How to use location as a marketing tool

How to use location as a marketing tool

In digital marketing, it’s a common theme that much of your success relies on when your customers can be reached, and when they are most likely to commit to a purchase. However, location is just as important, and the continuing rise in smart device ownership means that it’s time for businesses to turn to geocoding to perform region-specific data analysis. 
 
What is geocoding? 
 
Geocoding is the act of fixing a piece of data to a specific location. It is more than about having a physical address or postcode. Instead, geocoding converts a location into spatial data, and uses the exact geographical co-ordinates for the location. This is particularly useful to marketers as it helps to micro-segment areas based on demographics. 
 
At this juncture, you might be thinking “can’t this already be achieved with postcode information?”, and the answer might surprise you. Here’s why: 
 
Let’s take the postcode LS6. It’s home to faculty buildings and halls of residence for the University of Leeds. It contains the majority of Leeds Beckett University’s halls and offices and is also home to Leeds Business School and the Leeds College of Music. 
 
As a marketer, you might think that you’ve got the demographic suitably sussed: smart, young, bohemian, ethical, tuned-in and switched-on. You might be correct in assuming so, but is a millennial/Gen Z demographic truly representative of the LS6 postcode? 
 
Just a stone’s throw away from the university buildings are several neighbourhoods with older populations in low-income terraced housing. There’s also a prison and numerous areas with high crime rates. If your trendy millennial marketing campaign is based on a postcode lottery, you’re therefore going to waste a lot of clout aiming your services at the wrong demographics – even in the areas you might identify as being hotspots for the services you’re selling. 
 
Harnessing the marketing power of geofencing 
 
Geofencing, combined with demographic data, can help you gain a laser-sharp focus on who you want to market to. To focus on our millennial/Gen-Z student case study once again, check-ins at a trendy bar or eatery in the area would provide substantial marketing data in comparison to a general pot-shot at a postcode, and allow you to utilise targeted messaging. 
 
Geography is an important calling card for your prospect. While one terraced street may be family-oriented, another street around the corner could be an enclave of hipsters. Geofencing allows you to more accurately map areas based on both demographics and neighbourhood characteristics, and from here you can design appropriate messaging for your product/service. After all, your offer might appeal to families, the elderly and the young all at the same time – you just might want to market it differently to each group. 
 
Distance-based marketing with geocoding 
 
Another useful marketing strategy is to use geocoding to reach prospects based on distance. It makes little sense for a brick-and-mortar business like a restaurant to target potential customers who would have to fight through hours’ worth of traffic just to avail of a half-price pizza offer. Those in the vicinity of the restaurant at the right time of day, however, might be much more receptive. 
 
Ultimately, geocoding allows you to make better long-term business and marketing decisions. It allows you to visually explore your data, and from here you can make an informed decision on how to adjust your campaigns to promote your products and services with greater clarity than ever before.