The rise of Location-Based Marketing: Is it worth it?


It’s normal for a business to keep things simple. If you’re happy with your Facebook and Twitter efforts, then there’s really no urgent need for you to engage in other social media platforms. However, the least you can do is to learn about a few of them.

One of the current rising superstars in social media is location-based marketing. It basically uses a prospect’s location and preferences for brand exposure. There are several variations for this medium:

  • Location-based services (LBS): Popular applications like Foursquare and SCVNGER that provide information or entertainment to users based on location
  • Near-field communications (NFC): technology that allows two devices which are in close proximity — between two and 20 centimeters — to exchange information
  • Bluetooth marketing: like NFC, this allows data transfer over short distances
  • Location-based advertising (LBA): uses tools such as GPS and geo-fencing to locate potential prospects

Restaurant chain Subway once used LBA to market their food joint in the UK. The campaign was called “You Are Here”, and they targeted mobile users within a close proximity to a Subway branch. Passersby would receive an MMS informing them that there’s a Subway nearby wherein they can get special discounts. Of course, users have to “opt-in” to receive the message, and once they do, they will be on the list of subscribers for updates and promos. Basically, they become leads.

Zuma Fashions opted to use NFC by embedding a microchip in point-of-sale posters within the vicinity. Customers were then encouraged to download the Zuma Fashions app from iTunes or Google Play. Once they have it, they can swipe their handsets over the NFC chip to fill out a short survey. Afterwards, they would receive a digital discount they could use immediately. They could also swipe NFC tags attached to blouses and get price details and even learn about the materials used to make it. What a way to improve customer experience!

UK-based body spray company Lynx installed vinyl floor tiles in populated areas of various colleges and universities. Students who stood on or near the Lynx floor can wirelessly download a branded dating application via Bluetooth. The campaign was a success not only because of the tremendous brand exposure it gained, but also because more than 500 students a day downloaded the app.

Lastly, Domino’s Pizza created its own location-based app for customers to order pizzas in specific branches. With 4 pizza sizes, 4 types of sauces, 22 toppings and many other add-ons, there are 522 billion possible combinations that customers could choose from, and the app was able to manage it all. It made the ordering and delivery process more fun and convenient for customers, and the likelihood of public support was very high.

These are just simple beginnings of location-based marketing and judging on its apparent success, the future is looking bright. That is exactly why companies should at least get an idea about this technology. For marketers, this could be the thing of the future.