or they go to wherever it is that they’re buying and selling their particular wares.

So I might not have an offer to say you could get 10% off or 20% off, but I could have something that’s an experiential offer, right? You check in here, and we’re going to fly you to our corporate headquarters to sit down, and have a conversation with our VP of Engineering, or it could just be educational in general.

So you know, lets go back to the chip example. If I’m selling my chips through a computer in Best Buy, I could go into all the Best Buy’s in America, and I could say, “Let me leave some educational tips on how to get better battery life out of your laptop. Or let me give you some hints as to how to make sure that your processor is staying up to speed,” because we all know over time, processors degrade. So even though, they’re not directly selling to those end consumers, they’re trying to add benefit, and it’s a benefit that some of the other chip makers and/or some of the other PC manufacturers may not be offering, so they get a leg up on the competition.

Do you have something to say about location-based marketing? Play our analogy contest in the comments section. Just complete analogy for this statement “Location-based marketing is to B2B marketing as…” The first five to do so will win a free, signed copy of “Location-Based Marketing for Dummies.” Have fun!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jesse Noyes
Jesse came to Eloqua from the newsroom trenches. As Managing Editor, it's his job to find the hot topics and compelling stories throughout the marketing world. He started his career at the Boston Herald and the Boston Business Journal before moving west of his native New England. When he's not sifting through data or conducting interviews, you can find him cycling around sunny Austin, TX.


  1. Great article! I liked the explanation that directly related to the restaurant that you were sitting and how LBS applies in that exact case. It makes it all so understandable how the merchant will want to connect with their customer. Especially when the customer has a large social network and has trust as a referrer.

    Karina Bahr

  2. Great choice for the source; def. at the tip of the iceberg now.

    I also see this (LBS) being the #1 way that marketers will see, and understand, the reason behind creating better consumer experiences.

    With the amount of mobile/smart phone users today, very single consumer can now help influence brands and their products/services – this is the new method of reaching future & existing customers.

    Nice post.


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