Should you put a gate in your geofence?

Hi, anyone who happens to read this. Scott here. First, that headline was totally bogus and meant to get you to read some more. Sometimes things just need to be addressed. So, here we are, addressing them. This may be the first of one or the first of many. You never know!

We were inspired to act and write this post by a note from one of our awesome Partners. I believe in the note, it said “word of the day: geo-fencing.” That wasn’t even a word a few years ago! Ahh, the world of digital marketing.

The gist of geo-fencing is pretty easy. Through either the use of tiny wizards in your phone, or the concept of trilateration (where satellites 12,000 miles above the earth ping your phone at the speed of light and your phone picks up a signal from at least three of them and knows how long it took to arrive)… we know exactly where you are. Cool, huh?

Since we know that cool things are important, we should use them… Or so goes the thinking. One of the many, many people smarter than me in the world figured out that when we KNOW where someone is, and they’re in a place where we want them to be (like close to our stores!) we can send them our own, special message. Ah-mazing. It’s like the digital version of seeing someone drive past your store and opening the door and yelling “hey, come back, I have a deal for you!”

Is it cool? Yes. But effective? I’m not so sure.

I can juggle. It’s actually kinda cool, for a minute or two. But that doesn’t mean I have ever juggled in one of our stores. See, the point isn’t to do something because it CAN be done, but only to do something because it causes something to be done that we WANT to be done. In this case, we want to make people come into our stores.

If someone is a mile away at the drive-thru of Starburn’s Coffee getting a $12 cup of “feel good about myself” with a drizzle of “now I feel better about paying this much” on top, we can send them an ad on their phone. Now, if that reprogrammed their self-driving car and made them come to our store, then it would be a fabulous tool. But, alas, it doesn’t. Little caffeinated-Katie is doing her life. She has plans. Next comes getting her nails done. Then she has to go do homework or maybe Katie has kids and its time for the carpool line. And as crazy as this may sound, she might not even scroll her feed while she drives and she might miss our ad.

The point is, yes, we can deliver ads to people within a “geofenced” area. In fact, we’ve done it. We did it over 2 years ago. It was exciting. And it was totally ineffective. Turns out, getting an unexpected ad to completely change the course of your day, no matter how much free time you may have and how incredible it might seem to get $5 off a purchase of used clothing, it doesn’t really get you to change your day. Bummer.

Geo-fencing is cool. Bread-and-butter, core marketing programs like Google Search and Display and Remarketing, Facebook ads and Instagram ads are cool AND effective.

If you want someone to do cool marketing things for you because they CAN be done and you’re willing to pay them to do it, they are out there for you. If you want someone to advocate for you and to help you judiciously and strategically allocate your budget, we can do that.

Thanks for reading.


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