All Interactive Youth Marketing Will Soon Be Location-Based

With endless talk about check-ins and mayorships it is easy to get swept away by the mystique of location-based marketing and for good reason. That famous anecdote about reaching an unsuspecting consumer with the very right offer as they stroll by a storefront is hard to ignore. The fact is, though, that mass adoption is still a bit away. But fire up Foursquare now because before we know it, all interactive marketing will be location-based.

Here are five reasons why and what is means for you...

  • Desktops are dead. A recent Student Monitor study found that only 2% of college students are planning on purchasing desktops (down from 7% in '04). The writing is on the wall: young people are going solely mobile with their computing. In short order, all computing devices will all have one thing in common: GPS integration. All digital marketing will soon have the ability to leverage game-changing geo-data.
  • Smartphone adoption will hit critical mass. Most marketers are shocked to learn that despite the industry mystique with iPhone apps, only 12% of all consumers under 24 actually even own an iPhone, according to a recent eMarketer study and less than a third own any type of smartphone. That is all about to change; Nielsen is predicting that half of all U.S. cell phone users will own a smartphone by the end of 2011. We are betting that far more of those under 24 will own one.
  • Privacy is not nearly as important for most teens as the media portrays it. Although studies will point you to both sides of this issue, most teens will tell you that they value staying connected and social far more than they do privacy. The fact is, when prompted to share their locations most teens will indeed opt-in at a disproportionate rate, fueling the location revolution exponentially.
  • Most young people are single. Make no mistake, the same core driver of Facebook will drive the growth of location-based services: hooking up. Teens and college students are drooling at the ability to let that special someone know exactly where they are and track those they are prowling for. Case in point, a recent Forrester study showed that 80% of Foursquare users are males, likely on the hunt!
  • Mobile data costs are decreasing by upwards of 25% every year. This is a major inhibitor of smartphone growth as many parents currently don't want to bear the costs of data access on top of traditional calling plans. Once data costs become a no-brainer, the current demand will quickly convert to market penetration.



What this all means is that soon all interactive marketing will be location-based. With rampant smartphone adoption, a market dying to share its location with the world, and the overwhelming desire to "hook up," brands will be deluged with a real-time treasure trove of location information that will forever change the way we market.

Here are ways you can start preparing, right now:

  • Create integration points of loyalty and rewards systems. Game mechanics are seeping into nearly every aspect of our lives. Consumers will grow to expect rewards (both intrinsic and monetary) for not only shopping but actually visiting your location whether it is an actual store or a display within a big-box retailer.
  • Get ready to be hyper-local with your messaging. A consumer's location will leapfrog to the top data point of behavioral targeting efforts. Brands will need to be equipped to get hyper-local with their messaging based on not only geographic information (L.A. vs. N.Y.) but place-based data (coffee shop vs. office vs. mall), equating to far more customization in creative content. The integration of open-graph data will make these data even more powerful.
  • Get "mobile social" ... fast. Due to the lack of smartphone penetration among teens, mobile social is still in the dark ages, but the meteoric rise of social networking activities combined with accelerated smartphone adoption will force brands to enter this new space. The role of social media will soon evolve to connecting people physically rather than just virtually. Brands should be front and center in the facilitation of real-world connections.

The world is about to get a whole lot smaller for digital marketers. Geo-targeting will continue to birth a new wave of technologies, experts, and devices built to deliver relevant information based on where you are, not just who you are. Brands can prepare by adopting a new framework for how it will serve the expectations of consumers and it should be no surprise that the youth market will once again be at the forefront of this revolution.

4 comments about "All Interactive Youth Marketing Will Soon Be Location-Based ".
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  1. Byron Wolt from Speak to Students, August 5, 2010 at 11:25 a.m.

    Excellent article! I still come back to the ultimate in interactive location based marketing is in school based.

    In schools, we know where youth are, when they are there, what they are doing there, the demographics of students and their families who are there and so much more. When done correctly, speaking in schools allows companies to give back to youth and schools in the communities they want/need to reach while making the connections that can have benefits today and in the future.

  2. christopher sherman, August 5, 2010 at 11:45 a.m.

    You obviously "get it". I have to say I agree with your analysis. So much so that we are hosting the Location Based Marketing Summit Sept. 29-30 in NYC. Let me know if you want to get involved. Details here:

  3. Jeff Bach from Quietwater Media, August 5, 2010 at 2:55 p.m.

    Matt I find your premise interesting but vague. Kind of a positively-oriented FUD thing. Also, as a parent of a 15 yo and a 13 yo, I'm close to the demographic you write about and that is the main place I find this premise incomplete.

    #1 - based on close daily observation of a large group of normal teens (mainly girls), I see little potential for lbm. They crave communication, but in a very insensitive narrowly focused way (imo). They want their friends in a 2-way conversation, but the devices, the location, and the infrastructure are unnoticed. I see lots of the social and not much at all of the media.

    #2 - None of them have money, and most parents are not giving it to them. Maybe I live in an exceptional place, but I do consider this fairly normal behavior by both kids and parents. Of course, older teens tend to have jobs more often and so will have more money, so there is something there, but it is not in the 13-15 yo range. A demographic with questionable purchasing power at best imo.

    #3 - In my mind, location-based services are an add-on from the service provider. When the time comes to signup or find a new provider, the extra xx dollars/month to have gps enabled on a phone is going to be a struggle, just like the xx dollars/month to get a data plan for a smart device is still a struggle for many to justify. Plenty of people use an ipod touch and wireless and then have a plain old cell phone for talking. Or they do so because AT&T coverage in their area is putrid (that would be me).

    "SOME iym will SOMEDAY be location-based", seems much more believable than the original headline.

    At the end of the day though, change is happening and the mobile world does seem to be where it is occurring! Still hard to read the tea leaves though......

    @Byron Holt - in the schools my kids go to, cell phone use during the day is strongly discouraged. This is looking to be trending stronger this year.

  4. Matt Britton from Mr. Youth LLC, August 5, 2010 at 4:19 p.m.


    Thanks for your note and your observations, but not sure they are really relevant to my piece. Let me address them one by one:

    * I wholeheartedly disagree with your comment on locations, devices, and infrastructure being unnoticed. Teens are astutely aware of their choices when it comes to a wireless carrier (Verizon, Sprint), device type (Droid, iPhone), and data plans and over-index in the usage of data related wireless services when it is in use. Their demand for mobile social access largely fuels this awareness and interest.

    * It is irrelevant in the context of my article if teens have money or not. Although teens do yield billions in discretionary spending power many brands target them primarily because critical point of market entry for so many categories. They are the consumers of tomorrow and building equity at an early stage always pays off.

    * To the contrary both 3G and 4G networks are generally GPS compatible as is. The GPS option is enabled at the device level (rather than the carrier level). With the rising smartphone adoption and shrinking data plan costs you will undoubtedly see major growth in GPS-enabled location services.

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