9 Ways B2B Companies Can Use Location Based Services

CheckinsMany marketers look at Location Based Services (LBS) as being a consumer-focused marketing tactic. Consumers check in, and in return, receive offers (sometimes), get to see what their friends are doing and can enjoy a gaming aspect by receiving badges, collecting items or other rewards.

What many marketers fail to see is the value of the data being aggregated by location based services. LBS data can allow marketers to see what their contacts are doing beyond the interaction with their brand. To date, this opportunity has been minimal at best. You may gather some of this information through focus groups, surveys or social media monitoring, but LBS offers a much more complete picture than ever before. Of courseĀ  you may need permission or user authentication to access this data, but LBS users may be willing to provide this in exchange for rewards or more personalized offers.

Once LBS becomes more ubiquitous, mining this data will allow brands to reveal insight about how clients or consumers interact with their brand, as well as their competition and other local businesses. For B2B marketers, this could open a lot of potential marketing opportunities.

1. Partnerships
If your B2B contacts are frequenting other non-competitive local businesses, it would open up opportunities for business partnerships.

2. Sponsorships and Advertising
If your B2B contacts check-in regularly at certain types of locations (entertainment venues, stores, etc.) then you may want to consider potential sponsorships or advertising opportunities with that business or venue.

3. Incentives or Rewards
Knowing what your contacts like to do will give you insight on ways you can reward them. If you see a large percentage of your contacts checking into coffee shops each morning, you may want to consider gift cards as a possible reward for an upcoming incentive program.

4. Event Marketing
Are you seeing a lot of your contacts attending certain business events? Whether it’s a local tweet-up or a major conference, this knowledge could be useful to help you plan what events you should sponsor or where you should set up your next booth.

5. Lead Generation
Identify potential new relationships. See who is checking into your business. See who checks into your competition. See who checks in to the business events that your existing contacts attend.

6. Thought Leadership
If you know your contacts’ real-life interests, you could use that information in your marketing efforts.

7. Branded Entertainment
Leave tips where your contacts go (maybe similar to what History Channel does on Foursquare). Create a trip in Gowalla (see what Whole Foods or Toms Shoes is doing) or create a society in Whrrl (check out USA Today’s society). Obviously these are more B2C focused examples, but there’s no reason a B2B focused company couldn’t take a similar approach if they know their audience well.

8. Understand the Competition
Understand how users are physically interacting with your competition, and if so, what they are doing before and after those visits. If you notice any trends, you may be able to position your brand to cut-off a potential visit before it happens.

9. Stronger Nurturing and Relationship Building
During lead nurturing, you could use LBS data to better understanding your contacts’ interests and use that to your advantage. LBS data can not only give you information to drive the relationship, but you can also use it to identify your sales reps with similar interests and partner them with the prospect.

How else do you see Location Based Services becoming more valuable for B2B brands?

Comments

  1. Torsten Herrmann says

    I recently wrote about an app for events (in german). It allows to check in at booths at a fair and offers a timeline with “tweets” on the event, which can be filtered by booth etc. It’s offered by http://www.dailyplaces.com. I personally think this is the best way of B2B LBS.

  2. says

    This is all true if they’re using location-based services to check in at businesses and conferences at enough scale to get meaningful data but as of yet that’s not happening. If one is able to add this information source as part of a broader social CRM profile for contacts, there’s no reason not to do it and the info may be incrementally valuable but it’s not particularly strategic and today there’s not not enough of a community to have a measurable impact. But I would love to see a real life example.

  3. says

    Adam,

    Great post!

    There is lot of arm twisting needs to be done to make LBS work for business or NPOs. LBS still is in infancy so brand awareness about business, event or product should be leveraged.

    We are working with NPOs and for profit businesses to increase brand awareness across social media.
    See prior case study: http://www.kicoki.com/downloads/pdf/akfwest_2010.pdf

    For example, event at a restaurant can benefit benefit for event organizer as well as restaurant. Home improvement class by hardware store sponsored by a vendor is another example where store and vendor may benefit. Here transaction opportunity is possible via reward mechanism.

    What we find when speaking with a client is claiming of venue or lack thereof.

    Torsten, check out case study.

    Aaron,
    You are correct that community is still small ~30 mil for FB, 5 mil on FSQ and <1 mil on gowalla. FB number represents number of people checking in.
    However, we have limited media for users within venue or nearby for any kind of exposure. Linking LBS with FB app or page can generate large number of exposure.

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