Mike Spradbery, IBM UK & Ireland Mobile Lead
Mike Spradbery, IBM UK & Ireland Mobile Lead
A view from Mike Spradbery

Are UK brands losing out on geolocation-driven revenues?

Could the world be at UK marketers' feet - from untapped mobile revenue streams, asks Mike Spradbery, IBM UK & Ireland Mobile Lead.

Most major brands have rightly put their mobile app on an App Store and are looking ahead to the next app or campaign. But many are not pausing to look at the mobile customer insights they already hold, and particularly, how effectively they could exploit the hidden insights already retrievable from users' mobile devices.

For most consumers, the smartphone never leaves their side. Crammed with sensors and GPS functionality, today’s devices give out location and spatial information whenever they're being used. With the new generation of body-worn devices coming on stream, the quantity of lifestyle data generated by consumers will again grow exponentially.

Untapped potential

As a result, there's considerable untapped potential for brands to develop much more targeted – especially geolocation-driven – services to consumers, if they can use big data techniques to better understand and engage with mobile users’ preferences. It's a huge and misunderstood area and one that’s still hidden from many marketing professionals’ view.

This shift to utilising mobile users’ data offers a game-changer; analysing and splitting out the mass of under-utilised but invaluable data sets: user location, activity, shopping, leisure patterns and favourite outlets, to further segment customers. This in turn will enable brand owners to better target content and promotions and engage more effectively with users as individuals.

A couple of examples show the potential of using geolocation:

  • First, brands can make wider use of smartphones’ geolocation capabilities to encourage shoppers to engage with the brand in store: making social media posts about products, checking in at stores, accessing store-located loyalty points, with purchases a simple extension of the experience rather than a transaction.
  • Second, premium brands can share information for cross mobile promotions. Stranded train commuters can be sent individual promotions for a luxury garments or premium chocolate brands while they wait for a rescheduled train home. Studies show unheard of 75% take-up levels from location-based messaging, because of the precision targeting that is achieved.  

Brand managers keep pace with smartphone screens and apps but some may be less aware of the power of analytics tools that are now available. Other marketers, put off by years of creaking business intelligence products, and the pain of integrating data sets, may be sceptical of analytics’ capabilities anyway. They ask where and how quickly big data tools can be brought into fluid marketing operations.

The best digital consultancies are bringing mobile analytics and behavioural insights to the fore in their portfolios.

But as our own Business Connect event last week showed, recent market developments have quietly transformed the mobile industry’s analytics possibilities in surprising ways. They have made them more manageable and scalable for brand owners.

It’s now the head of marketing/CMO, rather than the IT department, that is pushing the boundaries of customer profiling. Recognising this, the best digital consultancies are bringing mobile analytics and behavioural insights to the fore in their portfolios - alongside the usual suspects of app design, social media integration and UX.

At the same time, hidden from view of much of the marketing discipline, global IT firms have transformed themselves through acquisitions - in only the last year or so - into providers of analytics that integrate mobile, cloud, big data and social information - to redefine mobile customer insights.

For the first time in the ‘me-tailing’ era, CMOs can access and compare user insights and combine them with other data sets at a previously unimaginable scale and speed. 

In a world being redefined by apps, geolocation-driven services can provide hard-pressed marketers with exciting brand loyalty strategies and revenue streams they never knew were available.

Big data applied to geolocation services could help marketers realise that the world really is at their feet.