Paul Hanrahan
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How can cultural organisations put geolocational marketing to best use?



It is a bit of a marketing buzzword at the moment and a lot of the latest technology trends come with a hefty price tag attached. But new hyper-local targeting tools could be a bit different.

Also referred to as proximity marketing, we’ve looked at this as a marketing strategy in the past. But this application goes above and beyond direct sales messages. From GPS-powered augmented reality games like Pokémon Go, to beacons and push notifications triggered by a user’s physical location, with a little planning and imagination, there are endless possibilities for this technology to be applied to either marketing or creative practice.

Read on for some inspiration on how to connect with your audience right where you want them.

Beyond direct sales

With 2.7 billion smartphones expected to be in use around the world by 2019, connecting with people on their most-used devices is becoming more and more of a priority. The potential to deliver personalised messages and experiences to users, when they are in a particular place at a particular time, is already significant and growing.

Geolocation marketing is the perfect tool to make the most of this trend. It enables you to create campaigns that are restricted to people in your target area – no more wasted spend marketing to people who aren’t actually anywhere near your theatre, museum or event. Instead you can direct more of your budget towards people who are genuinely in a position to become a participant, visitor or audience member.

We’ve spotted a recent example in action in the form of an Edinburgh podcast.

Echoes of the City

Designed to support a city with an already-thriving cultural scene, the podcast from Miriam Johnson is entitled, ‘Echoes of the City’. It’s backed by Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust and The Bridge Awards.

Visitors will need to download the Podwalk app, but upon doing so they receive a secret map on their phones, designed to take them beyond the typical tourist spots to discover the hidden gems of Scotland’s capital from a fresh perspective.

As the user explores the city, the voices of several writers and poets are triggered to play automatically. They will hear inspirational information and beautiful words at one of 15 city locations, each equipped with its own poem or story which plays as the user approaches.

A very personal message

Geolocation technology means that the end user him or herself is the one to trigger delivery of a message through their own action. Simply involving the user in the exchange of information and delivering it through their device in this way, make the final message more meaningful and personal when it’s received.

In an era in which it’s becoming increasingly difficult to cut through the noise and really connect with your audience – existing or new – this kind of experimental and personalised approach to engagement is more effective than ever.

For cultural organisations, your inherent creativity is a huge asset when it comes to developing new campaigns or material like this. If you can personalise the delivery as well as the creation stage, you could well be on to offering something of genuine value to the right people, at the right time and in the right place.

Main image credit: Point by Suzi (CC BY-NC 2.0)