Donald Mokgale, General Manager at Posterscope South Africa, discusses why businesses need to future-proof themselves with location marketing

Let us get the proverbial buzzwords out the way shall we: location intelligence, location data, location awareness, personalisation, point of convergence planning, connected ecosystems and mobile. This is not going to be another one of those expert opinion pieces riddled with inaccessible jargon around the importance of location marketing in advertising. Okay I lie, it will be an expert opinion but I promise to keep it simple and easy to follow, not because I underestimate your intelligence but simply because I believe that it is not that complex. (The nature of location data is just polymorphic that is all.)

The obvious

Digital is the biggest thing to hit businesses and in our space and it has resulted in the availability of location data; the breadcrumbs consumers leave online about what they are doing in the real world. As a location marketer, I find this to present an incredible opportunity to use this data to deeply understand their propensity to be in certain locations but also, what they are likely to do in those locations, which empowers me to respond better to them to be more relevant and to yield business results for my clients.  Ergo, from basic public, geo-tagged social media posts, to sophisticated ad exchange data scrapes, creative predictive behaviour modelling based on smart phone device location histories; location data can be dissected many different ways to give amazing consumer insights about locations, which have the following implications:

Using this data, we can recommend where a business needs to be ensuring that they have adequate distribution of their products. We can also skew Out-Of-Home advertising distribution in those locations to drive saliency and conversion where applicable. We can also direct precisely where activations and shopper marketing should be happening, in this way, we are using data to inform where a business should be investing; instead of the business using historic sales data to brief us where we should be skewing activations and media to drive business results. This data led way of planning media is turning what used to be Out-Of-home advertising to location marketing, at least those of us who have a digital first mind set in this modern epoch.

The role of mobile in location marketing is incredibly important. The issue now is that most agencies still separate mobile to sit with their digital teams and location to sit with their outdoor (not even Out-of-home teams) whereas the mobile device is precisely what is needed to close the conversion loop at point of purchase. Since it is the one piece of technology that is also a media type that consumers carry in and out-of-home, it needs to be used better to communicate with consumers to drive results, however, not just in the form of push marketing like those incessantly egregious smses that try to sell you some or other funeral policy. Instead, I speak about using browsing behaviour data to do moment planning i.e. speaking to consumers at the right moment whilst in the right location.

In order to do this, we need to be doing a location data stack. This is stacking various location data sets together, synthesising them to come up with near precise focus areas for media and marketing investment to avoid wastage, to drive more relevant messaging and to retarget consumers at a later stage.  This in my expert view is the future of location marketing.

Dynamic digital out of home

Seeing that digital out-of-home penetration is growing exponentially in South Africa, we should start thinking about innovative ways to use it. Cutting down a TVC and placing it on DOOH is certainly not the way to do that. Creative messages have to be tailored for this format, taking into cognisance the idiosyncrasies of slot, lack of sound, traffic speed and location. Digital dynamic is the future of this format, with ads playing based on particular triggers, which can vary from simple APIs like weather and traffic to slightly more complex ones like; game results or trending topics on search or social media. More relevant ads have been shown to have 50% more recall than generic ones so beyond the GRP, advertisers have to think critically about how they are using their formats to communicate for better returns on their investment. Tie in with social through mobile is also a big opportunity for businesses; of course, I am not saying people should drive and text but at dwell time areas like robots, there is opportunity and it should be leveraged.

Therefore, if you are not thinking about location marketing with data at the heart of it then you are still planning communication-using methods devised by astrolopethicus afrikanus. Location intelligence is a pre-requisite if businesses are to future proof themselves and get better returns on their investment, no longer just out-of-home advertising.