Big Data, Big Opportunity
As far back as 2010, the emergence of location-based services gave rise to numerous trials by big brands, who were attempting to demonstrate the real value of location to their business. So two years on, why is it that we still haven’t seen a fully rolled-out location service?
To explore this question, we need to look closely at the mindset of marketers and at how services that are centred around location can create real value for the consumer. In an attempt to be first to market, many brands have opted to launch services that are just about location and location only; for example, serving a voucher to someone who happens to hit a geo-fence. This doesn’t work! Those brands need to move away from the mindset of being locationally aware, to being contextually aware. More importantly, they need to consider relevance in the location equation to help ensure the experience is appropriate to the audience being targeted.
I often hear brands talking about a ‘360-degree view of the customer’. This might sound like nothing more than the another industry soundbite, but in fact, it has the potential to unleash an incredibly powerful experience for consumers when combined with location.
To do this, you need to understand and integrate the consumer’s profile into the mix; for example, what they look like, their demographic make-up, and so on. Consumers’ behaviour also needs to be analysed; for example, what do they have a propensity to consume? What does their transactional history for a product or service look like? Once this is established, and the data is intelligently combined, the end result will be an experience that is both relevant and context rich.
Sounds good, but how do you achieve this? Well, to answer this crucial question, we need to understand the growing phenomenon of big data. For those of you not familiar with it, big data is a phrase used to describe a set of tools that allow brands to create, manage and manipulate multiple strands of data, leading to a specific and/or unique outcome.
A mouthful yes, but what it essentially points to is a method for intelligently bringing together all the data you collect on an individual customer and using it to make an informed decision on what type of location experience best suits their genetic make-up.
Big data is a challenge and an opportunity for us. It is even more of an opportunity for brands to work with big data platform providers like ourselves to better understand and analyse the data they collect, in order to create highly effective and highly targeted services.
As an growing number of brands and businesses are increasingly collecting more data on their audiences, those that can combine and analyse this data effectively will be the ones that ultimately succeed in delivering a truly engaging service. The technology is there, we just need to raise our consciousness as to what constitutes a true location experience.
We have broadened our vision from SoLoMo (Social Mobile Local) toward MoLoDat (Mobile Local Data). This buzzword describes how we see the future landscape of location blending with optimised big data, to deliver services through your mobile device. If implemented effectively at the concept and delivery stage, this equation will be what differentiates your services from competitors when the location-based services market hits critical mass.
If your brand can create an experience and demonstrate the value that location services can bring to consumers, then you can expect to see a shift in the perceived value of location, and this will lead to higher adoption rates. With this in mind, don’t forget to consider other important aspects, like responsible use of location, privacy and trust. These are the fundamental principles you need to get right before you can even consider rolling out location-based services.
Kamran Saeed is senior innovation and product manager at Brainstorm