In an increasingly competitive market where success and consumer loyalty is becoming more and more complex, the only way for consumer brands to survive is by having unique insights that help their product and marketing break the clutter consistently. This is big game for technology companies too, companies such as ourselves who do their best the best, most accurate, most deep consumer insights to help shape sound consumer and brand connections.
Hundreds of companies around the world work in the realms of location data. Buying and selling of such data has become a viable business model and this has happened really quickly, in just about two years! While this does showcase the potential of this tool, this rapid growth has had some negative impact on the industry too. Here’s the reason. Location intelligence as a marketing tool is in a fairly nascent stage. The growth has been so rapid that as an industry, we have not been able to set the standards for transparency and ethics. So far, the narrative among competing location intelligence companies has by and large been “we are better than you”. While that might be good for business in the short run, it may not be great for the longevity and credibility of the industry as a whole.
The simple reason to elevate the discourse around location intelligence is that brands already know why it works for marketing. But as the industry evolves and the novelty of the technology wears out, brands will take longer, harder looks at their investment in location intelligence. They will want to know not just the contributions location intelligence can make to marketing and consumer loyalty but also where these insights come from and why they must be trusted. Our job, as consultants and trusted partners, needs to be to simplify transparency and tools of location intelligence for our brand clientele. It is a mutual win-win proposition and the only way to move our industry forward.
That being said, our own efforts can only do so much if brands don’t demand transparency from their partners. And they might not doing it right now but the time will be here soon. Pointed questions about quality and source of data are on the anvil. They will want to know the ethics, logistics, and trustworthiness of their location intelligence partners. They will want to know whether the data they are depending on for success comes from GPS, beacons, or elsewhere. They will want to know whether one source of data is better than the other, in this case SDK, which provides the sharpest insights and beacons that work well for elevated attribution models. Brands will need to be handheld and consulted through the entire process of data collection to application instead of loading them with a data dump and letting them fend for themselves.
Industry standards will also help raise the credibility of our industry. As of now, every location intelligence company has its own set of checks and balances in place to verify accuracy and credibility of data. There is no real way to differentiate a truly ethical partner from a fly-by-night one. Industry standards will raise our accountability, sure. But it will also showcase our seriousness to help our client brands succeed beyond the financial transactions we have with them.
We have had it easy so far. An insight hungry consumer brand landscape ensured that brands accommodated us in their scheme of things. But it is our job, as trusted consultants, to ensure that brands understand not only the benefits of location data but also the limitations of certain data sources and qualities. Because sooner than later, brands will see for themselves that not all data is created equal. And as soon as that happens, their trust in our industry will start to diminish. At the most transactional level, this is going to be terrible for our business too.
After all, as gurus of location technology, we have the power in hands to ensure the longevity of our industry and the success of our client brands. Only if we can use this knowledge to navigate the industry in the right direction can we call ourselves trusted partners. LifeSight is taking this charge. We are here for a long, long run.