Location marketing — the smartest way to poach business?

Advertising in the right place, right time is not impossible.
18 February 2020

Burger King won an award for using location intelligence to divert customers away from McDonald’s. Source: Shutterstock

Location intelligence, in simple terms, uses spatial information to empower understanding, insights, decision making, and predictions.


Automakers have utilized this form of intelligence to develop self-driving vehicles. Meanwhile, tech giants like Uber, Lyft, and Grab rely on location data for fleet management across cities and countries.  

While location intelligence has served the transport sector well, other industries have, and will continue, to seize the power of locational data as well. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2022, 30 percent of customer interactions will be influenced by real-time location analysis. 

Advertisers and marketers can leverage location intelligence to gain a better understanding of consumer shopping trends and retail footprint. These valuable insights reveal patterns and enable predictions that help organizations prepare for campaigns and product promotions. 

By employing a people-based approach, brands can track retail performance, carry out research, and devise an overall strategy, allowing the data to take on a more active role in decision making.

As an example of how this can play out, Burger King’s Cannes-Lions-award-winning “Whopper Detour” campaign utilized geofencing to engage with consumers in the real world. 

Using location-based marketing, customers with the upgraded Burger King app were offered a Whopper burger for one cent whenever they got within 600 feet of a McDonald’s restaurant. This worked effectively in a highly-competitive market where fast-food chains are within close proximity in densely populated areas, and consumers are spoiled with choice. 

In the same vein, the hotel industry is experimenting with location marketing to catch consumers’ attention in an incredibly competitive market now contesting with disruptors such as Airbnb. 

A San Francisco-based booking app is staying ahead of the game by leveraging location intelligence to offer tailored discounts for users. The app predicts if a user is more likely to book another hotel in close proximity. At the ‘right’ time, the app offers a discount and interrupts the process that would otherwise benefit the competition. 

In essence, location intelligence enables brands to be more creative and timely with their digital content and engagement with consumers, as opposed to costly and hard-to-track strategies such as handing out flyers or direct mail. 

As Jason Bettinger of Here Technologies states in a report, “Location intelligence, when combined with the vast amounts of operational and customer data owned by most retailers, delivers greater efficiencies and levels of customer experience that were previously unattainable.”

In an ever more connected world, consumers’ digital footprint forms the base of marketers’ personalization efforts and helps orchestrate omnichannel interactions between the digital and physical worlds.

Location intelligence will continue to play a huge role in enhancing marketing strategies by getting a message across at the right place and right time — especially as competition gets more fierce.