As a digital marketing concept, geotargeting is not cutting edge. But for industries pairing technological advancement with a deep understanding of customer experience, its possibilities are.
For years, retail brands have leveraged location services to serve offers to their customers’ mobile devices. Now, geotargeting is evolving past the well-established “fence a store, make an offer” use case.
Today, some of the most innovative uses of location services are happening in the insurance industry. Mobiquity’s VP of Strategy and Analytics, Brian Levine, recently sat down with Nick Patrick, co-founder and CEO of Radar, a leading geofencing service provider, to discuss the fundamentals of location services and the opportunities they can create for forward-thinking companies.
With geotargeting, could you give us a little bit of a lay of the land? I think there are a lot of words people hear, like geofencing and geotargeting - can you explain what they are and what the differences are?
Yeah absolutely. A geofence, at the end of the day, is a virtual boundary around the physical location. I think a lot of people think about geofencing as something you only do on smartphones, in the background.
The classic geofencing use case is that you put a boundary around a store and send users an offer when they're in or near that store, but the reality is, you can geofence any variety of things. It can be a store, but it could also be a state or a country. It could be someone's home. In the context of insurance, it could be an auto repair shop or a flood zone.
Geotargeting refers to targeting content based on a geofence. Maybe if you are in an auto repair shop geofence, you see a specific message for specific content. So, geofencing and geotargeting are different, but certainly related.
New Use Cases
The idea of targeting products to customers when and where they need them can apply to those who provide a service as well. In those cases, the higher the stakes, the greater the value.
Imagine someone’s on vacation and a pipe bursts in their home, causing the basement to flood. The longer it takes to discover the issue, the greater the damage.
As smart home technology grows and more digital services and products work together seamlessly, insurance companies are uniquely positioned to become an even better, faster, more impactful partner moving forward.
We've talked about understanding opportunities (geofencing) a car dealership, and making it easier for customers to add a car to their policy.
By the way, adding a car to your policy is the number one item that people call into the call centers about.
Oh, absolutely. I just bought a vehicle a couple months ago and I kind of had to hunt for the 1-800 number and it would have been nice to just say, “oh, you're at this Ford dealership, push a button and you’re done.”
You know, accessing claims in a repair shop, understanding if you're far away from home, maybe that means you're on a road trip. You could want to access different resources for things like roadside assistance, being able to get a really accurate location to make it easier for somebody to find you.
I also think some stuff you might think of as background location that needs always-on permissions can be done with foreground permissions as well. I'm sure everybody's used navigation on Google maps or Apple maps, and if you have an iPhone will see that kind of flashing blue indicator at the top of the screen, you can have your navigation running when the app is backgrounded.
That's true of any user location. So, you can imagine a situation where, even if I haven't granted always-on permissions, there could be a call to action when I go on a road trip to tap, “hey I'm on a trip.” Even with permission to show that flashing blue bar to track users' trip, collect really accurate location data, and be very clear to the end user what's happening, you know, tap a button when it's done. It’s continuous location tracking, but you need permission that the user is explicitly starting and stopping it. We're seeing a lot more of that as well.
That brings up two interesting opportunities. One, I'm just curious because you brought up drive-through. We work with some insurers that have drive-through claims, obviously not for a big accident, but things that you want to take care of quickly. I definitely see the value in it. They know when you’re close, get to work right away, get you in and out, which is the whole appeal.
The other thing is what you just said - smart home, in terms of insurers, is picking up. The Holy Grail has been that, if the customer is away and something happens at the home, like a water monitor triggers because at their house, there was a flood or something along those lines, the ability to kind of come in, do a repair, help the customer, and, you know, to have access and know the customers isn’t home or is traveling or something seems seems valuable too.
Yeah absolutely. I mean I have a home security camera with an auto arm or disarm function. You turn the security camera on when you leave, turn it off when you come back.
So, again, you could have, as part of the onboarding process, punch in your home address, turn that into a geofence and build all sorts of interesting product service data experiences around that as well.
The name of the insurance game is risk mitigation, and location services can certainly help in that space.
Next week, Brian and Nick will discuss how Mobiquity and Radar can partner to improve insurance offerings in the digital space to pull in new customers and increase brand loyalty.
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