Marketing, Technology

How geo-location is creating marketing opportunities in the air and on the ground

Logan Merrick /

In response to evolving markets and customer expectations, new innovations are poured into the global economy every year.

No one knows for certain which will be successful, but some predictions are obvious: smartphones will get faster; more objects will become ‘smart’; and social media will become an even more powerful platform for consumer engagement. The successful innovations will be the ones that harness the latest technologies to deliver personalised value for customers.

There are a number of new technologies, such as virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) that are starting to find themselves among mainstream markets. But as customers are demanding enhanced personalisation, geo-location is one of the most exciting opportunities for marketers. The technology, used in emerging innovations like drones and beacons, is redefining how customers interact with brands and services.

The value of geo-location for marketers

Want a user to do something when they’re in a certain area, visit a particular store, or scan a barcode or image? Geo-location could make it happen. Because of the level of personalisation and accuracy geo-location can provide, it’s the kind of technology that could differentiate customer experience and loyalty proposition from that of competitors.

Geo-location marketing is the integration of geographical intelligence into various aspects of marketing. All smartphones have GPS functionality, which means there’s a whole new world of location-based possibilities to tap into. The Global Position System (GPS) is used for much more than simple mapping tools for drivers; it helps improve agriculture, monitors vehicle usage, tracks endangered species, and enables real-time gaming (Pokémon GO, anyone?). Because of its ability to track accurate, real-time data from users, geo-location is an invaluable tool that marketers should be adopting in their strategies.

Geo-location isn’t new, but the technology is getting much more sophisticated in terms of exact location and targeting capabilities. This means there is no better time for marketers to embrace the technology, and deliver their messages to their audience in more timely and personalised ways.

Geo-location in the air – Drones

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or ‘drones’ as they’re commonly known, are aircrafts ranging in size and operated by either a remote control or computer. Civilian drones now outnumber military drones – where the technology originated – and have expanded into commercial, scientific, recreational, and agricultural applications.

They have now reached a technological tipping point that has finally made them cost-effective, accurate, and reliable enough for democratised use. Toy drones can be purchased for less than $100, and can cut costs in manpower and transportation. But their rapid adoption has sparked recent security concerns and prompted laws to protect against mid-air collisions.

With this greater regulation, drone technology is set to infiltrate the mainstream, and be adopted by more diverse organisations. Posing great benefit to enterprises as effective data-gathering platforms, drones are already being used in Queensland for conservation efforts. And with Amazon and Google having announced their much-anticipated drone delivery service, we can expect to see more businesses follow suit.

The introduction of drones will drastically improve services and customer satisfaction because of their use of geo-location paired with their data-gathering capabilities. They can be used to inspect roads that need repair, assist in search and rescue missions, survey landscapes to create 3D maps, and monitor traffic conditions in high congestion areas.

Drones will only further improve with exponential advances in technologies, such as batteries and material sciences, set to become reality in the near future.

Geo-location on the ground – Beacons

Beacons are another emerging technology that uses geo-location to address consumers’ heightening expectations for personalised, timely, and relevant content. The match-box sized transmitters can be used for anything from tracking lost items to automatically turning on lights or unlocking doors. The beacons themselves are almost maintenance-free and usually use small, replaceable batteries that can last up to five years due to their low power requirements.

Businesses like Airmarket have realised the great potential of beacons and are now offering advertisers and marketers the chance to utilise the technology, and engage with customers in real-time via their mobile devices.

Embracing beacons’ capabilities and testing how they can improve customer engagement, brand loyalty, and sales, is a great way to increase a business’ competitive edge. For example, app-based rewards and loyalty programs have been around since apps themselves, and are stepping up their customer offerings. In the US, Target is pairing beacons with their own rewards app to present offers to customers as they walk through their departments with their phone in their hand, pocket, or handbag.

With advancements in beacon technology, marketers can precisely place relevant offers literally in the hands of their customers. This technology is helping drive the personalisation trend, and creating an expectation that consumers shouldn’t have to open an app to redeem a reward; the reward will come to them at the most accurate and relevant time.

Technologies that harness the capabilities of geo-location will be the technologies that offer more personalised experiences to consumers, and therefore offer the most exciting potential for marketers. Real-time, relevant content will drive and redefine customer demands and customer expectations of the brands they engage with.

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Logan Merrick

Logan Merrick is co-founder and director of Buzinga App Development.

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