van Schouwen Associates

Where is it? Location-based marketing for B2B

Posted by Michelle van Schouwen

Location-based marketing is all the rage in consumer marketing circles. As B2B marketers we feel, well, left out. But there are a host of reasons that B2B marketers should step into this brave new world.

First – what is it? Location-based marketing is interaction with customers or prospects by their location, offering special opportunities for which the recipient’s location is a key factor. (As in “I’m currently down the street from the latte for which you’ve texted me a coupon.”)

In this new generation of the term “location-based marketing”, this interaction takes the form of electronic messaging to the customer or prospect, often through mobile device but on occasion through that near-archaic box on your desk or in your briefcase – the PC.

Even before marketers started shooting out messages to consumers on their mobiles, and even before consumers started “checking in” to let marketers and friends know their current location, B2B firms were using earlier forms of location-based marketing.

Where did it come from?

“First-generation” examples from my own marketing firm’s experience:

•We’re managing a client event and conduct a live radio broadcast from the event to draw in additional business attendees.

•We’re with a B2B client at a trade show, showing a new product for the first time; we Tweet editors in attendance to invite them to stop by the exhibit for a person-to-person demonstration.

Where is it now?

Examples of ways B2B firms will leverage new forms of location-based marketing:

•“Check-in” apps will be used increasingly at trade shows and conferences to let attendees know about product promotions, introductions, educational opportunities, and cocktail hours available to a select audience that is “on location”.

•B2B companies that conduct road shows and special events to convene with, educate or market to prospects can have these prospects opt in to receive messages and opportunities based on their geographic proximity to an event.

•B2B companies and their PR firms will invite editors to press conferences and deliver media alerts using location-based marketing tools.

Of course, B2B marketers will have to be vigilant not to misuse location-based marketing. People at work are busy and justifiably impatient with interruptions to business at hand. Messages and offers must be relevant, useful and occasional. Text me once and I may respond positively. Text me three times and I will unsubscribe.

This article was first published in The Conversation.