As we monitor Intent Signals®, one of the keywords that has been coming up with increasing frequency is “location based marketing.” We see this as an indicator that marketers are realizing the possibilities of using location based services as a marketing tool due to the increasing use of smartphones in our society. We are no longer making purchases on our desktops but on our mobile devices. 65% of all time spent on digital media is via our mobiles and that figure is set to rise. In 2016 over 86 million consumers will have made a purchase online using a mobile device. Our smartphones all come with location based apps and over 2 billion users generate data that tells marketers where we spend our physical and virtual time. The location based service is able to know when you check in to a restaurant, shopping center or place of interest for example. It tracks where you were before and who you were with and what you bought. All of that valuable information can now be converted into personalized recommendations for the user. A company can easily predict a user’s activities based on their actual consumer behavior.
No Longer Scared to Share
Customers are no longer scared to share their personal information online as they start to see the real value that they receive in the form of discounts, loyalty points and coupons. To this end, consumers are more than willing to share their location data as there is a direct reward for doing so. This is not incredible new information; we know this story. We are familiar with the concept and are acutely aware of location based services particularly when it comes to B2C purchases on line. But how is location based services set to impact the B2B consumer?
Headline News For B2B Marketers: Location Based Marketing is not only Reserved for the B2C Guys.
B2C have been effectively leveraging location-based services but it not for their exclusive use. It has far reaching benefits for B2B marketers as well. Google conducted a study which revealed that more than 60% of smartphone users wanted to see more personalized mobile advertising based on their immediate location. The more you know about your potential clients the more you can personalize your marketing efforts for them. Personalization is essential for any B2B mobile strategy. You could be missing out on reaching a wide range of businesses if you don’t have a well thought out digital marketing, mobile campaign. It is no longer enough to only have a mobile friendly website.
How Can B2B Benefit from Location-Based Services?
The number one priority these days for B2B marketers is to reach the most amount of prospects at a time when they are most likely to be predisposed to engage with your message. Strategies include targeted display advertising using the best SEO and SEM techniques, trade shows, corporate events, sponsored online activities including webinars –you name it you’re trying it. 2016 saw a definitive change in how B2B marketers started to use their digital advertising campaigns especially in the mobile arena. Mobile is the miracle gateway to get the scale and reach needed because of its location based targeting capabilities.
- Capitalizing on the Trade Show/Conference Attendee list
You usually attempt to make your presence felt at sponsored trade shows where you will exhibit, push meeting invites to those attending and involve key role players to speak at your function. However, you are not going to reach the entire audience with theses efforts, perhaps only a minuscule amount of those attending the event.
For example – at an upcoming conference or trade show you notice that the attendees fall into your ideal target market. You don’t even have to be at the conference in order to advertise your product to the group. You can use highly targeted content using the imagery and “speak” of the specific conference to hook the attendee’s attention. You can then lead them to your landing pages that have been personalized to appeal to them. By promoting an event that you will host (like a happy hour or cocktail function) near to the conference (or as part of the event) you can bring your service or product to their undivided attention. You can also extend an invitation to your local customers to also attend the function as a clever conversion optimization technique. Your business doesn’t even have to be attending the conference, with a huge expense of an exhibitor’s booth, to connect with the attendees. A hosted cocktail party will give you the perfect opportunity to meet your targeted prospects. You could advertise your party on Twitter using the conference hashtag to draw the group to your function and product. Facebook ads and local PPC are also great vehicles for mobile geo-targeting.
You can also target the attendees of vertical events in the transportation or manufacturing fields. B2B marketers can target attendees by their job functions –for Customer Service, HR, C-Levels or Finance. The opportunities for marketing in this way is limited only by your imagination.
At these conferences and trade shows you can now influence potential customers with your offering that is really aligned to their highly specific needs. You are also able to re-target them after the event has concluded as well. Even when a customer base is not near to your geographic business you can leverage their location information to engage them in their own backyard.
- Better Persona Perspective
Location-based research data provides vast amounts of information on your prospects. B2B companies have personas for their customers and so valuable information gleaned about where they spend their time and the people they spend time with in their daily lives is going to positively feed back into their profiles. If your business sells software to IT specialists, you will be able to find the places that this group tends to frequent in your sales area and you can use location-based applications to market to them.
When you know your customer’s personal demographics, the time of day they view things & their location, this data becomes a gold mine for marketing initiatives.
- Offer Incentives and always Check-In
If you receive the data that your target group frequently visits a local pub called “Joes” you could look into partnering with the watering hole. You could offer this group an incentive for checking in at “Joes,” like a “free pub meal after 4th check in.” Your company name and website details will be displayed as the giver of this gift. Your brand then becomes top of mind for your customer base. You can also check in to these places where your potential clients frequent whether in social areas or in corporate event spaces. This shows the group that you are actively involved in the happenings of the industry both on a social and business level. Be sure that you are following, checking-in and interacting with existing clients, potential prospects, your own employees and even your competitors to stay active in the landscape.
- Enrich your Web Presence
It’s imperative that you claim your business listings on location directories. These listings give you the opportunity to put your company’s website url, contact details, physical address, twitter handle, business hours etc. This location-based optimization will also aid in your SEO and page rank. For example, by claiming your business listing, Google Places will give you a higher page rank. Doing this very simple action will result in increased brand awareness and credibility.
Will We Still Be Talking LBS for B2B in the Future?
It’s unlikely that we’ll be talking about location in ten year’s time because it will be a natural, integrated, essential part of the Internet of Things. Location will be ingrained into our completely connected homes, cars, appliances and lives. Juniper Research reports that we can see the number of location-aware apps tripling by 2019. But we expect it to be an exciting new arena for B2B come 2017. This means the mobile application marketplace will continue to explode and the data generated will impact our B2B marketing efforts. It’s a vital campaign performance metric and is assisting big companies to build new marketplaces, improve local communities and support global expansion.
B2B Marketers have a unique opportunity to use it to their advantage as other companies might be slow on the up take. It’s a strategic imperative for keeping ahead of competitors in this data-driven arena. It’s a marketer’s secret sauce.