How Location Helps Marketers Reach “Forgotten” Consumer Segments


2017 will be the year of personalization. Consumers will be able to enjoy truly unique messages crafted just for them. However, as Facebook’s fake-news-spewing algorithms showed last year, targeted messaging automation still requires a human touch. A paradox, but a meaningful one, since tech without humans risks creating “forgotten groups.”

To achieve personalization, marketers will need to employ a rich mix of marketing methods, which capture audiences in different ways. This means using marketing channels and approaches which suit the audience, and location marketing is one of the most effective ways to build roads towards these otherwise forgotten groups.

Generation X (34-45)

They were the future once. Generation X of the 90s and early 00s have grown up. We simply didn’t notice, since the intense focus on Millennials meant Gen Xers have been gradually phased out of marketing and tech thought, even though they are more likley to have greater spending power than Millennials.

They also have a similar internet usage to Millennials: IPSOS Mori’s latest report had Gen Xers frequent internet use at 68%, and Millennials at 77%. Finally, they are also likely to have a rich mix of tech at their disposal, comparable to Millennials, including buying with their smartphones.

Yet, their concerns are completely different from Millennials. Research from American Express shows that Generation Xers are now more traditional than they once were, and are concerned with family, stability and saving for the future. Indeed, the idiom aimed to capture Millennials is often lost on Gen Xers.

With micromoments on the rise, according to Google, location marketing can allow businesses to position themselves as dependable stalwarts within a locale, to ensure “near me” searches pull up results which appeal to Gen Xers sense of security. A cafe, for example, can ensure its digital messaging points towards its reliable service, as well as its hip interior.

Emerging Markets

Believe it or not, consumers in emerging markets are not wholly part of the global tech boom. While many countries such as India, Brazil and the Philippines have witnessed a leap in both cell phone and smartphone penetration, many industries and marketers are still figuring out how to make use of these facts.

Fintech is exemplary, helping unbanked Nigerians, for example, develop basic financial security through SMS technology, and have developed messages to penetrate through to those audiences. The point is, developing personalized marketing requires knowledge of context.

However, 2 billion people remain unbanked according to the World Bank, and Innovations magazine has discussed the exclusiveness of the digital boom. For example, broadband access can cost up to 1,000 times the average income in certain African countries. Furthermore, women are also less likely to feel the benefit of tech in emerging markets – with cellphone ownership being a proven transformative element in the lives of women in emerging markets.

In Intel’s Women and the Web report, 41% of women reported increased income or professional opportunities created by tech ownership. This not only means the existence of tech actually creates markets, it means that tech doesn’t have the same meaning for everyone. For one person, a smartphone can simply be a means-to-an-end and for another it can be a form of social liberation.

Understanding the cultural context in which a brand or business works is essential to understanding consumer needs. In countries with diverse geographies and cultures, location marketing will enable a greater granularity in geography, and therefore cultural catchment area, to pull in consumers in respectful ways.

Seniors (65+)

Seniors are one of the largest social groups, and also, one of the most frequently excluded by the broader marketing imagination. And yet, according to the Pew Research Centre, only 23% of seniors do not use cell phones, and 59% frequently go online (opposed to 86% of adults generally) to shop and consume news. What’s more, tech use is rising – with an exponential rise in smartphone use from 2014-15, and a similar rise projected from 2016-17.

However, general tech and marketing for this group are relatively scarce, for one main reason: the group sees tech as a nuisance. Research from Aging in Place posits that older people tend to view online interactions, from social sharing, to emails to advertising as intrusive rather than engaging. It’s a vicious cycle, therefore, with tech not produced with seniors in mind, and seniors finding the tech they’re given annoying.

Therefore, marketing strategies should ensure that business information which is given to this group is consistent and non-intrusive. One way of ensuring both, is to structure business location data consistently across platforms. This means businesses have one address wherever a user searches for them, and also does not directly intrude upon a consumer, but awaits their search.

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