Marketing and the World of Intelligent Locational Ads

When it comes to signs and marketing, it’s kind of a creepy new world out there because outdoor advertising has a new shadow version of itself, coming to be called location-based media. These ads are all the remotely accessible screens at gas stations, hotel lobbies, stores, and other places where people are on the go, along with the tablets and phones they carry with them.

You can now buy ads to target your leads (which are identified because they picked up a cookie while visiting your store and talking on their phone or by visiting your website), and some services will place targeted messages when and where you want them.

So instead of a billboard reaching potential customers, you can pop up a custom ad at the gas pump, followed by an ad on customers’ phones when they’re near one of your stores. That may be a creepy way to get ads in front of a prospect, but it’s actually quite effective at boosting retail sales.

Another option for business-to-business marketers is to target prospects when they’re commuting to work. Check out Vistar Media, Verve, PayPal Media Network, or Millennial Media for location-based media options, or talk to your media buyer, ad agency, or broker. Foursquare, the online reference tool for restaurants, stores, and businesses, offers a feature for advertisers in which it rewards people for visiting with a Foursquare Special.

Prospects for customized outdoor or locational advertising and e-signs are often found through retargeting — follow-up advertising based on tagging people with a small code (a cookie) when they visit a website (or their phone visits your location). Don’t worry about the technical issues — you don’t have to write the code yourself! — media firms and online one-stop shops will do this for you.

Think instead about whether you want to track people who visit your website, store, or trade show booth, and occasionally — that is, once every two or three days but not constantly, please! — send a follow-up message or reminder. After a half dozen to a dozen such retargetings, the rate of purchase is much higher than just from one visit to a website or store.

Be sure to specify (with whatever agency or media provider you use) that your retargeting ends when the customer purchases from you. The purchase adds another cookie, so you now can tell your buyers apart from prospects and not annoy the buyers with the same pre-buy ad message.

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