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“Spatially Aware” Marketers Use Location Intelligence Data to See Signals in the Noise

by | Jan 16, 2017 | BIA, Blog

The market for “big data” and related business analytics services is set to grow beyond $200 billion by 2020, according at least one estimate. With so much invested in data, marketers expect and want the best ROI.  It turns out that location data provide a key to unlocking much of this value, according to a recent Forbes Insights report, The Power of Place, developed in association with Pitney Bowes.

Matching consumer data contextually to physical locations allows marketers to enrich, analyze and visualize business data in powerful use cases. Marketers can create new location-based segments to help develop marketing campaigns that drive higher ROI than campaigns not leveraging such location data.

According to the report, the wealth of location data is a rapidly growing and valuable asset as the “location infrastructure” continues to expand. Consumer location signals captured in big data platforms arise from GPS, RFID, beacons, cell towers, and WiFi networks have been at the heart of this location infrastructure. But as the Internet of Things (IoT) that consumers touch grows, so too do new sources of location data from IoT entities like connected cars, home refrigerator, and home AI assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

How does this work? Forbes’ chief insights officer, Bruce Rogers, helped produce the report and told BIA/Kelsey why location data adds so much value for marketers trying to separate signal from noise in all these data. Rogers advises that, “The location infrastructure in place today generates a variety of local intelligence signals that can contextualize other data to empower deeper consumer understanding and profiling by marketers. These insights, combined with data-driven audience buying platforms, allow marketers to optimize local media investment and activation. This is a game changer for location-based marketing.” Rogers speaks at BIA/Kelsey events and also works with BIA/Kelsey as an executive industry adviser.

The Forbes report cites Bill Borrelle, Pitney Bowes’ SVP brand strategy and integrated marketing who speaks to what he calls the “Where Factor.” Borrelle observes that marketers have long relied on data to provide insights into the Who, What and When of their consumers. But the Where Factor very much ties the other three types of data in valuable ways. Borrelle develops this thesis in a recent Ad Week piece where argues for marketers to collect and use location data.

Data management platform providers assemble data that can range into the tens of thousands of fields of attributes. Marketers and media firms use these data matched with their own first-party data to developing new consumer segments built on how location data provides new insights into consumer attitudes, intent and behavior. Essentially, marketers benefit from location data as a new set of eyes to look for signals in what might otherwise be noise to build meaningful segment strategies.

This “new set of eyes” offers marketers a path to insight and competitive differentiation. Pitney Bowes’ managing director Nigel Lester argues, “The real strength of location data is that it becomes the common link between seemingly disconnected silos of business data.” Indeed, one of the report’s final recommendations is for businesses to “start thinking spatially.” By analyzing how place and location matter to your business, businesses can design better user experiences and create more effective marketing campaigns keyed to location-specific attitudes and behaviors.