Pinpoint the Right Location-Based Marketing Approach

Use location-based marketing to aid conversion and improve customer experience.


For a brand like REI, this is the type of location-based marketing experience that transforms trail running enthusiasts into fanatically loyal customers. Retailers can use geofencing technology to aid conversion and improve customer experience.

Although this example may seem intuitive, marketing leaders focused on mobile strategies struggle to identify the location solution that best suits their objective. Select location solutions based on how they contribute to your specific marketing objectives, such as lead generation or increasing share of wallet, rather than focusing on the technology first.

“Marketing leaders must choose the right combination of approaches to achieve an optimal result,” says Charles Golvin, research director, Gartner for Marketers.

Use geofencing to aid conversion and improve customer experience

Geofencing is the practice of digitally describing the boundary of an area on a map, identifying the event of a customer crossing that boundary and incorporating that event into a marketing activity.

Marketing leaders must choose the right combination of approaches to achieve an optimal result

Many marketers employ geofencing to drive conversion — for example, triggering an offer when a customer is close to a store. The technology is useful for improving loyalty and customer experience. When Uber alerts customers entering Los Angeles International Airport how many cars are available, it’s using geofencing.

Geofences can extend beyond owned properties and points of distribution. A hospitality brand like Starwood Hotels could geofence airports and train stations to welcome visitors with links to ground transportation and local information sources when they arrive at their destination city. Don’t only focus on customers entering a geofenced area — look for opportunities to invite customers back or ask for their feedback when you detect that they have departed.

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Deploy beacons to increase loyalty and understand behavior

Beacons are connected devices, using Bluetooth low energy (BLE) or Wi-Fi, that communicate with one or more predetermined applications on mobile devices within the range of the beacon.

Marketers use beacons to achieve objectives similar to those of geofences, but targeting a tighter radius since beacons are more precise. A department store such as Nordstrom aiming to increase conversions could craft distinct offers for cosmetics versus women’s shoes and segment the different parts of the store accordingly. Brands seeking greater advocacy can push out surveys and requests for reviews.

Don’t limit your target audience for beacon use to just the customer: These technologies can assist with analytics and enable employees to improve customer experience. The staff of the Brooklyn Museum uses beacons to provide guidance and suggestions based on a patron’s location within an exhibit.

Explore scannable media to enhance brand recognition and generate leads

Scannable media such as quick response (QR) and near field communication (NFC) are codes or tags that users interact with using an application on their phone, which then triggers an action by the application.

This approach is well-suited to driving inbound traffic, including harvesting qualified leads — a technique often used by event marketers. Retailers seeking to combat showrooming should employ scannable media to deliver in-depth product information. Brands can also use this approach to improve brand recognition and reduce customer confusion. Canadian customers of GlaxoSmithKline’s Flonase product can tap their Android phone on NFC shelf tags to access detailed information about potential interactions with prescription medications.

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