How two companies are getting location-based marketing right

In the times when traditional media was the only way to reach consumers, advertising messages were sent out to large audiences with limited targeting methods. However, with the rise of digital media marketers now have the opportunity to use powerful targeting options to reach the right audience based on demographics, interests, and behaviours as well as tailor their messages according to the target audience needs.

Nevertheless, mobile devices are the invention that probably has had the biggest impact on marketing so far. With online channels, marketers were still limited to where the message was delivered (i.e. while the person was online at work or home). On the other hand, with mobile devices’ ability to pinpoint a user’s whereabouts, marketers can now deliver timely, location-specific marketing messages to consumers who are in specific areas where those messages would be more effective.

Perhaps you may think that knowing where consumers are, does not necessarily tell marketers who they are and what they buy. Although, when location-based information is used in combination with other data, marketers can create one-to-one marketing messages to target the right person, at the right place and time.

This week’s academic reading If you love something, let it go mobile, suggests the “Four I’s” (integrate, individualise, involve and initiate) to create successful campaigns for the space-time forms of mobile social media.

I believe that the “Four I’s” concept can actually be applied to any digital initiative. In the following paragraphs, I will talk about two successful examples of two different companies that used timely, location-specific marketing messages as part of their mobile initiatives and how those initiatives comply with the “Four I’s” logic.

My first example is Pantene. In 2013, this shampoo brand was facing a lot of competition, and therefore, a decline in sales. P&G needed to get their Pantene products back into women showers, so together with a marketing agency, they came up with the “Pantene’s weather program”. This campaign consisted in presenting Pantene’s products as solutions for women to every kind of weather. Since P&G knew the first thing the target audience did in the morning was checking the weather on the Weather Channel’s app, the company teamed up with Weather Channel to leverage Weather Channel’s mobile presence.

As a result, when consumers checked the forecast on their phones, Pantene delivered a “haircast” based on the local weather with the right Pantene solution as well as indications on where to buy those products nearby. The following is a video about Pantene’s mobile marketing campaign.


In relation to Kaplan’s reading, this example clearly falls into the “Four I’s” categories.

First, this campaign was integrated into users daily life as women check the weather on the Weather Channel’s app on a daily basis.Second, it was individualised because it took into account users preferences to make the advertising messages relevant (the campaign was targeted at women who were proactive in investing in their physical appearance). Third, it generated involvement. Pantene contacted female meteorologists and sent them weather preparedness kits to encourage them to start conversations on social media with the #haircast hashtag resulting in twice more media engagement than previous Pantene programs. Finally, it initiated the creation of user-generated content through social media conversations via Twitter, with an average of 370,655 organic impressions for #haircast per month.

My second example is about Societe de transport de Montreal (STM). Even though this example is not particularly about a mobile social media campaign, my point here is to show how this company successfully implemented a mobile marketing strategy using location-based data along with real-time analytics.

STM developed an interactive mobile app to reach consumers on the go, give them information about their trip, and send them retail, restaurant or entertainment offers based on their location. This was possible due to information collected from the Opus card (the transit card on which customers charge STM trip fares) and personal preferences entered by users when they downloaded the app. The following is a video about STM’s mobile initiative.


Relating STM’s example to Kaplan’s reading, it can be seen that it still complies with the “Four I’s” logic. This mobile strategy is integrated into user’s daily life and individualised as messages are sent to customers during their daily commute and tailored according to their demographics and personal preferences. Finally, it generates involvement and initiation as the app has driven high consumer engagement and word of mouth across different social media platforms. Since this strategy was implemented, the number of STM riders has increased and the click-through of the app is four-times greater than industry averages.

In conclusion, when done right, mobile marketing opens up invaluable opportunities to reach consumers on the go. Likewise, location-based messages make marketing communications more relevant and timely, key characteristics to cut through the marketing communications clutter and generate consumer engagement.


3 thoughts on “How two companies are getting location-based marketing right

  1. Nice article Catalina, I thought it was really interesting that the Pantene weather campaign got more consumer engagement than other campaigns they’ve put forward. It really goes to show that mobile devices have redefined the access companies have to reach an audience with the use of the Four I’s of mobile social media. It’s fascinating how companies can integrate themselves into our everyday lives. I think you’re right that mobile marketing has opened up a whole new range of opportunities to reach consumers on the go – but with that, if we’re always accessible now, do you think there will be too much clutter of advertisements and being targeted at all angles? Or do you think companies are getting smarter and actually tailoring their marketing to consumers who actually want it more so, therefor maybe there will be less clutter because we’ll only be targeted by things that genuinely interest us as an individual.


    1. Hi Paris, thank you for your comments and reading. Well, I think clutter is already one of the main challenges for marketers in mobile advertising. For instance, if you think about how many apps are out there, only last year there were 1.5 million at the Apple App store. So despite all the opportunities that mobile devices have opened up, marketers are still struggling to make their messages stand out. However, as it happens with every channel, some companies are smarter in the way they do their marketing campaigns, and hence, they have managed to cut through the clutter. The Pantene’s case is a good example. They implemented a very clever campaign that far from being perceived as intrusive advertising, was well-targeted, timely, highly relevant and well-integrated into every day women lives. I think though, that when this becomes the norm and companies become better in targeting consumers wth things that genuinely interest them, this will not be a guarantee of success anymore. I think marketing will continue to evolve as new technologies come along and we will see new features that will enable even better marketing methods.


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