How To Use Marketing Lifecycles and Location Data | BizHack

The Role of Location Data: Marketing Lifecycles and a Post-Pandemic World

In the marketing lifecycle, knowing the location of your target audience is not an option—it is a critical component that can drive every aspect of your campaigns. 

Location, location, location. 

While this catchphrase is often applied to real estate, it can just as easily be applied to data for today’s marketer.

From segmentation and targeting to measurement and analytics, location data informs marketers on consumer behavior, ad effectiveness, and retail performance. 

Understanding the latest location-based behavioral trends and the role that location data will play for marketers in a post-pandemic world can transform your marketing efforts instantly. 

TL;DR: 3 Tips to Mastering Location Data and Marketing Lifecycles

As we transition back into normalcy, location data can help small business owners know how their target audience is moving around in the real world.

  • Location data shows that people are eager to re-engage in the physical world.
  • Location is more important than ever- With behaviors varying by region, state, and designated marketing area, strategies tailored by geography are critical to success.
  • Delivering the right message at the right moment ensures relevance in today’s rapidly changing landscape.

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When you have access to location data, it enables you to uncover and capitalize on behavior trends, and behavioral marketing is the most important way of targeting your ideal customers. Location data can help any size business market itself. Even small businesses with small budgets can use some of these tactics and leverage them to get more intimate and more understanding of who their ideal customers truly are.

“Location is at the center of everything we do,” said Emily Owayni, account manager of data and insights at Foursquare, during a #BizHackLive webinar

Location reveals how people move through the real world and how those patterns change over time.

Location Data is More Important Than Ever

  • It’s an indication of intent in real-time.
  • It reveals who people really are.
  • It isn’t just complimentary—it is a critical input.
  • You can take action on it like no other data.
  • You can’t afford to compromise its quality.

Consumer Behavior Is Changing

The pandemic has undoubtedly been a year of unprecedented change. Retailers, restaurants, and hospitality brands alike have seen significant shifts in consumer behaviors, both in-person and online. Businesses are looking at trusted data to make important business decisions, such as where to open and close locations or how best to reach post-pandemic visitors.

Marketing Lifecycle: Top Trends

Recovery varies by audience:

  • People 25-34 years old are moving around more than other age groups.
  • Women are generally showing a higher propensity to visit places more than men.
  • Millennials have been more “out and about” compared to other age groups since the pandemic started.

Recovery varies by geographic location and population density:

  • People are moving around most in the Midwest and least in the West.
  • People are moving around most in the rural areas and least in the urban areas.

The pandemic has also introduced a lot of flexibility into consumer weekday schedules as many professionals were forced to work remotely. As a result, most retail categories saw a rise in traffic midday and midweek instead of evenings and weekends compared to pre-pandemic visitation. A shorter dwell time (amount of time consumer spends in a business) was also captured for businesses in retail and dining, suggesting customers were likely taking advantage of contactless curb-side pickup or picking up take-out from local restaurants. 

People are traveling again across the country. Location data shows that foot traffic to airports has continued to rise in the last few months, still down -25% as of March 31, 2021. On the other hand, visits to hotels were down only 7% nationally as of late March.

As traffic to airports, trains, and metro stations have remained well below average, visits to gas stations and auto shops picked up considerably and have remained elevated throughout most of the pandemic. National park visits have also stayed elevated throughout the pandemic, especially during holidays.

There has also been a renewed focus on home improvement. Foot traffic to hardware stores, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, has remained elevated throughout the pandemic, up +49% since late March 2021.

Movie theaters seem to be the hardest hit still, with foot traffic down 55% as of late March 2021. Meanwhile, visits to other entertainment centers, such as theme parks, bars, stadiums, and casinos, have seen a rise in foot traffic in recent months.

Key Takeaways: What Does This All Mean?

  1. Consumers are still consuming. Location data shows that people are eager to re-engage in the physical world.
  2. Location is more important than ever. With behaviors varying by region, state, and designated marketing area (DMA- what marketers use to define a region), strategies tailored by geography are critical to success.
  3. Aligning with the customers’ mindset is key. Delivering the right message at the right moment ensures relevance in today’s rapidly changing landscape.

Where Does Location Data Come From?

Back in the day, you needed to volunteer your location. Now, we have technology that allows us to figure out your location without volunteering it.

The data provided in this article comes from Foursquare. It comes from multiple sources, but primarily they have two types of data sets available: places data and visits feed. Places data comprises more than 95 million points of interest, which allows mapping in real-time and goes back upwards of 3 years. Visits feed ascertains the insights from this analysis and other recent analyses of COVID-19 insights. The data is coming from the mobile app IDs where Foursquare is tracking consumers throughout the physical world based on the places that they are going.

Plan, Reach, and Measure

“The beauty of location data, especially during the pandemic, is that it allows you to identify those who are staying at home versus those who are more out and about,” said Emily.

As we begin to transition back into the world, it is essential to know who has returned to shopping at non-essential locations, airports, movie theaters versus those who are exercising more caution in their day-to-day life. By looking at location data in real-time, you can segment those people, not just by age and gender, but also by thinking about their real-world physical observed behavior.

These location-based pandemic insights can be acted on in a myriad of ways. 

Solutions such as location-based audiences and proximity targeting allow businesses to segment audiences and reach customers where they are in real-time, for example, reaching consumers shopping at grocery stores three times a week versus once a week.

You can also use this data to segment based on pre-pandemic behaviors, identifying who was visiting your location or a competitor’s location frequently before the pandemic.

Marketers can also use location data to measure ad effectiveness and driving traffic to physical locations. Foursquare Attributions is one of the many great ways to measure if someone who is exposed to an ad is more likely to then visit your location. This type of tool can help improve return on ad spend by analyzing and optimizing campaign performance with actionable reporting.

Impact of COVID-19 on Small Storefront Businesses

Recently, Foursquare conducted a report on the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses and how they compared to larger chains in their industries. Some of the key insights were around how some of these larger chains have adapted to accommodating in-store pick up for online orders, take-out vs. delivery. Based on what the location data is showing with decreased dwell times, as a small business, it is more important than ever that you are really adapting to that shift in consumer behavior and accommodating consumers who are more cautious, less willing to dine in, or shop in stores but are still willing to travel to those locations to pick things up. 

You basically need to get your customers what they need and what they are there for faster. Make it possible to order ahead by telephone or online, allowing curb-side pickup, quicker and more efficient checkout processes. This is probably an excellent thing for your business in the long haul because no one likes to spend unnecessary time waiting in a line. Not only are you competing with post-pandemic safety measures, but you are also competing with the convenience of Amazon.

Even in a post-pandemic world where so many of us are now used to getting our groceries delivered, you must create two types of experiences in your store.

  1. Incredible efficiency and getting people in and out quickly. 
  2. Know what added value you can provide in the in-store experience that makes it worth the time to actually visit your business physically rather than just doing it all online.

The marketing lifecycle has been forever changed due to COVID-19. Location data is an incredible tool that can show you exactly where your target audience is spending their time and how their consumer behaviors have changed during the last year. It is important to understand the data and find ways to compete with larger chains in your industry, whether that means accommodating consumers who rather stay home or accommodating for those who are still willing to travel but are expecting a quick and painless checkout experience. 

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