Geographic information system (GIS) technology gives people options for working with or viewing spatial and geographic data. One example that’s probably familiar to you is how Google Maps can take current location information from your phone and provide a list of businesses near you. Marketers and web developers who work for marketing companies should be aware of these essentials while using GIS tech for promotional purposes.
Location-enabled apps are excellent for driving foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores. Through their smartphones, people can look up information about store opening hours, get directions or check inventory.
Research published by Google showed that 41% of those polled wished stores would do a better job of telling customers what’s in stock or sold out. Moreover, Google’s statistics showed that people like getting information once they’re actually at a store, too. They found that people are four times as likely to perform Google searches for the store they’re currently in compared to the biggest competitor.
Drug store brand Walgreens developed an app to help people with their in-store navigation needs. It displays maps of the store layout and shows people where they can find specific items. You can also apply GIS technology to digital marketing by doing things that increase a person’s likelihood to return to a location. For example, send them push notifications that announce limited-time sales, new product launches and other incentives.
Whenever marketers incorporate GIS technology into their marketing plans, they must remember that people appreciate simplicity. For example, marketers associated with companies that have WordPress sites might install a plugin that works with Google Maps. WP Google Maps is one possibility, as is 10 Web Map Builder for Google Maps.
Both of those let you bring Google Maps directly into an existing WordPress site. Then, you can customize the content to provide the information that’s most helpful to users. One straightforward approach is to create a map with markers that designate all your locations. Then, when people input their current addresses to calculate distances, it’s easy for them to get where they need to go.
Also, if you require users to fill out profiles so your company can pinpoint where they are, keep the process streamlined and don’t ask for information unless it’s genuinely necessary. GIS mapping can help your business and benefit your customers. However, if people perceive there are too many obstacles to use the location features on your website or app, they may decide it’s not worth it to try.
Using content based on a customer’s location or other appropriate details means marketers walk a fine line. Gartner released statistics in 2019 that showed 38% of people would stop doing business with a company if they felt creeped out by the personalization efforts. However, using data strategically to deliver content individuals genuinely want and doesn’t make them feel unsettled can indeed pay off.
The Montana Board of Tourism used mobile data to target customers based on their locations, as well as other factors, such as their spending habits. The result was a campaign that generated nearly $7 million in revenue. Try to put yourself in the mind of users to determine how best to market to them. For example, if a local weather forecast shows wet conditions for the next several days, you might send a mobile notification about a sale on raincoats.
Some WordPress plugins, such as MapPress Maps for WordPress, allow you to insert a map into blog posts. Consider the possibilities of writing a post to let your customers know about the opening of a new location, and then adding a map to add context.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you’ll likely need to group customers based on their priorities and habits when sending them any location-driven material. For example, issuing the same content to every person who’s ever interacted with your company and lives in a certain state isn’t the best approach because it’s too broad.
You could instead do as BMW did when promoting its new 7 Series to people in the United Kingdom. The company distributed location-specific content depending on whether people were “aspirers” or “buyers.” It discovered this approach gave people more time to engage with the brand at home before progressing with their car-buying experiences.
BMW concluded that using location data to market like this enabled expansion rates that were 3% above the benchmark. The audience segmentation concept also goes back to the previous tip about giving customers content that doesn’t seem unsettling.
If people get messages about a BMW sale at a local dealership but they’re not ready to buy for at least a year, they’ll probably become fed up and may decide to stop subscribing. It would be more appropriate to provide advice about how to ensure a car fits into a budget and mention the financing options offered at a nearby sales location.
Companies in the early stages of using GIS technology for marketing may want to team up with enterprises that are more accustomed to using location-based information when appealing to customers.
For example, one of the marketing campaign goals of Herradura — a brand of luxury tequila — was to increase sales at retailers that sold that particular beverage. Foursquare, an app that gives recommendations based on a user’s location, worked with Herradura for this effort. It combined its mapping technology with Herradura’s list of all the outlets that sold the tequila. It then used targeted advertising to reach people who had frequented those locations before, been near them or were likely to purchase premium alcohol.
The campaign caused a 23% increase in visits to places that sold Herradura for the people who saw the ads versus a control group.
The tequila brand and Foursquare did not have information to confirm whether people purchased that alcohol during the time in their establishments. Although, once individuals get in the door, they’re in good positions to receive exposure to other Herradura promotions — such as table cards, signs or lists of cocktails featuring Herradura as an ingredient. Those things could all drive sales.
Focus on User Benefits
These four tips will help you start to explore how to bring GIS into your marketing plans. Besides these suggestions, always put yourself in the user’s position and think about what they’d find most interesting or helpful.