How would you modify your content if the person browsing your website were in a different country? A different state? A different city? Across the street? In your store? Would you speak to them differently? You should!
Geotargeting has been around for quite a while now in the direct marketing industry. I worked with a database marketing company to work on a proprietary index that utilized drive time and distance to rank prospects and it was incredibly successful. Businesses don’t realize how important proximity is to their daily business.
I work with clients who have neighborhood stores but get all excited that they may get voted first in a contest that covers the entire metropolitan area. Pretty cool – they’ll get exposure to a quarter of a million folks that will probably never come into their store. If they worked as hard to raise awareness of their store in a mile in each direction, it would provide a much better return on investment.
The latest version of Firefox actually provides for geolocation usage by the browser. I tested it and frankly wasn’t impressed – terrible accuracy. I wonder why they simply didn’t tap into GeoIP data. Mozilla showed that I was in Chicago when I’m actually South of Indianapolis:
Accuracy aside, this is still a step in the right direction. The iPhone’s geoaccuracy has revolutionized mobile applications. Google Latitude is showing some incredible potential as well.
This will revolutionize the web once every browser is accurately providing your location, though! It means that I can dynamically modify the information on my website depending on your location. Many folks utilize GeoIP to do this already, but free and accurate real-time access can change the playing field.
If I’m a marketing agency, I can talk about local customers in your backyard. If you’re in my backyard, I can dynamically change the content to talk about our city. If you’re in another country, I can provide regional office information. If you’re down the street from me, I can pop up a special instantly to provide you with an incentive to stop over.
It goes without saying that the next evolution of Content Management Systems must have robust dynamic content capabilities to allow customization of the content by new visitor, returning visitor, keywords, buying history, location, etc., etc. Marketers must continue to speak as clearly as possible directly to the audience, and these technologies are moving us forward.