How Important Is Location Data To Integrated Marketing Metrics?

One-third of marketing execs surveyed by PlaceIQ and 451 Research rank location-based audiences as the "most compelling factor" for integrated marketing, says Duncan McCall.

Location data has become ingrained in the targeting and analyzing of consumers across all marketing channels, powering everything from advertising to customer relationship management.

But putting the right price on that location data is much more complex than simply realizing “it’s important” for all brands, agencies, and the platforms that serve them.

Geo-data specialist PlaceIQ and marketing consultancy 451 Research offer their own attempt to quantify and qualify the value of location insights in a survey of 200 “multi-channel marketers” operating in North America. The report, State of Integrated Marketing 2017: Mapping the Journey to Success, covers categories including automotive, consumer goods, restaurant, retail, and travel “with differing ad budgets and mixes of online and offline sales.”

“Location-based data has definitely graduated into the mainstream, out of necessity for marketers to adapt to the new face of the mobile consumer,” PlaceIQ CEO Duncan McCall tells GeoMarketing. “Today, marketers must operate in a world where consumers have more channels for interaction than ever before, across both the digital and physical domain.”

In McCall’s view, location data has found its way into the mainstream because of the power and versatility of both the targeting and also insights it provides.

“What started out strictly as a mobile advertising enabler has evolved to offer a truly omnichannel activation solution, and from an insights perspective inform not only completely new forms of measurement, but also create a powerful new type of analytics that can inform business decisions across an organization,” McCall says.

“Even industry giants like Facebook and Google are taking notice, and making significant investments in this space, which has been a very positive development for the market and ecosystem,” he concludes.

Among the topline findings of the report:

  • Almost half (47 percent) of marketers say developing a unified cross-channel customer experience was one of their top three priorities this year.
  • 37 percent of marketers cite the ability to accurately measure cross-channel results as the most pivotal factor for successful integrated marketing.
  • 45 percent of marketers ranked online customer engagement as a goal for their offline campaigns
  • 81 percent rank it as the first or second most important element
  • One-third say location-based audiences are the most compelling new factor in integrated marketing

Even as location data’s importance becomes ever-more crucial to marketers, is there anything PlaceIQ and the industry is/should be doing to address the perennial issue of inaccuracy and imprecision?

“At a high-level, there still needs to be education about the topic,” McCall says. “One of the more immediate needs is for the industry to put more parameters around the definition of things like ‘visits’ and ‘audiences,’ which can be measured in completely different, legitimate ways. We support the mission of the MRC and other industry organizations that are creating a level playing field.

“We support full transparency in location data and continue to help educate on the topic of inaccuracy as well,” McCall adds, noting that PlaceIQ — in addition to other industry players — is trying to do its part. “Our last whitepaper on the topic included an independent assessment of the current state of accuracy.”