How to make the right location-inspired marketing move

By Puja Pannum, MD MENA, Blis

The affluent and exciting MENA market is full of marketing potential, but still biased towards traditional channels such as print and outdoor. These old favourites may have stood the test of time, but Gulf consumers are embracing smartphone technology and local marketers must do the same.

MENA has one of the highest smartphone penetration rates on the planet. A recent report, titled Media Industries in the Middle East, by Northewestern University in Qatar found that nine in ten or more have a smartphone, while an estimated 70 per cent of ads are viewed on smartphones.

But despite enthusiastic adoption on the part of consumers, only six per cent of ad dollars in the region go towards mobile. Marketers, it seems, are yet to follow in the footsteps of consumers.

Following in the footsteps of consumers, however, is quite literally one of the most exciting opportunities that mobile brings. Crucially, while desktop shows what audiences do and where they go online, smartphone location data reveals their favourite hangouts and frequent journeys in the real world.

These insights are invaluable in what they bring to light and impossible to obtain elsewhere.

The good news is, mobile is so much more than online browsing data and audience demographics. That said, mobile-wary marketers would do well to consider the potential pitfalls of location-powered marketing ahead of executing their first campaigns.

That means ensuring the accuracy of any location data used – because repeatedly targeting audiences in Europe rather than MENA is a sure-fire way to waste media budgets and turn off consumers.

In light of this, we’ve put together 3 steps to guarantee data accuracy, so marketers can unlock the possibilities of location-powered campaigns.

Zero in on the best quality data

With floods of cash flowing into marketing budgets every year, criminal activity unfortunately follows, so there’s a lot of data that is fraudulently traded. Another risk, albeit an accidental one, is data corruption.

Overall, marketers can never exercise too much caution when it comes to the quality of the data they use and, often, that means using a smaller data set that is, however, of higher quality. It’s better than using a bigger quantity of data that hasn’t been thoroughly checked.

Those marketers who want to zero in on higher-quality data can do so by choosing tech partners that check data thoroughly ahead of its use in campaigns and commit to using multiple data points to avoid sample bias.

Don’t skimp on data sources

Location data doesn’t tell you the whole story. While valuable in and of itself, when combined with other data sources, it becomes totally invaluable. Consider a consumer that is repeatedly visiting car dealerships in Beirut.

It would be hard for a marketer to know what he was after, unless they layer this information with his browsing history to show that he’s clearly in the market for a convertible – and then they are able to deliver relevant ads showcasing their brand’s range of super-slick sports cars.

In other instances, location data can be used to create new audience segments that would be impossible to reach without it.

A luxury retailer in Dubai, for example, could discover that it has already reached most of the affluent locals and, therefore, decide to use location data to segment professionals on business trips by delivering ads to guests at nearby five-star hotels.

What gets measured gets improved. One famous management thinker once said: “What gets measured gets improved”, but the saying applies perfectly to marketing too.

At the planning stage, before a campaign has even begun, it’s important to pick the right metric for it, whether that’s CTR, footfall or video completion. Thinking of the campaign goal – is it increased sales, or increased store visits? – is an easy way to find the right metric to measure it by.

Once marketers have tailored their campaign to one goal or the other, they can bring in the expertise of providers such as IRI Worldwide, who provide big data analysis and intelligence, to provide store sales data and measure the effect of the campaign on brand perceptions.

Ultimately, choosing the right metric will give a better idea of the effectiveness of the campaign against its goal and reveal exactly how to do even better in the future.

In MENA, Northwestern University’s Report shows mobile’s day is finally coming: 95 per cent of marketers in the region plan to increase spend on mobile and, over the next year, 59 per cent state the same thing about location data.

This burgeoning technology, which has been adopted with such enthusiasm by marketers worldwide, is finally being demanded in the lucrative Gulf market.

At last, marketers will be able to follow in the footsteps of their target audience and build a holistic view of them.

And by ensuring they use the cleanest location data layered with other data sources and then measuring the campaign results well, they will be primed and ready to execute precise and effective location-powered targeting – which is, unarguably, a move in the right direction for MENA marketers.

 

The views expressed by the author are her own and do not necessarily represent those of Gulf Marketing Review.

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