Finding Your Way with Location Marketing – Satisfying Consumers in a World of Choice

By Caity Parker, Associate Strategy Director at Reprise

Taking location marketing as the process of delivering visitors to a specific location or set of locations, one of the simplest solutions is to be visible to people who are looking for the service you offer. As a prime driver of discovery and self-proclaimed organiser of the world’s information, Google is well placed to suggest such services. Google Trends shows that people tend to agree, with ‘…near me’ searches rising rapidly in the UK alone over the past 5 years.

Responding to this immediate, on the go style of searching, Google has been adding more and more local information into its search results page to bring all nearby store options to users’ fingertips, collating what once would have required visits to several different brand sites to find out the best and most convenient location.

This isn’t to say that the role of organic search has diminished, far from it, more that optimising Maps and Google local listings has become an increased area of focus, as this discovery increasingly takes place before a site visit.

Catering to people who are actively looking for a specific business is one thing, but the next step brands need to be taking is to broaden their efforts to those potentially interested. The time and distance people are willing to travel to the location will obviously be an important factor to take into consideration.

One point to think about more carefully within this is the kind of location you’re advertising: supermarket shoppers in the UK won’t generally be thinking about their next stop any longer than a week in advance, but potential travellers to Sziget festival will start their planning process much earlier and from much further away. With so many different factors in play, and an increasing desire from consumers to be spoken to as individuals and not members of an audience pool, Programmatic becomes an attractive option for the flexibility dynamic advertising affords.

For any potential customers living outside a reasonable radius area for a store, ecommerce clearly offers a viable solution. What complicates this situation is the fact that it is not uncommon for brands to have a physical and a digital presence in the same area, which in the case of retailers especially, often fulfil a similar need for consumers: the need to purchase. How then, is a brand to differentiate who to send to which location, and just as importantly, what experience to offer them?

This is not a simple question to answer, and there will not be one solution that fits all brands. The troubles plaguing the high street show a dissatisfaction with the experience as it exists currently, and yet, neither have we abandoned shopping in person to become purely ecommerce buyers.

Marketing the right location to the right person has undoubtedly been complicated by the growth of ecommerce, and the increasing inability of the traditional high street to meet the needs of the modern consumer. Understanding the motivation behind the product purchase, and how far people are willing to travel for it, is key. This is not to say that brands should aim to replicate the same experience both on and offline as much as possible – for brands who understand the role they can play in a physical community, there’s a real opportunity to offer something different and meaningful.

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