For the past 50 years, local advertising has relied on the same formula: place ads in the Yellow Pages and local media outlets (TV, radio and print), and hope for the best.
But in the past three years we have seen a significant shift in local marketing efforts. Marketers have been effectively reaching consumers through daily deals and localized online search through Google, Yelp, and others. While access to the Internet has dramatically changed how people find and purchase deals, reaching consumers through mobile devices is the obvious next step. The industry’s challenge is: who is going to bring together all necessary components that will make localized mobile marketing a mainstream success?
If you’re still in denial that mobile is going to transform localized marketing, consider this: there are 7 billion people on Earth. 5.1 billion own a cell phone, while 4.2 billion own a toothbrush, according to the Mobile Marketing Association. That said, I think we can all agree that mobile advertising is still in its infancy. Until consumers start receiving relevant mobile ads, developers and publishers will fail to monetize mobile.
The challenge lies in delivering ads that resonate with the consumer. Typically, marketers in any medium base their targeting efforts on latent intents, such as behavior and lifestyle information. Once the mobile marketer can overcome this challenge and deliver truly relevant messages, the next step is to ease the mobile purchasing process. This last point is important — getting commerce to happen on mobile devices will give merchants a huge incentive to participate in mobile marketing. Online marketing was similarly fueled, ultimately, by the ease of transacting online.
Over the past 12 months, a number of large technology companies have put together some of the components that would accelerate local marketing in mobile. The company that can check all the components off the list will achieve “pole position” and generate substantial revenue from local advertising. The critical components include:
1. A local salesforce and/or a set of relationships with local merchants
2. A distribution system for putting deals and offers in the hands of mobile consumers
3. A method for finding which offers are relevant to each consumer
4. A trusted payment mechanism that allows consumers to purchase on-the-spot in one-or-two clicks
By using mobile-location data and predictive analytics, advertisers can reach users with deals based upon where they work, live and socialize. If you live down the street from a Foot Locker and you’re in the market for new sneakers, aren’t you more likely to take advantage of the retailers 50 percent off deal? Finally, if a relevant ad is delivered and the transaction can be completed in one-or-two clicks, mobile advertising will provide what local merchants are willing to pay for – real sales results.