If there’s one thing I’ve learned since writing about location technology, it's versatility. There’s just many ways location can be used, and needs to be used, as a means to an end. On that note, location-based marketing campaigns are a lot more than just setting up geofences and beacons nearby stores. Let me walk you through three creative ways location can be used for marketing.
Micromobility x Stores
Micromobility apps need to use location for a bunch of different reasons. One of them is to create parking zones for people to pick up or leave their bike, scooter, moped, segway, magic carpet, fully armoured horse, or Apache helicopter*.
Here at Roam we see parking zones as a place of opportunity for location-based marketing. Whenever a user parks their scooter in a zone they could receive notifications from stores nearby on the micromobility app. That informs the user about their current whereabouts and may influence what they might do in that time and place (but not in the mind-controlling dystopian way- calm down).
Consider a user scootering (is that the word?) around a city looking for a spot to grab a drink and a bite to eat. Eventually they get to a certain location that’s got a lot of food and drink options and a parking zone to leave their scooter in. Upon parking they receive a notification on the micromobility app from a nearby food and beverage chain. It’s an ideal scenario, I know, but my point is that you're presenting the user with potential options that might sway their decision.
It sounds like the micromobility app is doing the stores a free favour but that isn’t true. Imagine while looking up parking zones the app can recommend parking locations based on what’s nearby and interesting to the user? You’re going the extra mile to provide information useful to them. It’s a good reason they’ll want to choose your micromobility app over a competitor in a rapidly popular industry.
*Not everything listed here as micromobility vehicles are provided and used by micromobility companies. An Apache helicopter is not a micromobility vehicle. There is nothing “micro” about a Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter. On a different note, Boeing AH-64 Apache will be the name of Elon Musk’s next born child (illegitimate or otherwise). Don’t even get me started on bikes.
Does this sound like an unfamiliar word? Gamification is about taking an otherwise mundane task and or service and making it an engaging experience for users like they were playing a video game. It’s about creating motivation and engagement incentivised by competition and or a reward system of some kind.
Actually let’s make this simpler, it’s about making something that is usually considered boring, fun. Take Duolingo. It’s an education platform for language learning. This doesn’t scream an app that entertains but Duolingo does exactly that. It creates incentive through the use of level points, XP points, leaderboard places, and leagues. As a result, language learning became a game.
Now take that concept of gamification and add location to it. Location-based apps using gamification to boost their user engagement is a pretty good way to market the app. Think of it as commercially driven gamification. An example is Starbucks. They offer discounts to users with the most number of “check-ins” at a specific venue. Should a user check-in enough at the same venue then they get special recognition for it. On their app this system is called the "My Rewards programme". It's safe to assume it's called that because Starbucks is rewarding users for their loyalty.
Admittedly, I don’t have the Starbucks app nor am I a loyal customer (just not a coffee guy), so I didn't know how the apps reward system worked. My guess was they probably used a point system at least, and maybe showed a recognition of progress through badges? The use of badges and a points system creates a sense of progress and a desire to achieve something from it. It doesn’t hurt that a little competition might get spun in the mix too. And, the whole point of location-based marketing campaigns is to incentivise loyal users to keep returning to their favourite spot and not wander off somewhere else. Anyway, after some light reading, it turns out they do have a badges and points system, except they call them "stars". Ultimately, the reward programme plays a major role in their digital ecosystem. Gamification has diversified their apps location-based marketing.
We’ve all been a tourist at some point, wandering aimlessly around a city, not knowing the fastest routes or how the public transportation works. If you’ve got an awful sense of direction like me, let me introduce you to Citymapper (it’s been out since 2011 and I’ve completely missed it). This public transit and mapping service app is ideal for looking up transport and routing options when navigating around cities. It has all the basic features Google Maps does but to a higher degree of detail. It takes all urban modes of transport and categorises as many different routes as it possibly can. That means you are presented with every possible route and transport option available to you. In a word: useful.
There’s a marketing opportunity here. You can use location tracking to inform users of nearby places and recommendations based on their app behaviour. If you know that a user prefers one mode of transport and frequently uses Citymapper to find certain locations then you can have notifications/advertisements sent to the user that better reflects their interests. Does the user often go by supermarkets on their way to a city park? Have a notification sent or an advertisement from one of your supermarkets nearby.
I mean, sure, Google Maps can recommend places to eat, drink, shop or watch a movie if you search on the app, but that isn’t location-based marketing. The opportunity to advertise your business on another app (especially if you don’t have your own) to a targeted group of users increases your chances of reaching the right people.
Similar to the parking zone idea I had talked about earlier, Citymapper isn’t doing these businesses a favour for free. It’s beneficial for apps like Citymapper that pride themselves on their level of detailed information, and being useful.
Thoughts and questions?
Like with all the blogs I write, I hope you’ve reached the end of this one as well. If you liked what you read, try out some our other stuff.
Have you thought of other creative ways of using location-based marketing? Let us know!
And of course, contact us if you have any questions.