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Location-Based Marketing: Keep It Transparent Or Scare Customers Away

The future of location-based marketing is bright, says Sebastian Wild, as long as marketers focus on using technology in transparent and intelligent ways.


Location-based marketing (LBM) offers the illustrious possibility of connecting to our audience in the exact moment they are in a geographic area we define as important. The surge in interest in LBM is not only anecdotal: research company BIA/Kelsey recently projected the segment will grow from $12.4 billion currently to $32.4 billion by 2021. And Google also reported that 56% of its searches ‘on the go’ now have a local intent.

The company says 50% of the searches done on a smartphone prompted a store visit within a day.

It’s clear that location-based information offers huge potential to us marketers, yet today we are overwhelmed with more data than – let’s be honest – most really know what to do with. Are we truly ready to add another level of data complexity? Can we fuse this new information successfully with our creative effectively? Further, can we adequately address the privacy concerns held by many consumers?


Location based marketing needs transparency for consumers

Although the rise and success of LBM has marketers and their clients licking their lips, a cautious approached is imperative to ensure consumers aren’t scared off. There have been a number of international incidents where retailers have been called to account for tracking shoppers’ movements without disclosure.

In the US, for example, Coca-Cola has been using Google’s cloud platform to send videos and discount coupons to customers’ smartphones in Albertsons grocery stores, directing them to specials in the soft drinks aisle. While privacy advocates see this targeted approach as an aggressive invasion of privacy, marketers are congratulating themselves on the crafty combination of LBM facilitated by mobile phone signals.



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