2016: The Year of Location Data

Ten Thought Leaders on
How Location Data is Changing Marketing

To succeed in the age of the mobile consumer, brands need to harness the power of their location data to create a competitive advantage. We asked ten industry experts how location data is changing the way marketers reach consumers — find out what they said (and what to do next).

David Mihm
arrow

David Mihm

Director of Local Search Strategy, Moz
close

How do you think location data is changing the way marketers reach their customers?

In the last couple of years, we've seen a massive increase in the awareness of the power of location data–largely brought on by the mobile tsunami–but it's still amazing to me how many Enterprise brands are not implementing fundamental best practices around findability and discoverability through a decent store locator and basic listing management.

What is one thing marketers can do today to harness the power of their location data?

I'd start by compiling a rock-solid canonical list of your physical locations. Does this exist in your enterprise? Who owns it? Do you have some way of verifying the ground-truth of the NAP information that is powering both first-party and third-party dissemination of this NAP data? At the end of the day, all of those millions of dollars spent on brand advertising, social campaigns, and Adwords will go completely to waste if your brand falls down when customers are actually trying to find (or call) your store on their mobile devices.

Jill Kocher Brown
arrow

Jill Kocher Brown

Associate Director of Search Strategy, Resource/Ammirati
close

How do you think location data is changing the way marketers reach their customers?

Optimized local search isn’t the additional bonus optimization tactic it was 5 years ago. With Google’s focus on mobile and local, businesses that aren’t on the map (so to speak) in local search will lose customers to the competition in a very real way. Customers will literally walk with wallets in hand into competitors’ stores and hand them money. That should be your money – local search optimization ensures that you get the chance to earn it.

What is one thing marketers can do today to harness the power of their location data?

Ensure that your data feed is accurate. Optimizing with inaccurate location data is arguably worse than not optimizing at all.

arrow

Matt Graves

Chief Data Officer, Infogroup
Matt Graves
close

How do you think location data is changing the way marketers reach their customers?

Location data will actually move marketers one step closer to living up to the promise of delivering the right message at the right time. Understanding not only where the consumer location is, but also which businesses are around that consumer will provide great insights for marketers. With mobile location data exploding and the use of data within a business (POS/Beacons), marketers have never been better equipped to provide relevant and personalized messaging to customers.

What is one thing marketers can do today to harness the power of their location data?

With the evolution of mobile targeting, ensuring marketers are activating their location data is critical for delivering ROI to their clients. Marketers must understand how to take raw data and create actionable audience segments that can be leveraged in their marketing campaigns.

arrow

David Card

Research Director,
Street Fight
David Card
close

How do you think location data is changing the way marketers reach their customers?

Remember all that talk about customer journeys? Well, they actually happen, and they're increasingly difficult for marketers to track. There's more and more searching and shopping on mobile devices, and a frustrating stand-off between "walled gardens" of data and deep-linking technologies from mobile OS's, search, and social media. Yet location data is a critical input for marketers adding context and relevance when delivering information, offers, and messages. And now, with this expansion of digital platforms, doing advertising and marketing attribution just got that much harder. Since targeting and analytics are evolving rapidly, the best thing a marketer can do right now is feed as much multi-sourced location data as possible into its audience and customer profiling schemes. Efficiencies will follow...eventually.

Tari Haro
arrow

Tari Haro

CMO,
SIM Partners
close

How do you think location data is changing the way marketers reach their customers?

Location data is helping brands connect with mobile consumers. Armed with their mobile devices, consumers are conducting “near me” searches that require brands to be more responsive than ever. If your business is not present when near me moments of need occur, you might as well not exist. Businesses that manage and distribute their location data properly are visible when those near me searches occur on mobile devices. Even better, enterprises that pair location data with contextual content turn those near me moments into “next moments” of purchase.

What is one thing marketers can do today to harness the power of their location data?

Create a strategy that treats location data as a valuable asset that is managed, distributed, and monitored. Enterprises deal with too many business events every day to accept a set-it-and-forget it approach to their location data, especially if an business operates hundreds and thousands of locations. Hours of operation change for special occasions, locations open and close, and consumers continue to use more devices and channels to find businesses, just to name a few examples that underscore the dynamic nature of managing a brand through location marketing. Enterprises need to make sure they know how to constantly anticipate and react to those changes by managing their data, sharing their data with publishers and aggregators, and monitoring their location data health.

Collin Colburn
arrow

Collin Colburn

Analyst,
Forrester
close

How do you think location data is changing the way marketers reach their customers?

Location data is helping marketers increase their "discoverability" during consumer's moments of need. Mobile consumers expect their search results to be localized, and if your locations aren't showing up, your customers won't be choosing you.

What is one thing marketers can do today to harness the power of their location data?

Foster relationships with your locations and their owners/managers. This is a full-team effort. And they are the key people on the ground everyday with your customers, and might even know them better than you do.

arrow

Mike Blumenthal

Co-founder,
GetFiveStars.com
Mike Blumenthal
close

How do you think location data is changing the way marketers reach their customers?

It might be more appropriate to ask how not having correct location data is preventing marketers and businesses from reaching their customers. The local search market is fragmenting with Apple, Facebook and even Amazon coming into the space of helping folks find local providers. Each of these plus google need good, clean, accurate location data so that your customers can find you no matter where they look.

What is one thing marketers can do today to harness the power of their location data?

Besides being sure that the primary data suppliers, Google, Apple and Facebook have accurate information about your business you should be adding full and detailed schema markup to your location pages for all of the supported local variables.

arrow

Mike Pycha

Executive Director/VP,
Neustar Localeze
Mike Pycha
close

How do you think location data is changing the way marketers reach their customers?

Enterprise (multi-location) level marketers are more in tune today than ever before with how their location data impacts all of their marketing. But marketers in large organizations still have a difficult time coupling together from multiple internal data sources their core location (name, address, local telephone number) plus attribute (hours, products, email address, etc.) data. Today, this issue continues to be a persistent hurdle facing some marketers. Investing in internal resources to address and resolve through new database management processes and tools will be the key.

What is one thing marketers can do today to harness the power of their location data?

Specifically concerning their digital marketing listing presence, it’s no longer convincing marketers the need to effectively manage their location presence but rather why all types of data management offerings are not the same. These marketers, as savvy as they may be, still have a difficult time understanding the difference between listing management as a paid advertising unit from foundational data management offerings. There may be reasons to do both; but leaving out foundational data management as a whole has huge impacts to how consumers find and interact with their locations which ultimately manifests itself at the cash register.

Jason Goldberg
arrow

Jason Goldberg

SVP Commerce & Content Practice, Razorfish
close

How do you think location data is changing the way marketers reach their customers?

We’re moving beyond the one size fits all era of mass marketing. Context is more important than ever to personalizing customer experiences, and one of the most important context signals we have is location. Shoppers DO NOT want the same experience on their mobile phone when they are in their homes, that they want on that same device when they are standing in a store.

What is one thing marketers can do today to harness the power of their location data?

It’s important to remember that only 7% of all US retail sales happen online, despite the fact that 52% of all purchase decisions are digitally influenced. So it’s critical that your digital marketing experiences have a very low friction call to action inside of a retail store. For most retailers, being great at Local SEO (and getting well ranked in Googles Local Index) is more important and profitable than traditional SEO. That starts with having great content about your local stores, and an excellent mobile friendly store locator.

Ocean Fine
arrow

Ocean Fine

Director of Agency and Strategic Partnerships,
Factual
close

How do you think location data is changing the way marketers reach their customers?

You can understand a lot about people based on the places they go. Quality location data provides marketers with the insights they need to reach the right audiences based on their real world behavior. When a marketer has a clearer pictures on a consumer's needs, they can build more engaging and valuable mobile experiences for their audience.

What is one thing marketers can do today to harness the power of their location data?

Utilize location data to help you reach, interact with, and create extreme value with your customers on a daily basis via their mobile device. In a digitally distracting world it’s important to fulfill the customer’s needs with a more enjoyable and more seamless experience as opposed to disrupting their desired action or their attention with traditional media like banners, pop-ups, and video interstitials.

David Mihm/Director of Local Search Strategy, Moz

How do you think location data is changing the way marketers reach their customers?
In the last couple of years, we’ve seen a massive increase in the awareness of the power of location data–largely brought on by the mobile tsunami–but it’s still amazing to me how many Enterprise brands are not implementing fundamental best practices around findability and discoverability through a decent store locator and basic listing management.

What is one thing marketers can do today to harness the power of their location data?
I’d start by compiling a rock-solid canonical list of your physical locations. Does this exist in your enterprise? Who owns it? Do you have some way of verifying the ground-truth of the NAP information that is powering both first-party and third-party dissemination of this NAP data? At the end of the day, all of those millions of dollars spent on brand advertising, social campaigns, and Adwords will go completely to waste if your brand falls down when customers are actually trying to find (or call) your store on their mobile devices.

Jill Kocher Brown
Jill Kocher Brown/Associate Director of Search Strategy, Resource/Ammirati

How do you think location data is changing the way marketers reach their customers?
Optimized local search isn’t the additional bonus optimization tactic it was 5 years ago. With Google’s focus on mobile and local, businesses that aren’t on the map (so to speak) in local search will lose customers to the competition in a very real way. Customers will literally walk with wallets in hand into competitors’ stores and hand them money. That should be your money – local search optimization ensures that you get the chance to earn it.

What is one thing marketers can do today to harness the power of their location data?
Ensure that your data feed is accurate. Optimizing with inaccurate location data is arguably worse than not optimizing at all.

Matt Graves
Matt Graves/Chief Data Officer, Infogroup

How do you think location data is changing the way marketers reach their customers?
Location data will actually move marketers one step closer to living up to the promise of delivering the right message at the right time. Understanding not only where the consumer location is, but also which businesses are around that consumer will provide great insights for marketers. With mobile location data exploding and the use of data within a business (POS/Beacons), marketers have never been better equipped to provide relevant and personalized messaging to customers.

What is one thing marketers can do today to harness the power of their location data?
With the evolution of mobile targeting, ensuring marketers are activating their location data is critical for delivering ROI to their clients. Marketers must understand how to take raw data and create actionable audience segments that can be leveraged in their marketing campaigns.

David Card/Research Director, Street Fight

How do you think location data is changing the way marketers reach their customers?
Remember all that talk about customer journeys? Well, they actually happen, and they’re increasingly difficult for marketers to track. There’s more and more searching and shopping on mobile devices, and a frustrating stand-off between “walled gardens” of data and deep-linking technologies from mobile OS’s, search, and social media. Yet location data is a critical input for marketers adding context and relevance when delivering information, offers, and messages. And now, with this expansion of digital platforms, doing advertising and marketing attribution just got that much harder. Since targeting and analytics are evolving rapidly, the best thing a marketer can do right now is feed as much multi-sourced location data as possible into its audience and customer profiling schemes. Efficiencies will follow…eventually.

Tari Haro/CMO, SIM Partners

How do you think location data is changing the way marketers reach their customers?
Location data is helping brands connect with mobile consumers. Armed with their mobile devices, consumers are conducting “near me” searches that require brands to be more responsive than ever. If your business is not present when near me moments of need occur, you might as well not exist. Businesses that manage and distribute their location data properly are visible when those near me searches occur on mobile devices. Even better, enterprises that pair location data with contextual content turn those near me moments into “next moments” of purchase.

What is one thing marketers can do today to harness the power of their location data?
Create a strategy that treats location data as a valuable asset that is managed, distributed, and monitored. Enterprises deal with too many business events every day to accept a set-it-and-forget it approach to their location data, especially if an business operates hundreds and thousands of locations. Hours of operation change for special occasions, locations open and close, and consumers continue to use more devices and channels to find businesses, just to name a few examples that underscore the dynamic nature of managing a brand through location marketing. Enterprises need to make sure they know how to constantly anticipate and react to those changes by managing their data, sharing their data with publishers and aggregators, and monitoring their location data health.

Collin Colburn/Analyst, Forrester

How do you think location data is changing the way marketers reach their customers?
Location data is helping marketers increase their “discoverability” during consumer’s moments of need. Mobile consumers expect their search results to be localized, and if your locations aren’t showing up, your customers won’t be choosing you.

What is one thing marketers can do today to harness the power of their location data?
Foster relationships with your locations and their owners/managers. This is a full-team effort. And they are the key people on the ground everyday with your customers, and might even know them better than you do.

Mike Blumenthal/Co-founder, getfivestars.com

How do you think location data is changing the way marketers reach their customers?
It might be more appropriate to ask how not having correct location data is preventing marketers and businesses from reaching their customers. The local search market is fragmenting with Apple, Facebook and even Amazon coming into the space of helping folks find local providers. Each of these plus google need good, clean, accurate location data so that your customers can find you no matter where they look.

What is one thing marketers can do today to harness the power of their location data?
Besides being sure that the primary data suppliers, Google, Apple and Facebook have accurate information about your business you should be adding full and detailed schema markup to your location pages for all of the supported local variables.

Mike Pycha/Executive Director/VP, Neustar Localeze

How do you think location data is changing the way marketers reach their customers?
Enterprise (multi-location) level marketers are more in tune today than ever before with how their location data impacts all of their marketing. But marketers in large organizations still have a difficult time coupling together from multiple internal data sources their core location (name, address, local telephone number) plus attribute (hours, products, email address, etc.) data. Today, this issue continues to be a persistent hurdle facing some marketers. Investing in internal resources to address and resolve through new database management processes and tools will be the key.

What is one thing marketers can do today to harness the power of their location data?
Specifically concerning their digital marketing listing presence, it’s no longer convincing marketers the need to effectively manage their location presence but rather why all types of data management offerings are not the same. These marketers, as savvy as they may be, still have a difficult time understanding the difference between listing management as a paid advertising unit from foundational data management offerings. There may be reasons to do both; but leaving out foundational data management as a whole has huge impacts to how consumers find and interact with their locations which ultimately manifests itself at the cash register.

Jason Goldberg/SVP Commerce & Content Practice, Razorfish

How do you think location data is changing the way marketers reach their customers?
We’re moving beyond the one size fits all era of mass marketing. Context is more important than ever to personalizing customer experiences, and one of the most important context signals we have is location. Shoppers DO NOT want the same experience on their mobile phone when they are in their homes, that they want on that same device when they are standing in a store.

What is one thing marketers can do today to harness the power of their location data?
It’s important to remember that only 7% of all US retail sales happen online, despite the fact that 52% of all purchase decisions are digitally influenced. So it’s critical that your digital marketing experiences have a very low friction call to action inside of a retail store. For most retailers, being great at Local SEO (and getting well ranked in Googles Local Index) is more important and profitable than traditional SEO. That starts with having great content about your local stores, and an excellent mobile friendly store locator.

Ocean Fine/Director of Agency and Strategic Partnerships, Factual

How do you think location data is changing the way marketers reach their customers?
You can understand a lot about people based on the places they go. Quality location data provides marketers with the insights they need to reach the right audiences based on their real world behavior. When a marketer has a clearer pictures on a consumer’s needs, they can build more engaging and valuable mobile experiences for their audience.

What is one thing marketers can do today to harness the power of their location data?
Utilize location data to help you reach, interact with, and create extreme value with your customers on a daily basis via their mobile device. In a digitally distracting world it’s important to fulfill the customer’s needs with a more enjoyable and more seamless experience as opposed to disrupting their desired action or their attention with traditional media like banners, pop-ups, and video interstitials.