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An introduction to Hyperlocalisation

Brian Robinson
Brian Robinson
Managing Director UK
6 min read
27 April 2016

Until relatively recently, you were more likely to hear the term ‘hyperlocal’ in reference to your local neighbourhood blog than in a marketing meeting. Such sites offer news about a highly specific area, like The New York Times’ East Village blog, but what if rather than just offering ads alongside hyperlocal content, you could push relevant content to a specific customer, on a specific device, at a specific time and location? This is the basic premise of hyperlocalisation in digital marketing.

As investor Russell Buckley noted in The Guardian, a convergence of technologies such as iBeacons and ubiquitous Wi-Fi are enabling marketers to use digital tools and data to market directly to individuals in real time.

Potential uses of these techniques range from interactive apps at the art gallery, to targeted ads in-store, to impeccably timed special offers. For example, Spotify generated strong results when it used ads in airport coffee shops to target consumers looking for last-minute travel entertainment, and Microsoft saw an 89% incremental increase in in-store visits following its deployment of hyperlocal mobile ads to promote the opening of a new retail location.

Hyperlocalisation vs. personalisation

So isn’t this just personalisation? Well, yes and no.

Personalisation is about using data to improve the customer experience, remember and make use of preferences, and provide users with content relevant to them in order to build long-term trust and loyalty.

Hyperlocal marketing, in addition to the broader benefits of personalisation, focuses on absolute precision, and targeting users when they are out in the real world.

Hyperlocal builds on data from known users, making use of IoT, Wi-Fi and iBeacons to pinpoint an individual user’s location and prompt them through offers, reminders, or other content via push notifications/messaging.

Hyperlocal seeks to motivate customers to engage or purchase in the local region, with the goal of having your brand become part of a user’s mental map. In turn, data gleaned from hyperlocal engagements and conversions can then be fed back into further personalisation and analytics.

On the scale of personalisation, hyperlocal is deep and focused. For instance audience segmentation of email subscribers is a form of personalisation, but it is based on only a few behaviours and data points. At another point on the spectrum, a successful hyperlocal capability means combining this kind of data analytics with exact location and contextual information.

As mobile grows, search engine providers (especially Google), look to make the information they provide ever more local. As consumers’ demand for greater levels of personalisation increases, the emerging trend of hyperlocal looks set to continue.

What does hyperlocal hold for the future?

The sky is the limit, provided marketers can be subtle enough in their use of these methods. Best practice and results optimisation have yet to be established, and marketers will have to be careful that their use of hyperlocal does not become overwhelming or an annoyance. This is where, as across other areas too, context will be key. As Buckley writes in his article “using location to understand context is a much more subtle game than it might appear on first examination and advertisers need to be careful exploring.

A very interesting recent blog from Econsultancy identifies the confluence of a number of trends, including personalisation, automation, hyperlocal, the dominance of messenger apps and the rise of chatbots, and wonders whether 2016 will see the arrival of ‘conversational marketing’.

While conversation as marketing is hardly new, the technology that digital can now use to deploy it is powerful and far-reaching. We are already seeing concierge and personal assistant apps developing quickly, and messenger apps are actively adding commerce.

As artificial intelligence and automation accelerate, we will no doubt see more opportunities for transactions, more data and more content – all of which will need to be well-managed and underpinned by a robust technical infrastructure if your company is to benefit.

What about B2B?

Much of what we think about when considering hyperlocalisation and personalisation more generally fits neatly in the B2C arena. B2B companies often struggle to replicate the successful implementation of these methods.

Think of say, Netflix, with its many data points and frequent analysis, which allows it to always be updating the user experience and delivering great content. How can B2B follow this example and bring in all of the emerging ideas we have been considering here too?

As ever, the most important factor is to plan ahead and be prepared to take advantage of new trends and technologies. Do you have a clear, flexible digital strategy in place? Is your platform robust enough to manage the necessary amounts of data and content?

More personalisation means more content, with its associated creation, management, organisation and publishing. A best-of-breed CMS such as Sitecore can give you built in context marketing capabilities, allowing you to create and test multiple user journeys and integrate with apps.

Consider how the developing technologies and trends might be put to use in your business. For instance, if you are a manufacturing company:

  • Could you use hyperlocal messaging to provide real time production information to key clients?
  • Could you use hyperlocalisation to market differently in highly specific geographic areas, or to target the accounts you really want to win at conferences and events?
  • Could you push useful information directly to attendees’ devices at sales meetings?
  • If you sell through third-party retail stores, could you work with them to provide an app to help them find, attract and convert your customers at the local level?

The possibilities of personalisation and hyperlocalisation are vast, but will only bring benefit if implemented as part of a robust digital roadmap.

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Managing Director UK

Brian Robinson