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Are You Ready For Location-Based Marketing?

According to MCommerceDaily, thirty-seven percent (37%) of large retailers are planning to roll out iBeacon technology during the 2015 calendar year.  By the end of 2016 this number is slated to increase to fifty-six percent (56%).  And we should quickly note that iBeacon is Apples’ proprietary mobile “location-based-services” (LBS).   
 
So clearly retailers are looking hard at the opportunities that LBS can offer to them to better influence their customers.  But as the above statistics suggest, there is still a significant distance between here and eventual ubiquity.
 
But, as put forth by Steve Robins recently in SearchCRM.com, there are several unique benefits that LBS offers over more traditional means of in-store engagement.  
 
The growth in LBS is fundamentally “because LBS enables marketers to provide seamless omnichannel experiences; know more about customers and prospects; and measure and optimize marketing in new ways, well before the sale takes place.”  
 
1.  Understanding consumer context  
“LBS uses location-based context to achieve a more complete understanding of customers, and then deliver personalized and relevant experiences based on that data. For example, if I'm standing near a particular sneaker, I am exhibiting a potential intention to buy a pair of sneakers.”  
 
2.  Personalized experiences at scale: 
“Once you know a consumer's context and potential intent, you can deliver relevant, personalized content and interactions that drive purchases and build customer loyalty -- cost-effectively and at scale.”  
 
3.  Offloading repetitive tasks:
Because apps handle repetitive tasks so service staff can focus on higher-value customer interactions, LBS apps can help reduce expenses.”  
 
4.  Seamless customer experience:
“Once a consumer has installed the smartphone app -- in advance of shopping -- and consented to share his location, the experience is relatively passive for him: The consumer receives alerts and offers rather than having to search for them. No check-ins are required.”  
 
5.  Faster reporting, faster action
“Better experiences are just the beginning. Just as marketing automation platforms (MAPs) capture and report on online prospect behavior and campaign results through the marketing funnel or buyer's journey, so too can LBS marketing platforms. Rather than waiting for sales results to come in, marketers and merchandising teams can track and optimize the intermediate steps in the funnel or buyer's journey.” 
 
 
For one thing, LBS is the very, very new kid on the marketing technology block, which likely makes a lot of marketers and brands a bit nervous.  And it should.  Deploying LBS means a whole new level of insight to, and access to, individual’s purchasing habits.  Without context, this can bring us towards a whole new level of security and privacy concerns if we are not smart.   
 
Which is why we see the payoffs being huge for those brands that choose to develop their LBS plan carefully and strategically, and which respects and drives to a trusted relationship with the customer.  Thoughtfulness for the end value to the customer is paramount.  Something we marketers should have learned having survived the errors of telemarketers in the 1980's and email spammers of the 2000's. Because, in pop culture terms, "ain't nobody got time for that."
 

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