4 Location-Based Marketing Tactics That Are Working

Payments, beacons and coupons are top priorities

Headshot of Lauren Johnson

With marketers allocating more advertising spend to mobile, a number of recent campaigns highlight how brands are now going beyond basic apps and sites to prominently play up location.

Here are four interesting examples within the past few months that demonstrate what’s happening in mobile and where brands are investing most right now.

Hudson’s Bay Tests In-Store Beacons

Apple’s launch of iBeacon technology last year prompted marketers to pack brick-and-mortar stores with location-sensitive devices that send out push notifications to shoppers who have downloaded a brand’s mobile app.

Now, big retailers like Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay are using beacons to switch up mobile creative based on where a shopper is in a store. Hudson’s Bay is running pilot programs in 10 stores that aim to give the department chain some information on which offers drive the highest response rates.

If the tests bode well, don’t be surprised if your phone starts getting zapped by deals and offers from big brands, too. Walgreens-owned Duane Reade and Hillshire Brands are also experimenting with beacons.

Quirky Ties Mobile to Coupon Redemptions 

Quirky and GE recently teamed up to develop a mobile-controlled air conditioner. To promote it, the companies ran a location-based marketing campaign that targeted the Boston and New York markets.

The campaign leaned on Poncho, a weather alert system that sends out daily forecasts through email and text messages. A promo with a link to buy the air conditioner online popped up in weather alerts when the temperature rose above 75 degrees.

Poncho claims that its emails have a 60 percent open rate and close to 100 percent of text messages are opened. Those numbers don’t translate directly to consumers who actually clicked through on the coupons and bought the air conditioners, but it does mean that the ad was likely seen by the majority of targeted consumers.

Location targeting goes beyond geofences

The Montana Bureau of Tourism and Starcom Media Vest’s Spark wrapped up a location-based campaign earlier this year that netted the state an additional $6.9 million in revenue, which led to another current campaign running through September.

The marketer’s mobile ads connected to a tile platform to find consumers who were previously at a ski resort and may be interested in a ski resort in Montana.

Montana’s campaign underscores a bigger trend that takes location-based marketing up a notch. Instead of squarely focusing on the location of a consumer, marketers are now layering location on top of past behavior for more relevant messages.

New York Ice Cream Store Rakes in 5 percent of Sales from Mobile

Although mobile only represents a small fraction of retail payments, smaller merchants like New York ice cream store Van Leeuwen seem to be hopping on board.

The shop rolled out mobile payments with PayPal about four months ago and now generates 5 percent of revenue from the payment app.

The app uses geolocation to detect when a consumer is near a store and shows nearby offers and deals. Users then link the app to a credit card to pay at the point of sale.

The number of mobile payment apps continues to grow, but the location portion (and its solid e-commerce chops) has experts and research firms betting on PayPal to win the mobile payment space.

@laurenjohnson lauren.johnson@adweek.com Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.