Social. Local. Mobile. These are the sweeping trends in marketing today and for the foreseeable future. In terms of media consumption, they've come to dominate consumer attention. In terms of targeting and communication, they've opened dynamic new channels. In terms of data and measurement, they are nothing short of revolutionary. And in terms of technology, they are disrupting entire industries. While each is a powerful force unto itself, the focus of The SoLoMo Manifesto is on their nexus.
This new publication from MomentFeed, a location-based marketing platform for the enterprise, is available as a free download. In the following, I'd like to highlight one of its central premises: The Anatomy of a Place.
As the above graphic shows, a real-world place such as a restaurant or retailer has several physical layers. Its latitude and longitude is the most permanent and fundamental aspect. This represents the earth upon which it stands. The brand that occupies the place is more fleeting yet equally important to defining it. The brand is how we know a place. The lat/long or geocode is how computers know a place, and this is where the virtual world comes into play.
Most every place of business has hundreds of digital counterparts. These are references to a place that exist in so many different databases. They are utilized by Web and mobile applications... applications such as Google Places, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare to enable some form of consumer engagement. These engagements range from searches and phone calls to check-ins, reviews, photos, tips, and coupon redemptions. As such, these digital places become vital conduits between consumers and real-world commerce. This is why they matter so much to brands.
Each digital place contains a host of data including its address, business category, description, hours of operation, and branding. Central to this data is the geocode. With navigation systems, geocodes can have a substantial margin of error. Which is to say, if you're driving to a place, the geocode only needs to be accurate enough to get you there. It could be at the street level or parking lot. When it comes to engaging with places on mobile, however, geocodes need to be pinpoint accurate.
When a user of Foursquare or Facebook attempts to check-in, for example, the app returns the closest places based on their respective geocodes and the phone's current location. This is essentially a search function, the results for which depend on data integrity. This means the geocode for a place must be as close as possible to where the consumer is standing when they wish to engage. If it's an indoor location, this would be the doorway, as it's the last place a device would have had a GPS signal. If a geocode is off by as little as 20 meters, it compromises the search results creating unnecessary friction and undermining engagement.
If brands wish for consumers to engage at the point of sale (the most valuable type of social engagement), their locations must be optimized for engagement in the same way websites are optimized for search. A brand's venues on Facebook, Foursquare, and other social platforms have become key consumer touch points. This is how SoLoMo consumers are experiencing and engaging with brands in the real world. It's imperative, then, that these venues are treated as brand assets, where the details and brand experiences are accurate, comprehensive, and consistent. This is the first step in any SoLoMo strategy.
The SoLoMo Manifesto is available as a free download.