What’s next for local marketing in a post-mobile world in which everything is mobile and consumers are using devices to gain information in micro-moments?
Adam Dorfman, senior vice president of product and technology for SIM Partners, addressed this question during his presentation, “What’s Next,” at the 2015 SIM Partners SIMposium. The SIMposium is an annual gathering of business executives who explore the state of local marketing as well as its future.
In his presentation, Dorfman asserted that marketers and their customers are rapidly entering an era in which all our actions are mobile. According to Mary Meeker’s “2015 Internet Trends Report,” consumers spend more time on their mobile devices than their laptops and desktop computers combined. And mobile has eclipsed the desktop for conducting searches.
Moreover, thanks to the launch of the iPhone, our mobile devices have become miniature computers for managing our lives. Not only can we do complex searches to find what we want, we are equipped to decide which products and services we want to use with one device anytime, anywhere.
Google calls these moments of personal discovery “micro-moments,” when people use their mobile devices to help them make real-time, intent-driven decisions, both minor and major, that can have a huge impact on a brand. For instance, micro-moments can include “I want to know” moments, “I want to go” moments, “I want to do” moments,” and “I want to buy” moments that trigger search behaviors, such as, “I want to go see the new Mad Max movie. Where is it playing near me?”
Image Credit: Think with Google
As Google has noted, “near me” searches increased 34 times since 2011, with 80-percent of those searches occurring on mobile devices. And those searches occur on a multitude of touch points where consumers do research to fulfill their needs.
“People are not accessing information about your product or service from one source but from many sources ranging from Amazon to Yelp, and your brand needs to appear on all those places on the consumer journey — a journey that occurs instantly on your customer’s mobile device,” he said. Moreover, the journey is occurring on wearables such as the Apple Watch. To be found in a post-mobile world, brands need to do more than possess local pages optimized for Google. They need to be present on all the different touch points where customers find them.
“Near me searches are really requests for data, and the searcher’s location is expected to influence results whether or not it is specifically requested,” he said.
So what should marketers do in order to be present during micro-moments in the post-mobile era? Dorfman stressed two key points:
1. Get Contextual
Being present in the post-mobile era means being contextual — or delivering the right experiences to the right people at just the right moments. And the first piece of context that brands need to master is their business data, which means getting a brand’s location data right. But solving your location data is harder than it looks. Consider these common scenarios that complicate the presentation of your location data:
- Stores exist within stores.
- Kiosks exist within locations.
- Several professionals may share a single location.
- Several professionals may share several locations.
- A professional might be based in one location but is constantly at a customer site.
Image Credit: SIM Partners
In all those settings, location data can mean something different. A Jewel grocery store in Chicago might use its name, address, and phone number as its location, but a Red Box located in front of the Jewel might need to consider location data as something more descriptive and specific, such as “near the Jewel exit at the parking lot.” Both businesses, Jewel and Red Box, must map their location data in ways that make the most sense for people trying to find them, or else those businesses might as well not exist.
Once brands have harnessed the power of their location data to drive visibility, they should create relevant and engaging content unique to their locations. Local marketing automation tools help enterprise brands scale unique, non-duplicative content across thousands of locations.
2. Think about the Next Moment
Dorfman stressed that it’s not enough for brands to be findable. They also need to own the next moment of search, or the action that occurs after a consumer finds your business. Consider a consumer looking for a drug store on a hot day in South Beach. A location nearby that wants to be findable will make its name, address, and phone data visible on its location page. But the business that wants to own the next moment will provide on its results page a mobile wallet offer for 20-percent off a tube of suntan lotion.
“You don’t have to wait for a near me moment to happen before serving a next moment — you can now cause near me moments to happen,” he said. “What if the query ‘Drug store near me’ becomes unnecessary because the drugstore knows where you are?”
He noted that the recently announced SIM Partners/Vibes relationship is intended to trigger those next moments. “We now enable brands to trigger these contextual micro-moments based on where their customers are via offers within mobile wallets like Apple’s Passbook or Google Wallet on Android devices,” he said. “With contextually relevant mobile wallet offers, we can turn ‘near me’ moments of search into on-premise moments of transaction.”
He concluded, “We have always believed that location is marketing’s next moment. It’s more true than ever.”