#PlaceConf: What Nobody Will Tell You about Location Data

If one thing is clear about the location data industry, it’s that there has been a shift in mindset over the past several years. Location data is solidly considered a commodity, something on which all panelists of this session at 2018 Place Conference in New York City — Elina Greenstein, VP, Channel Partnerships, GroundTruth, Matthew Russo, Chief Marketing Officer, Gimbal, Thomas Walle, CEO & Co-Founder, Unacast and moderator Chris Cunningham, Founder, C2 Ventures — agreed.

The truth is that this commoditization means that the question is no longer whether or not the market can access location data, but instead what the true challenges and opportunities are for different types of data. Buyers are getting smarter. They have more questions, but still don’t understand exactly how difficult it can be to access quality, accurate location data. As Walle put it, “Location data is a commodity. Quality location data is not.”

“For any industry to move forward and advance and innovate, learnings are most critical. And learnings are shaped by what’s really happening,” said Cunningham.

The best place to start when educating buyers? Explain how and why different types of data are suited for different use cases. And use language they can understand. “Don’t speak over a client’s head. It’s important to take these concepts and make them relatable to the end customer,” said Greenstein.

Part of this education process means taking former data biases into consideration (i.e. Bidstream data — good or bad?) and instead focusing on the strengths of each different type of data, understanding that what works best will be different depending on the needs of the buyer. It’s about educating buyers on the tech that’s out there, said Russo, “For example, if you’re only relying on GPS data, it’s not going to solve all of your problems. It’s only one tool in the toolbox.”

There is no one size fits all solution, which means that location data providers need to be committed to truly understanding what their buyers are aiming to achieve and be honest and transparent about whether or not they have the right location data tools to offer a solution.

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