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Geofencing and Location-Based Marketing

People are talking about geofencing, and the applications and opportunities are pretty far-reaching, across a number of industries. A quick definition before we jump in: Geofencing involves the use of GPS or RFID technology to create a virtual geographic boundary, enabling software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area.

Wikipedia lists some of the most recognized applications for Geofencing as child-location, where parents can be alerted when and if a child leaves a predesignated area; telematics, where users draw zones around places of work, customer sites, etc., and receive warnings when someone crosses the geofence; and human resources, where HR departments can monitor employees by location.

Of course, Geofencing is part of the increasingly popular Location-Based Marketing (LBM) methodology, where retailers, for instance, can reach consumers when they’re in the vicinity of their stores or those of their competitor’s, with messaging designed to elicit a certain response. Like “Come buy our stuff and not theirs.”

At the risk of overstating the obvious, the negative implications of Geofencing revolve around information privacy and data security. More and more, consumers are uncomfortable with their personal information being so readily available to businesses – and potential hackers. If you’re considering the possibility of Geofencing as part of your marketing strategy, you’ll need to be sensitive to this reality and make sure your content offers easy opt-in and opt-out opportunities for your target audience. Look for more blogs on the privacy implications of Location-Based Marketing in the future.

The promise of Geofencing or LBM is undeniable, offering:

  • The ability to more effectively target and better engage your prospects (think personalized messaging on mobile devices)
  • Improved campaign ROI (think special offers to people in your vicinity and almost immediate response analysis)
  • Improved information gathering and insights (think understanding which consumers responded and why, and which locations performed better than others and why)

And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg, as they say. Of course, like any marketing method, if your Geofencing/LBM efforts are to be successful you’ll still need to offer a value proposition that resonates, and that’s where your content comes in. As with all marketing – inbound, outbound, digital, traditional, etc. – the message is the most important thing.

There are some pretty remarkable statistics on Geofencing/LBM. Look for more on this subject in the near future.