Geospatial and Marketing Gimmicks

Many popular news sites, such as the Telegraph, have picked up the story of Nestle UK’s  campaign that embeds GPS trackers in candy bars, comparing it to the Golden Ticket from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Using geospatial technologies as part of a marketing campaign has been around as long as the technologies themselves.

In 2006, The Charlotte County Visitor’s Bureau used a geocaching campaign to start a word of mouth marketing campaign by reaching over 3,000 geocachers, according to an article in the Herald Tribune.  A 2011 article in The Drum: Modern Marketing & Media, cites a Google study that found mapping and geospatial technology were one of the fastest growing types of marketing and were a major part of marketing strategy. Many marketing and public relations firms such as Blast Companies are using GPS enabled target marketing to reach customers. Specialized companies such as GoldRun focus on geospatial technologies such as GPS-linked and augmented reality environments. Popular types of geospatial campaigns include social media, QR codes, geocaching, and GPS-tracking.

 Using geospatial technologies in promotional campaigns hasn’t been without its hurdles. According to the Google study, like in many industries it has been difficult to introduce GIS and geospatial technologies for marketing and analysis because it requires a lot of work and a different mind set about how things are done. NetworkWorld raised questions about the security implications of GPS campaigns, while several other trade journals were skeptical about the effectiveness of the campaign. Only time (and sales numbers) will show how effective the Nestle UK campaign will be and determine if there will be an increase in GPS marketing campaigns in the future.




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