Archive for category Marketing

Estimating the value in Personal Location Data

Location-based services have popped up everywhere over the past few years. Most of us can look back to the first views of Earth from above with Google Earth (grainy, patchy images that our dial up connection struggled with) and laugh a little. Now, LBS is everywhere.

We think LBS is interesting, obviously. But I was flicking through the McKinsey ‘big data’ report and saw this.

What the…?  How did McKinsey get to this number?

Turns out, McKinsey used their super brains and super computers to ‘look at the value chain of location-based applications‘. They looked at the amount of data generation and the potential value created.

  • amount of data generated across regions, user behaviour, and frequency of use.
  • the value chain of LBS. How do individual consumers use and benefit from LBS? How do enterprises or governments benefit?

McKinsey themselves say that their estimation is conservative, and it could well be more. But if you think about the process of using a personal navigation device, you’ll immediately see the value of time saving, fuel consumption reduction.

Other types of LBS like check-in services (Facebook Places, Foursquare etc), local information sourcing tools (LocalMind, Neer), and community noticeboards and news sites (EveryBlock etc) also add value and decrease costs in many ways. One of those is increased marketing relevancy. We can (and have) discuss the balance of personal data privacy vs openness, but the fact remains that as people become more permissive about what they will share openly, we marketers have more opportunities to communicate more effectively, meaning more ££ spent in the right place, less wastage, and better results.  And that’s something we can all get behind.


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New Cars are like Local Marketing

When you buy a car, suddenly you start noticing all the other cars that are the same as yours, so much so that you’re convinced that there are more than there were before.

The transition between marketing ‘generally’ and then marketing ‘locally’ is similar. When you’re working in an agency that specialises in Local Marketing, suddenly you wonder how you missed all the stuff going on in the Local Marketing space. It’s so fundamentally obvious that in the battle for relevancy, proximity matters.  Everywhere you look, people are talking about local – and not just as an intangible theory, but as an actual ‘thing’.

An actual ‘thing’, you say?

A highlight of the series of Maroon Peugeot 307s is the launch of a new US hyper-local industry trade publication StreetFight a few days ago. They’ve positioned the service as a collection of everything that’s happening in the hyper-local space, including vouchering, check in services, and local news sites. Then there’s the super-massive hyper-local news service based in the US run by Arianna Huffington. EveryBlock (US) and StickyBoard (UK) community noticeboards have redesigned and launched respectively. Talk about Local‘s community efforts are ongoing and the Big Society ideas continue to generate meaningful conversation. These are just a few of the bigger things that are going on, but community activities and new ways to use technology to help communities engage are popping up every day. So too are hyper-local, hyper-relevant marketing opportunities.

People continue to have debates about the definition of the words hyper-local, localisation, local marketing… whatever we end up calling it in the history books, we’re part of a shift.  The UK’s take on local is a little different to the US’s as pointed out wonderfully by Joni Ayn Alexander, but the main point is the same. It’s a thing.

A thing with big agencies predicting daft numbers like 42.5 billion dollars by 2015.

You can’t even escape it in the pub! This poster for Venue Magazine (the local Bristol/Bath magazine that’s recently been under fire but lives to fight another day) was up in the Portcullis.

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Google tests new results page with more prominent 'local' results

Ever the experimenter, Google are testing new results pages where local natural listings and maps feature far more prominently than ever before.

With local now storming up the agenda across the search sector, large national and international brands need to strategically plan and support their local networks like never before.

Read a full write-up of the pilot pages here, at Mike Blumenthal’s excellent “Understanding Google Maps and Local Search” blog. (Details of the discovery were provided to Mike by Linda Buquet of Catalyst eMarketing).

Click the image below to see an actual size version.

1 Comment Hyperlocal Directory

This site ( has launched a Hyperlocal website directory.

the openlylocal logo -

the openlylocal logo -

You will find it here:

It’s small, but growing and it’s raison d’etre can be found here (

It’s safe assume that there will soon be hyper local sites for all communities. All shapes, sizes and political persuasion – some commercial, some not.

Is there one near you?

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Search, Maps, Hyperlocal – merging

This one’s a short summary

This one’s a longer, fuller explanation

We can see that Google is starting to drag reviews of local businesses in from non-traditional review sources. Hyperlocal sites and blogs are now supplementing review based sites’ (e.g. Qype) content and actual reviews.

This means:

  1. you don’t have to be flaming (or praising) a company in Google Maps for it to show up there (surely only time before live Twitter feeds show to? With sentiment scores?)
  2. off hand comments regarding dealers/retailers will get more directly effective publication right in the Places page

Local social is picking up. Hyperlocal is gaining a new audience. Search is the route in. As I said. Merging.

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Google Adwords – Even more local now

Announced yesterday, Google are rolling out the capability to add a company’s full address to the bottom of their PPC activity. Two things are required:

  1. an entry in the Local Business Centre (i.e. your business in Google Maps)
  2. a specified link between your Adwords account and the business’s listing (which is done in the Adwords control panel)

You can see an example

The new bit being an address line beneath the URL. This is an example taken back in December when Google was playing about with it, so it may appear differently when fully implemented and then differently again in the UK. Google will show this data when they can determine a link between the user and the location. Which means that local searching, local customers and local businesses will be more obvious than ever before.

The facility isn’t available to all accounts yet (Google trickles these thing to stop there being a rush) so more news when I’ve managed to have a go myself.

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What do local customers do once they've found you online?

Here’s a nice quote from last year’s TMP/comScore study:

Following online local searches, consumers most often contact a business over the telephone (39%), visit the business in-person (32%) or contact the business online (12%).

Is your network prepared to make the most of these interactions? And I don’t mean picking up a ringing phone or saying ‘hello’ when someone walks in. Are they prepared to greet a customer as someone that has already interacted with your brand? Someone that has pre-armed themselves with good product or service knowledge? Someone that is likely to quote from your website?

If your sales network is not fully briefed on the content and message in your website, how can they be expected to interact effectively with your customers?

Set them a test, a competition, invest in training or an information portal to get them up to speed. Use SMS to get hold of the sales guys that live on the phone not by a PC. You’re working hard to get the customer to the store, help them to work hard to keep them there.

You can read more about the TMP/comScore study here:

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Local searchers are getting picky.

As these recent figures from Hitwise in the US suggest, searchers are using more and more keywords in their searches to help determine their search results before they appear.

What does this mean for local marketers?
Well, it is increasingly important to ensure the correct keywords and locations are used in web content, landing pages, press releases. And also that you explore the long tail of your PPC search campaigns to ensure you are picking up on the smaller number of searchers that are closer to knowing what they want. The guys at the bottom of the Sales funnel, that are about to pick up the phone and talk to you.

What should I do about it?
Next time you brief copywriting, ensure you include the words that your target audience are using are included in the brief to be used in the copy. Want to know what people are searching on? Use this tool.

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