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Engaging the mobile car shopper with GEO-Targeting

Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
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Jeff
**UPDATED - 04/29/2015**

“Phone - remind me, when I get home tonight to take out the trash"
"Hey Phone, remind me to buy a hedge clipper the next time im at or near HomeDepot."
"Hey phone, remind me to use my rewards card when im at the grocery store."

While we can debate the usefulness of Siri, Cortana or Google Now, let's focus on the geo/location technology residing on our mobile devices. Your smart phone is able to give you useful information when the timing’s right. In this example it’s arriving home and taking out the trash. In other examples it can be a coupon or offer at the time you’re shopping at a particular retailer.

In a commercial setting Location Targeting can deliver the most benefit with retailers who rely on timing to engage the customer. For large ticket retailers, such as dealers, convenience and timing of the message is key.

How valuable would it be to chat with your customer the moment they walk onto a competitor's lot? How valuable would it be to send an oil change coupon to your customer the minute they pull into a quick lube station?

What's you opinion on geo-targeting / geo-fencing within our industry?



*Click here for a more in-depth article about around geo-targeting. Read it then come back here to comment.
 

craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
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Craig
After reading the article, I have to say I think the idea is great, but the execution is debatable.
Not only do you have to have the dealership's mobile app (I think that's a serious sign of commitment for a customer), but the customers also has to allow that app to know their location. Even if they habitually allow a dealership's app to see their location, the app has to be open in order to track their location as they travel around.

I feel like on Android there may be some more options, but even then there's pretty strict control over location tracking.

I just don't see this as being a viable opportunity. If I went to a dealership and then went to dealership B and my phone said that Dealership A knows I'm there and will offer me a deal, I think that's more of a turn off than anything. People are too uptight about privacy now.
 

Billfred

Jr. Refresher
Oct 20, 2009
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Billfred
After reading the article, I have to say I think the idea is great, but the execution is debatable.
Not only do you have to have the dealership's mobile app (I think that's a serious sign of commitment for a customer), but the customers also has to allow that app to know their location. Even if they habitually allow a dealership's app to see their location, the app has to be open in order to track their location as they travel around.
On iOS, location services can run in the background for apps. (I use Moves to track my steps, and it uses this method to stay active in the background.)

However, I agree with your assessment--I know I instinctively deny location and push notification permissions unless and until I can see the upside of allowing them.
 

craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
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Craig
I'm one of those OCD guys who won't leave apps open in the background.
Unless it's Twitter or email, the app is shut right down.

I feel that there are just too many ways for this to not work.

The only location based thing I've seen work a bit had to do with Foursquare and checking in resulting in a coupon. The map on Foursquare would tell people that your dealership offered a promotion for checking in when the other dealers had no promotions. Didn't cost anything other than the discount at the time - haven't seen it since.
 

ed.brooks

Sr. Refresher
Jan 15, 2010
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Ed
I can think of no better to way lose my customer's trust -
This is a horrendously BAD idea. UNLESS there has been explicit disclosure that the App was going to follow the client around, spy on them like a bad stalker, and report back to me that they were thinking about getting an oil change at some quick lube joint, maybe then it would be OK.

If you would be alright with explaining the above scenario to your customers, go right ahead, otherwise leave the spyware "on the shelf".
 
Jan 2, 2013
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nick
I can think of no better to way lose my customer's trust -
This is a horrendously BAD idea. UNLESS there has been explicit disclosure that the App was going to follow the client around, spy on them like a bad stalker, and report back to me that they were thinking about getting an oil change at some quick lube joint, maybe then it would be OK.

If you would be alright with explaining the above scenario to your customers, go right ahead, otherwise leave the spyware "on the shelf".
Very few active users of smartphones view this as "spyware". If verizon and the NSA has taught us anything, it's that privacy is an illusion in the connected world. From facebook checkins to foursquare, location data is used in most social networking in existence.

For some age groups I'm sure this would be a scary thing, but with people who have downloaded and installed a dealer app, I think it's safe to say we are talking about connected and technology engaged consumers that wouldn't view it with the same level of hostility.

This is the future of marketing. It's an inevitability. Geo located and custom consumer specific marketing reacts with consumers on a personal level that a "blitz" campaign can't. It's a scary thing for some, but in 5 years, this will be the absolute norm in my opinion.
 

ed.brooks

Sr. Refresher
Jan 15, 2010
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Ed
Very few active users of smartphones view this as "spyware". If verizon and the NSA has taught us anything, it's that privacy is an illusion in the connected world. From facebook checkins to foursquare, location data is used in most social networking in existence.

For some age groups I'm sure this would be a scary thing, but with people who have downloaded and installed a dealer app, I think it's safe to say we are talking about connected and technology engaged consumers that wouldn't view it with the same level of hostility.

This is the future of marketing. It's an inevitability. Geo located and custom consumer specific marketing reacts with consumers on a personal level that a "blitz" campaign can't. It's a scary thing for some, but in 5 years, this will be the absolute norm in my opinion.
So Nick, you'd be OK with explaining to a customer what this App does? If you wouldn't be able to face the customer in person and explain the functionality, it shouldn't be on the app. Period.
 

craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
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Craig
This is the future of marketing. It's an inevitability. Geo located and custom consumer specific marketing reacts with consumers on a personal level that a "blitz" campaign can't. It's a scary thing for some, but in 5 years, this will be the absolute norm in my opinion.
I don't think I can agree with this. Look at the reactions to Google Glass and other devices that try to do location-based marketing - it works temporarily with a small group and then it's done. I see these apps, ideas and concepts pass through SXSW every year, and they rarely survive. Maybe in 5 years it will change, but today consumers are not ready for this and I agree with Ed - it has a higher chance of offending than selling.

I would love to see more information on this original idea that sold 3 cars. How many people saw the ad?
 

craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
1,666
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Craig
So Nick, you'd be OK with explaining to a customer what this App does? If you wouldn't be able to face the customer in person and explain the functionality, it shouldn't be on the app. Period.
How does it work? Well.. uhh.. wherever you go, it tracks you. And uh.. if we notice you're at a dealership that competes with us, we alert you to.. try and get you to come back here. You know.. in case you forgot about us..
 
Jan 2, 2013
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nick
So none of you use facebook? GPS on your phone? Smart phones in general?

At the end of the day, I would have no problems telling people exactly what it does. We, like a lot of apps you use now are going to use your location to offer you better service, whether that is a coupon or letting you know we have an event in your area, if that is something you aren't comfortable with, we can turn it off in the settings, but most of our customers love having the increased level of support.

I don't think people realize which apps are doing this already. If you have google on a smartphone, it's grabbing your location. f you use any social media, it grabs your location. This app like any other can shut down location if you aren't comfortable, just like facebook foursquare or any other media app.

Even SEM that most dealers are doing are geolocated based on the address of the IP of the user, so grabbing locale on their internet devices is already happening all the time.