There are 6 billion smartphones in the world, and the number that have geolocation technology continues to grow. “It’s the largest growth rate ever seen in any technology,” says Andy Lombard, CEO and founder of Socialwhirled, a marketing and technology company based in Phoenix. The marketing landscape is shifting dramatically, and Lombard believes geolocation is important because mobile is the fastest-growing segment.
Geolocation through satellite and other cellular signals is far from new, but, says Lombard, now there are hyper-localized signals through beacons that can even connect into a retailer’s network. The technology is being used to connect brands and retailers to the consumer in a timely fashion. It is also finding use among restaurants and services, Lombard observes, noting it is primarily consumer marketing today rather than B2B.
It’s more than simply having a link on a business’s website that connects to Google maps. Uses include integrating geolocation into an advertising campaign, such as having the consumer click on the ad to get the offer and also be shown participating stores that are convenient to where the smartphone is being used at that time.
Or, picking up a consumer’s presence inside a store, it enables the retailer to deliver coupons or special deals to that user in real time.
“If consumers are using their phone, it makes sense that marketers would be interested in delivering their message in a timely basis and a location basis,” Lombard says, noting they are getting more sophisticated in using geolocation in the consumer’s “purchase journey.” It offers potential that cellular companies are beginning to explore, he says. “Cellular companies are highly interested in understanding how that marketing affects their business so they can start to offer marketing services.”