Geo-Loco@ad:tech – Session 2

Can we affect behavior with location based services?  Are we moving beyond just being location-aware towards location-driven?

Local at the Bleeding Edge

Di-Ann Eisner, Community Geogrpaher at Waze (moderator)

Alice Lancaster, VP of Marketing at Loopt

Jill Fletcher, Social Media and Communications at Virgin America

Ellen Stone, Senior VP of Marketing at Bravo

Perry Evans, Founder and CEO of Closely, Inc

Mark Silva, Founder and Manager Director of Real Branding

Lancaster and Fletcher discussed a campaign where Virgin Airline launched a Mexican route with aLoopt check-ins at a taco truck.  In addition to excellent metrics, the promotion worked well with the brand.  The project was what Lancaster called “sneezable”, that is, it’s designed to be shared on social media.

Stone described Bravo’s early adoption of Foursquare and how awareness was heightened by press and viral sharing.  By adding social media tools, Bravo was able to create larger yet more personalized events for future launches.  Brands can help build scale by partnering with growing services and by using multiple services.

Silva described a new promotion with Foursquare, Hess gas stations, and Pepsi’s Brisk ice tea.  In this case, they were able to drive engagement with day workers.  He also described a promotion between Zynga and 7-Eleven.  In addition to unlocking codes from Slurpees, the experience unlocked the potential of social gaming and physical store commerce.  For many CPGs, based on time and goals, there are still scale issues.  Because the space is nascent, these is still a lot of experimentation.

Eisner discussed a partnership between NBC-2 and Waze.  NBC-2 is one of the first branded groups on Waze.  Citizen traffic reports on Waze are being used by local broadcast news in place of traditional traffic-reporting techniques.

Eisner asked the group whether on-going success in this space will require a single dominant player.  Evans believes that a limitation for promotions with SMBs is the difficulty at digesting multiple platforms.  He sees deals and offers as the next driver in local behavior (following trends in search and then reviews).  Silva hopes that Google gets into the location space, and he believes that standardization will drive success.  While Stone is excited by the innovation and excitement of start-ups and small players, she recognizes that scale may require a more centralized ecosystem.

Panel – How Big Brands with Make Money With Location-Based Services

Phil Hendrix, Director at immr (moderator)

Dave Knox, Chief Marketing Officer at Rockfish Interactive

Rob DelaCruz, Chief Revenue Officer at

Neil Salvage, Executive VP of Advertising at CityGrid Media

David Staas, SVP of Marketing at JiWire

Steven Comfort, VP of Business Development at Fwix, Inc

Hendrix opened with a very general question, namely, how should we be thinking of the time local, and how fine should we get (by the foot, by the neighborhood, by city, etc.)  DelaCruz sees new technology opening up the opportunity to engage consumers at a deeper level by being more specific in targeting.  Knox believes that location matters when a consumer would take a different course of action because you know their location (and could, for example, deliver a message to encourage a shopper to check out a different part of a store.)  Staas notes how important context is to location.  It’s critical to understand not only where a person is, but what they are doing (are they inside a coffee shop or outside of it?)

Salvage believes that the depth of location changes based on the marketplace.  For example, Manhattan requires a different level of specificity than Charlotte, NC.  Comfort agrees that the definition of local can change, but he attributes this to a brand’s intention.

Hendrix asked the panel how brands are using traditional methods of marketing to location-based services.  Salvage referenced the concept of “local-national”, as brands focus promotion of ubiquitous products at a local level.  Staas expects a better response from consumers if a brand can target by location and add local content (whether that’s a branded message or just a store location.)  DellaCruz sees a proliferation of local content on the web (TV, newspapers, etc.) that can be leverages for compelling user experiences at a local level, even when the user isn’t using a check-in service.  Comfort described newspaper classified ads as analogous to local search entries, making newspapers a bridge from traditional to location-based advertising.

Hendrix asked the panel to imagine the ideal brand to leverage location.  Knox recognizes the difficulty of traditional CPG goods to embrace location, because they cannot spend big money in location.  He sees an opportunity in shopper marketing, moving the influence beyond the store’s entrance.  The potential grows more when shopper marketers partner with the stores to drive traffic to the stores and to the markets.  Staas doesn’t believe that only one industry or vertical can benefit from location.  For any industry, it’s critical to understand the audience and his or her needs.

While a physical presence may not be necessary to leverage location, Staas offered, it is easier for brands with a physical location to envision how to embrace the space.  Many brands could even use location-based marketing to compete more effective with brick and mortar competitors.  Brands may look for places where their product isn’t sold, but where they’re audience is presence, as well as the equity of the place.  He gave the example of Buick advertising its automobiles to customers in Starbucks locations.

Finally Hendrix asked what evidence exists to show that consumers or merchants prefer promotions with a location-based element.  Staas noted that half of his company’s consumers, when surveyed, responded that they would share their location if it would lead to them getting better targeted promotions, and nearly half responded that they were more likely to interact with a local merchant that offered location-based specials.

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