SoLoMo or Location Based Marketing isn’t something only to do with solo-preneurs like you and me, even if the words sound similar. SoLoMo is an acronym for social-local-mobile, the new threesome combination for highly targeted content marketing. Location-based content marketing is now the way to laser-target consumers, for all brands large and small. It’s among the hottest new trends in marketing digitally – and is a combination, so to speak, of three of the most exciting channels of digital media.
There are many interesting new Content Technologies & Trends to keep pace with, but SoLoMo has grabbed a lot of fancy even of small brands. As for the bigger brands, it has compelled even Coca Cola to abandon all print advertising in some countries, and go totally location-based in marketing mind-set and strategic approach! There are some terrific new ideas to master if you too want to try going SoLoMo, and also some great examples of brands that are doing innovative things in the location-based content marketing space. So read on to get inspired to join the bandwagon!
What is location-based content marketing? And what makes it such a hot thing to do?
According to the Digital Marketing Institute, location-based content marketing is decribed in this way:
Location-based marketing connects the online world with the real world. This is the world of physical shops and professional services where most transactions occur. This is a fast growing area in digital marketing and has come about from the convergence of Local Search, Smart Phones and Location based Social Media. The techniques help push paying customers into your store or chain of stores.”
Another great definition has been offered in the article “What Is Location-Based Marketing?” by Andrew Latham in Chron.com:
Location-based marketing is a marketing method that changes depending on where potential clients are located. Instead of treating customers as a monolithic entity, location-based marketing adapts to the particular social, cultural and personal traits of customers by making assumptions about their habits and preferences based on their location at a particular moment. Technological advances have allowed companies to know much more about their clients’ locations so they can target these clients individually.”
A third and more interesting idea of SoloMo comes from Martin Smith, IT Consultant, writing in MyCustomer.com:
It’s an approach to permission-based direct marketing that allows brands to take advantage of today’s smartphone culture to present targeted and location-aware mobile marketing and advertising content that’s optimised for social sharing.
You can think of SoLoMo as a relevance multiplier for the organisation, allowing brands to seek contextually relevant engagement with consumers – simultaneously in the digital and real world. It’s about offering a consistent and engaging experience that ties a consumer’s physical location with a digital dimension presented via mobile.”
Phew! What all this adds up to is that brand marketers have to be sharp and on the ball about where their customers are at any moment – and then be able to blur the dividing line between the digital world and the real world by using mobiles to target customers at local areas of shopping intensity.
They also have to achieve this in ways that customers find engaging and socially shareable, and the results are measurable in ROI terms! Does that sound like an awful lot of complicated marketing? It’s actually a fair bit easier than it sounds – and a lot of great examples are now available of how brands have used location-based content marketing with some aplomb!
To understand why SoLoMo is so important, think about “hot contextual information”!
Before we had this concept of SoLoMo, any business had its efforts in social, local, and mobile marketing efforts in separate silos. We thought of social media marketing campaigns, geo-centric marketing initiatives and mobile marketing as separate activities. Now, however, because of widespread adoption of smartphones and tablets the way we plan content marketing has had to change.
One basic point many of us fail to properly realize is that smartphones and tablets are more than just small-sized mini-computers. In fact, some of these devices have processing speeds and capabilities that far surpass many desktops or laptops. Small gadgets often have far greater computing power. Such advanced “smartness” of smartphones and tablets provides on-the-go consumers with numerous options and empowers them like never before.
What this means is that we, marketers, must contend with greater expectations and demands of sophisticated mobile users who, with smartphone or tablet in hand, want what they want when – and where – they want it. People are less ready to wait till they get to a computer to get the information they want. They want loads of relevant information to hand, at the moment they have the greatest need for that information.
For example, people who are close to a restaurant in a particular location, want food-relevant information right there and then, to be able to decide whether to enter that restaurant or another one two streets away. The breakout of so much mobile technology has increased the concept of “contextual relevance in content marketing”; mobile users now expect businesses to provide contextually relevant online resources that “inform, entertain, or resolve”. As one expert puts it:
To stay relevant, businesses need to get social, think local, and spend on mobile.”
To get a feel of how SoLoMo would work, imagine these few scenarios:
- A consumer considering handing over his clothes for ironing at a new laundry may get a “Why have you forgotten us?” message from his old laundry via Twitter, with a discount coupon just as he is about to enter the competitor’s doorway.
- Knowing a consumer is rummaging through a book store a local theatre may just pop two tickets at him on Facebook via his phone saying their latest movie release may be a better way to spend the evening than reading books.
- A wearable device – a shiny new Apple Watch – on a consumer’s wrist may anticipate expected pollution levels in the air for the week, monitor his breathing patterns and notice the first signs of an asthma attack, use a dataset to classify him as high risk for his genetic profile, and then from another dataset (perhaps via LinkedIn) find a specialist based on location, age and cost for him – and within seconds it may book the doctor appointment at the earliest time based on his own and his doctor’s availability.
All these are likely plays of SoLoMo.
6 other real-life examples that have set me thinking – and may do the same for you too!
Look how some brands have actually used SoLoMo to produce innovative digital-cum-real-world marketing ideas …
Nivea helps “geofence” kids for their own safety!
“Geofencing” is the new slick way of saying “keeping people within your SoLoMo range of reachability” in location-based targeting. In Brazil, Nivea have embedded a Bluetooth “proximity beacon” in magazine ads, which parents can tear out and use as a wrist-band for their kids. A smartphone app then helps alert parents by tracking how far the children are from their parents in open spaces like large parks or beaches. Nivea is now seen as caring family-nurturing brand.
Naming and shaming the care-a-damn car owners!
A Moscow newspaper has created an award-winning SoLoMo app called “Parking Douche” which lets people take pictures of poorly-parked cars in the middle of footpaths or at garage entrances. IP tracking is then used to “shame” the car-owners by displaying their car license plates on highly visible web ads and outdoor streaming social media that people in the vicinity can view and guffaw at!
Right idea, but for the wrong dogs? Ulp!!
A German pet food company called Granata Pet have developed a kiosk called the “Snack Ball Machine“, and installed it in several city parks. The Snack Ball Machines throw balls at doggies trotting past (by sensing their presence with a beacon sensor). Dogs which bring the ball back fast enough (judged by tracking the distance they travel at speed behind the ball) are deemed healthy – and a bowl of dog food is dispensed to them as a reward from the kiosk. Great idea, but I would think dogs that fail the test need to be given the healthy bowlful of snacks, don’t you?
Don’t turn a blind eye to domestic violence!
A super-sensational SoLoMo idea comes from Women’s Aid, a UK-based NGO working to end domestic violence. They have interactive ads showing a woman with a lot of bruises on her face. Using facial recognition technology to track the passers-by and how long they look at the ad, the bruises disappear one by one as more and more people watch the ad for longer time durations.
The campaign’s message is clear: ‘Don’t turn a blind eye to domestic violence!’ Awesome, isn’t it?
Proof that SoLoMo isn’t just hot air!
The companies Quirky and GE recently teamed up to develop a mobile-controlled air conditioner. They jointly ran a location-based marketing campaign that targeted Boston and New York.
Their SoLoMo campaign feeds off Poncho, a weather alert system, and sends out daily forecasts through email and text messages. When the temperature rises above 75 degrees, a special promo with a link to buy the air conditioner online pops up in the weather alerts.
Add SoloMo to customer-journey-tracking (literally!) and here’s what you get!
The Montana Bureau of Tourism and Starcom Media Vest’s Spark together have a location-based ski-travel-incentive campaign which runs mobile ads connected to tile platforms at ski resorts. Montana’s campaign actually shows a newer trend that is takes location-based marketing to a higher level.
Instead of just tracking ski-travelers at their current ski-holiday destinations, the brand marketers are also able to look at past ski-travel journeys of customers (as well as their online purchase journeys when comparison shopping for ski destinations) to recommend other future ski-travel resorts!
SoLoMo sounds like great technology with great examples … so what’s the catch?
Before you think SoLoMo is as easy as saying one, two, three, stop to check if your brand and its consumers are ready for this kind of location-based marketing. What does it really take?
According to Dennis Hartman of Demand Media, “technology adoption rate” is one of the key factors. His point of view:
One of the key factors behind the development and growth of location-based marketing is the proliferation of technology.
Specifically, growth in ownership rates for mobile computing devices such as notebooks, tablets and smartphones makes location-based marketing possible. These devices must include locating features such as phone antennas, Wi-Fi functionality and GPS chips. As more people within a company’s target consumer group use such devices more often, location-based marketing grows in feasibility and appeal.
For example, a small business that sells electronics equipment may learn from a customer survey that 90 percent of its customers have smartphones, up from 25 percent in a three-year old survey before the region had high-speed cellular service. This fact drives the use of location-based marketing going forward.”
Apart from technology-savvy customers and up-to-the-minute devices, I think you also need a degree of “permission marketing” for SoLoMo to work for your brand. All said and done, pushing beacon messages at consumers’ mobiles at specific locations is an interruptive method of marketing. Brands do need to follow the etiquette of getting permission from the recipients of such messages, for there is a latent risk of irking the consumer at unwanted places and times.
So what are your thoughts on this topic? Do share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of content-marketer solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
Other articles in our series “Content Technologies & Trends”:
- Real Truths On Artificial Intelligence For Content Marketer Solopreneurs!
- How To Craft Your Campaign For Multi-Screen Content Marketing!
- Clear Your Throat And Get Ready For The Voice-Search Revolution!
- Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality And Gains For Content Marketers!
- Are Content Marketers Ready For This New Internet Of Things?