Why flexible location technology is powering the future of marketing

Nafinia Putra Unsplash

Location technology has revolutionized the way companies reach, engage and understand their users. By leveraging data about where users go in the real world, businesses are able to provide more personalized, relevant content and target users far more effectively.

Unfortunately, however, much of today’s location technology has distinct limitations. Namely, short of building an expensive and complicated tech stack, it requires businesses to rely on a single, inflexible approach to location marketing — one that may not be ideal for their customers or their business needs.

But what if there was a single solution that enabled your business to be flexible in its approach to location marketing? What if one technology allowed you to leverage multiple approaches at once — without the need for building a cumbersome tech stack?

This isn’t a hypothetical question. It’s possible right now. And to help you understand how it works, let’s walk through two of the most common location targeting strategies today before exploring how an innovative new technology can bring them together.

A Geographic Approach

“Geofencing” is the term marketers use to describe any location-based targeting that uses GPS, RFID, Wi-Fi or cellular data to identify when users enter or exit specific boundaries. This approach allows companies to create invisible virtual perimeters around physical spaces like stores or restaurants. It enables companies to receive real-time information about when users enter or exit a given location.

From a marketing standpoint, companies that take this approach are generally focused on generating awareness related to a specific location or set of locations — for example, a big box retailer might want to trigger notifications about a coupon or a sale when potential customers are close to a store.

The primary focus for these companies is usually to trigger the mobile devices of potential customers when they are near, as opposed to at, the physical store location. In general, these companies are also willing to sacrifice a few false positives if it means a big spike in overall foot traffic.

A Contextual Approach

Conversely, other companies take a more contextual approach. That means leveraging multiple data points to surface customized content based on customers’ unique interests and habits. These companies, unlike those that exclusively take a geographic approach, are less concerned with a few specific locations and more interested in building personalized experiences for their users based on general patterns of engagement.

Taking a contextual approach confers some distinct advantages for companies. For instance, it enables them to deliver an “always on” user journey that constantly learns and evolves based on user behaviors over time. It also considers every stop along users’ paths in order to develop a deeper understanding of their preferences, affinities and more. Armed with this critical contextual information, marketers can leverage mobile marketing automation tools to amplify their marketing efforts and drive loyalty and engagement.

For example, let’s say you see that a user goes to a rock climbing gym daily and eats at a build your own salad restaurant regularly. In that case, it’s a safe bet that he or she is interested in healthy, active living. By taking a contextual approach, you can serve that user products, services or offers relevant to his or her interests. And that not only helps drive conversions, but can also foster loyalty and greater brand affinity. In fact, according to Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report, consumers are twice as likely to view personalized content as critically important in the customer journey, versus unimportant.


The Best of Both Worlds

Helping marketers take advantage of both geographic and contextual approaches — at the same time — is precisely why we developed the Pilgrim software development kit (SDK). It enables businesses to engage with users at key moments, such as when they enter stores, visit restaurants or leave work. That means they can leverage contextual as well as geographic approaches to drive user engagement — and engagement is the most important metric when it comes to location technology.

Pilgrim’s secret sauce? It’s called Snap-to-Place, an innovation found exclusively in our SDK. By combining signals from GPS, Wi-Fi and other sensor readings, it can tell exactly where users are as they move through the world, allowing marketers to employ both geographic and contextual approaches in creative and effective ways.

Pilgrim also knows when someone has actually stopped near a venue, as opposed to simply passing by it. By tracking changes in rates of movement over time, it can even tell the difference between an actual visit to a location and, say, a traffic jam that happens to be near that location.
By giving businesses the flexibility they need to deliver maximum value to potential customers, Pilgrim brings the best of both approaches together in a single streamlined solution. That means marketers have new opportunities to reach and engage users — without building a cumbersome and expensive tech stack. And that’s a win–win for users and businesses alike.
To learn more about how Pilgrim’s superior accuracy leads to exceptional results, [click here](https://www.foursquare.com/products/pilgrim-sdk

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