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Location-Based Marketing Extends Beyond Check-ins

“Location, location, location” have long been known as the three things that matter in property. A keynote speaker at the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International Digital Marketing Strategy conference (HSMAI) on Tuesday also talked about how important it can be for marketing.

Asif Khan, the Location Based Marketing Association (LBMA) founder and president, defined location marketing as “the integration of people, places, and media,” and explained that it’s more than check-ins, the latest deals, and Foursquare. He also pointed out that location-based marketing takes being at home into account, takes place on more than mobile devices, and is equally popular now with both genders.

Click through for major takeaways.

Mobile check-ins and deals are becoming passé. According to LBMA’s research, mobile check-ins don’t represent the only keys to location marketing. Khan reported that among their survey respondents, “only about one-third care about and use check-ins, while approximately one-third don’t understand them, and around one-third don’t use check-ins.”

Khan also claimed that until now, “deals have been a major focus and have driven interest in location marketing.” However, he said many brands are pushing back as they’ve realized deals have created more benefits for location-based providers and less value for brands. Instead, Khan believes location marketing should be more closely connected to brands’ own loyalty programs.

Location marketing happens everywhere. As Khan observed, “location means wherever people are.” He referred to the Shazam app, originally created for discovering music. It’s now been expanded and during the Super Bowl, users were also able to listen to TV commercials.

To highlight the global nature of location marketing, Khan cited StarHub, a music download service from Singapore. Their “musical fitting rooms” combine music, fashion, and RFID (radio frequency identification) technology by tagging chips to retail clothing in selected stores. Depending what clothing styles customers try on, different music genres play in the dressing rooms.

Location-based storytelling will catch on. Using locations is another creative way to make a story come to life, according to Khan. For example, on the Wanderlust Stories platform, writers create stories that are only revealed when users are in specific locations with the mobile app.

Before KLM’s recent introduction of selecting airline seats based on social media profiles, KLM Surprise (video above) campaign provided passengers with customized gifts when they checked in with Foursquare at the gate.

Gamification concepts apply to location. Gaming is a good fit with location, either for games played in person or those involving virtual goods, Khan said. For example, The Boston Globe’s Treks allowed mobile users to cover Boston while participating in a scavenger hunt. And Angry Birds has been signing up retailers for its Magic Places. When Angry Birds users enter stores such as Barnes & Noble they can unlock new game characters.

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