Everything New is…Old Again?

Everything New is…Old Again?

I was chatting with two senior Industry Analysts this week, sharing what Gravy does and getting insights from them on their clients’ needs and on where they think the location-based space is in its evolution. What I heard in return and the advice I received was at the same time, compelling and a bit humbling.

The advice these analysts give their brand clients when assessing the use of any new data-driven solution is:

“Think holistically, and start foundationally. Like any new technology-enabled application (relatively-recent social context, the desktop cookie before that and even email before that), the utility of contextual location must be rooted in the incremental and fundamental value it adds to customer data, and the insights derived from them. Without it, ‘shiny ball’ use cases, like location-based ad campaigns off of 3rd party data, may provide short-term value but add little to a brand’s strategic marketing assets and depth of customer intelligence.”

Why did I find this compelling?

Well, similar to brands and publishers, it’s easy for technology marketers like myself to get caught up in the “cool factor” of what our solutions offer–in our case: push marketing; foot traffic attribution; competitive traffic insights; mobile audience onboarding; and more. While these capabilities are certainly powerful and valuable, the analysts were right. The true and sustainable value we create is the incremental insights into what our clients’ customers want, need, and care about, which they can’t get anywhere else.

It was humbling, yet affirming that these respected analysts agreed that location-derived insights, and our own local events and activities-based “psychographic context” do, in fact, add incremental value to brands’ customer data. It “legitimately adds flavor to the recipe,” along with other ingredients including demographics, purchase history, user-generated social content, and lifetime value. And from that fundamental value, all else is improved.

Perhaps we can all benefit from the sage advice of these analysts: With mobile location, don’t be distracted (or overwhelmed) by the latest ‘shiny ball.’ Start simply with a tried and true approach. Gather customer behavioral data and insights first. Learn from them along with your other customer data and then activate informed strategies…testing and measuring the newest applications, along with the old, and everything in between.