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BizReport : Advertising archives : September 14, 2010

Geo-fencing gives message options to brands

There has been a lot said over the past twelve months about local marketing. From local businesses targeting consumers in their neighborhood to national brands targeting a local consumer base for new store openings, it seems everyone is getting involved. There is a relatively new technique in local marketing, called Geo-Fencing, which may give brands even more local options.

by Kristina Knight

placecast.bmpFirst, what is geo-fencing? It is a geographical area, from a 2 block radius to an entire mountain resort property that is 'fenced' by a certain brand so that they can send targeted messages to opt-in consumers. For example, outwear brand The North Face might geo-fence the area surrounding Telluride to send messages to consumers about their brands.

"The ability to deliver a message to the consumers at a certain place and time, including location relevant information, to ensure that the consumer knows from that messages what they can do to engage with the brand," said Alistair Goodman, CEO with Placecast, which offers geo-targeting options to their advertisers. "Consumers can opt in to engage with a brand they care about and we create geo-fences to areas which are relevant to the brand. When a consumer crosses a geo-fence, they get a message relevant to the brand and to the area they are in."

From deals and offers to content information about hotspots, destinations or even news headlines, the geo-fence and initialize the delivery of a number of branded messages. Placecast's recently released ShopAlerts are one way that geo-fences can be used. When a consumer comes into an area served by a retail brand, whether a mall or brick-and-mortar store, a message can be sent to the consumer. Brands can even create coupon codes or discount offer messages for use at specific store locations, helping to push traffic into stores.

"Every message is tailored to the fence, the time of day and can also incorporate other CRM data," said Goodman. "So, for example, runners will get different messages from a brand like The North Face than hikers will get. Sonic recently promoted four different items at different times of day and at each store the item promoted was different."

Although the geo-fenced message can be very location specific, for instance asking a consumer to visit a store, it can also be relevant to the area as a whole. For instance, an outwear brand like The North Face could easily incorporate weather headlines into their geo-fenced messages to offer consumers more of a content-based message than a straight shop-here-now message.

Tags: Alistair Goodman, geo-fencing, mobile marketing, mobile messages, online advertising, Placecast

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