We have all received the advertisements that seem to know when we drive by a particular restaurant or shopping center. It turns out, they do.

Advertisers have found ways to track the location of active users, called location-based marketing, and use it to directly target prospective customers. Two of the most popular forms of location-based marketing are geo-targeting, which sends tailored messages in a particular geographical area, and geo-fencing, which sets a virtual perimeter around the business or other specific area and markets to clients in the vicinity.

Fast food restaurants such as Wendy’s and Taco Casa and chain retail stores like Whole Foods, Charlotte Russe, and Barney’s New York have been the biggest users of this technique, but utilization is quickly spreading over multiple business sectors. Brands including Coca Cola, Elle magazine, Dr. Pepper, and Memorial Healthcare System have each been recognized for remarkable location-based campaigns. Through location techniques, users can receive discounts, additional product information, or even exclusive offers when they opt into the program.

With technology comes opportunity.

Geo-fencing uses virtual parameters to connect with close clients, which is a helpful tool to use for the prospective client. As real estate buyers drive by your office, they can receive a message of your office’s listings that meet their requirements. Then, as they drive by the property, geo-targeted messages can be set
to send information about specific properties, including additional listing information, localized data, school district and community information, and even pricing and scheduling information. Agents also have the ability to send details like exclusive photos, open house dates, and even sales history.

In an environment where customers are accustomed to receiving detailed information immediately, this type of marketing helps communicate as much information as possible about the exact location in question.

It’s a slippery slope.

This type of marketing should be used sparingly and with great care. There are no current analytic strategies to offer insight on client opinion. Therefore, location-based marketing must be well planned. Each message needs to be concisely written to keep clients from getting annoyed or irritated at the content
or sheer volume of advertisements.

Location-based marketing is an exciting new way to deliver your information when used correctly. But advertiser beware: This new marketing tool can be both intrusive and annoying if not well thought out and invited by the client.