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Agencies Must Embrace Location or Lose Their Competitive Edge

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Consumers on the go are becoming more impatient and demanding. They want more personalization, greater relevance and better customer experiences. And location is one way to deliver against these growing expectations.

It seems that almost weekly we get new case studies demonstrating the creative variety of ways location is being used. But even as we hear about brands managing local Facebook pages at scale and others tracking OOH campaigns into the store, most enterprises and agencies remain on the sidelines.

Among the key technology tools available, mobile-location data is fast becoming a critical way to gain new customer and competitive insights and deliver better ads and user experiences. Eventually, location data will be a part of most if not all digital campaigns. But many agencies have yet to tap into location in a serious way or are stuck at “location 1.0.”

Meanwhile, brands are putting increasing pressure on their agencies to offer “more advanced” digital work. A recent study found that 62% of agencies report their clients are asking for advanced digital work and 43% feel they aren’t prepared for these demands.

Agencies can respond to these requests in part by deploying location data in multiple ways, for customer insights and campaigns. Indeed, without location-based offerings and solutions, agencies are missing out on a key differentiator (right now). However, location intelligence will soon move from differentiator to an expected capability or campaign component.

Agencies seeking to move beyond “location 1.0,” need to understand location data, its quality and how it can be used most effectively. There are still many myths and misunderstandings that location-data providers and platforms are actively working to dispel.

Brands and clients expect agencies to be ahead of the curve and to bring them new and innovative solutions. The market is moving very fast and agencies must adapt or risk losing their competitive edge. It’s time for location 2.0.

The Place Conference is the only event that explores the full spectrum of location use cases (analytics, targeting, proximity marketing, customer insights, etc.). LSA, Facebook, Google and PlaceIQ are also hosting an invitation-only breakfast for a tactical deeper dive on location data and analytics.

2 Responses to “Agencies Must Embrace Location or Lose Their Competitive Edge”

  1. jay says:

    I agree that location data and the ability to deliver messaging in real time to consumers within a geo or retail location is of value. There are huge limitations in terms of what options are available especially since most of this is driven via cellular, apps, and the user having to opt in (not to mention generational differences). Outside of restaurants and entertainment I offer here a different take on local intent since we are a company that works with both large brands and major local/regional businesses. Consumers via search are abandoning adding geo targeting to their phrases in the search query. They expect the search engine to know or anticipate what their intent is. The number of searches with a geo or zip code are down some 30%. Since most searches are made from a phone they are expecting their location to be factored into the search intent and this behavior is also being carried over to desktop. Local retailers (selling a product not a service) are under huge pressure as Google already baked into their algorithm (most dramatically back in February) to return e-commerce choices on the page for the more generic terms in search. Local retailers without ecommerce sites lost first page rankings all over the U.S. for the highest searched keyword phrases that are product focused that do not include a local geo as part of the phrase. The consumers shift to ecommerce is driving search engines to return different results. Local retailers are also experiencing getting visitors but not buyers (especially on larger purchases) as they shop it online for the best price even after seeing it in brick and mortar. Ecommerce for local retailers is really difficult and expensive to execute in order to create unique content and build databases for thousands of sku’s that search engines will index competitively. In addition, the buyers cycle today means before they get to the purchase they have already done all the due diligence online including product, price and availability before even leaving home. Ecommere also expands the opportunities around inbound marketing strategies and continuous engagement. There is no doubt that based on our case studies brick and mortar today is supporting an online presence not the other way around and this includes national retailers and brands. Local retailer strategies today need to be much more comprehensive than just geo mapping/fencing and messaging.

  2. Greg Sterling says:

    My post is really not about geo-location per se; it’s about location as a tool more broadly. But in terms of what you’re saying . . .this is super interesting (you’re citing Google here I assume): “Consumers via search are abandoning adding geo targeting to their phrases in the search query. They expect the search engine to know or anticipate what their intent is. The number of searches with a geo or zip code are down some 30%.” There has always been some “showrooming,” but I don’t see a massive uptick in that (except for Amazon loyalists). Traditional retailers have to do a better job with “e-commerce” and offline (“omni-channel”). It’s much more complicated for them now. One of the key areas that I see not being addressed is real-time inventory, though the major retailers have inventory feeds into AdWords. Longer conversation . . .

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