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Inspired by the interview of Jeffrey Rohrs (Chief Marketing Office at Yext) by Jeff Julian (founder of AJi and Enterprise Marketer) titled Location Based Services for Content Marketers I got to thinking about the right time to contact a customer (without being annoying) to offer value adds and engender customer loyalty and repeat sales. The most important take away from their conversation for me was the importance of location and ensuring that the location data that your smartphone or tablet pull up is the same as it appears on your Website.  This is more vital than many marketers are aware.

Take music venues as an example.  Given the number of apps that promote live music in your city (or region), a venue has a remarkable opportunity to increase ticket sales by ensuring the app not only provides up to date and accurate information but that the venue is also working with the app to ensure the customer has access to “official tickets” as well as accurate location information and even parking information which can be crucial in a busy, downtown neighborhood.

But what about those spur of the moment activities and how does a content marketer cut through all of the clutter and noise so that they are serving up the best and most relevant content to their customers and potential customers in the moment?  For example, Kansas City hosts numerous conferences each year and bring in millions of visitors to the city who, after five or six in the evening are likely looking for something to do.  Where do they look?  Their phones of course!

In this micro-moment, every food and entertainment business in downtown Kansas City has an opportunity to connect with a customer.  Jeffrey Rohrs talks about “micro-moments” and I pilfered these stats from Google’s article about micro-moments to drive the point home:

  1. Of leisure travelers who are smartphone users, 69% search for travel ideas during spare moments, like when they’re standing in line or waiting for the subway. Nearly half of those travelers go on to book their choices through an entirely separate channel. 1
  2. Of smartphone users, 91% look up information on their smartphones while in the middle of a task. 2
  3. Of smartphone users, 82% consult their phones while they’re standing in a store deciding which product to buy. 1 in 10 end up buying a different product than they had planned. 2
  4. Of online consumers, 69% agree that the quality, timing, or relevance of a company’s message influences their perception of a brand. 2

These stats make it clear that context is just as important as content.  i.e. serve up the content customers want when they want it.  There are a few ways to do this and do it well and as “the Jeffs” point out, many marketers, even the CMOs of large organizations, do not focus on location-based marketing. I would argue that the reason location focused marketing isn’t a given for all organizations is that it seems too complicated and perhaps marketers are over-thinking the content they need to serve up in that place and time.  As it turns out, it’s not that complicated.  If I can figure it out (and I can barely write HTML code) then trust me,folks, it is quite possible to integrate location-based marketing into your overall marketing strategy right now.   Why?  Because users expect it that’s why.  I am repeatedly shocked by the reluctance on the part of organizations to communicate more and more often with their customers and am still trying to determine if that reluctance is real or if it is based on being intimidated by data, geofencing, and location-based marketing.

What adds to the confusion is that most of the books and articles on location-based marketing are woefully outdated (from 2011 and 2012) so the challenge is two-fold: not only is location based marketing intimidating (due to lack of knowledge) it’s challenging due to bad location data.  The fix for this is simple:

Become your own customer and try to find your own business through the exact same channels your customers use.  Secondly, know that your customers are already using location-based sources and it’s your job to make sure they are correct.  

So when is the right time to contact your customer to let them know you are there? When they use keywords in their search and, just as importantly, when they are close!  Message them and let them know they are just three miles away and even better, offer them a motivator to come and see you.

Moosejaw did this for me over the weekend while I was searching for a gift.  Moosejaw not only let me know they had a location on the Plaza, within walking distance from my house, they also offered me $10 off my first purchase just for coming into the store.  The code was sent directly to me within seconds, and I put on my shoes and headed out the door.  I was able to do this for a number of reasons:

  1. Moosejaw knew I was a new customer and offered me an incentive to come into the store.
  2. Moosejaw’s location data was accurate, and I quickly learned I could walk there in minutes (for me this was a huge motivator because I could shop and get my exercise)
  3. The staff in the store also knew that I had the promo code because I was a new customer and made mention of it.

I was able to learn all of this using the search term, “Best Gift for a 12-Year Old Boy.”  Pretty neat.  Great job Moosejaw.  Not only did they provide me with what I wanted using GPS automation, they complemented that automation with the human touch and made me feel welcome when I entered the store and made a purchase.

“There’s something here relevant for your business,” Jeffrey Rohrs states in his interview with Jeff Julian, and I couldn’t agree more.

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