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The Power of Location-Based Offers and Relevance

  |  February 17, 2014   |  Comments

Marketers are starting to take advantage of information available to them and instead of doing blanket vanilla marketing for everyone, they are starting to tell more relevant stories based on what they know about their audience.

Recently I was on a trip to one of our offices and stayed at the W Hotel in Hollywood, California. If you have stayed there or visited, you know the area has all sorts of arts, a strong night scene in and around the hotel (and general area), and is surrounded by the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the sidewalk showing "stars" from all generations.

The W itself describes the area as the following:

You can find our chic boutique W Hollywood hotel at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine, under the shadow of the iconic Hollywood sign. Take a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame located outside our front door.

Shine like a star at our W Hotel in Hollywood, where you take center stage. Indulge in fabulous Hollywood restaurants at Delphine, then take the lift upstairs and splash around in our rooftop pool, WET. Soak up the celebrity scene and then wind down in the comfort of our wow-worthy luxury rooms.

This area works hard to attract a certain type of client. And a certain type of client is attracted to and goes out in this area. To be clear, I am out of the demo (I think), but a more normal hotel was sold out.

Upon arriving I noticed the entire area was packed, the hotel bar was full, and there were all sorts of people meeting up, having drinks, and heading out. As I was checking in I opened up my Uber app (town car service on demand) to get a receipt and was surprised to see the following promotion and offer.


While I didn't immediately call three friends to jump in and head to Vegas for the night, I found it really interesting for a few reasons. Let's break down why this may be an interesting targeting story/idea:

  1. Familiar Experience: For those who haven't used Uber to request a black car for a ride, you can choose between the type of car you want (at the bottom of the screen shot). Normally you have three choices (uberX, Black Car, and SUV), but in this case they add "Vegas" as the fourth! They have my credit card and they are willing to make it easy and get things rolling. It has a strong call to action in a smart and easy way.
  2. Location-Based Awareness (Hotel/Bar): My assumption is that they aren't spamming this out to everyone on Uber (I have tried to recreate it and haven't been able to so far). Based on the clientele, the people the hotel, bar, nightlife, theaters, and general area attracts, they know what type of people this offer would be of interest to. I was of course looking to just crash and prep for morning meetings, but many of those people in the lobby as well as bars, restaurants, and venues around the area are local and may very well jump on this. 
  3. Timing of Offer: As you can see in the screenshot, I was served this at 10:38 p.m. They could be time-basing this to when people are finishing dinner, have had a few drinks, and hanging out with friends. They could be making the offer with that in mind to get people interested.
  4. Friends/Group: Wow, how many people are just going to drop $1,200 and head off to Vegas? Oh wait, they make it easy for me to split this with three friends at only $300...So they make that easier to consider and bring the price point down for any single person.
  5. Hashtag: They include the hashtag #VegasOnDemand, which is clever, shareable, and could get people talking about this amongst friends.
  6. Specific Offer: They are making an offer about what people get - a ride in a nice car (we know you are already a fan of Uber and may know I have used it 10-plus times this month) and a room at a great hotel in Vegas that matches the style, flow, and vibe of the area in where they are promoting it. They may very well promote a hotel with a golf course or for an older audience, depending on which parts of LA people are in. And then of course showing the offer to an "exclusive" nightclub is the final thing based again on the audience in the area.

My hopes are that all of this is very intentional and that depending on what part of town, what time, what Uber knows about me - all of those things determined what offer I got. It is exciting to me that marketers may be starting to take advantage of the information available to them and instead of doing blanket vanilla marketing for everyone that they are starting to tell more relevant stories based on what they know about their audience.

All of the things outlined above are smart and possible. My fear is that it may not be as intentional or targeted as I am hoping. But in my opinion, this is where it is going.

Marketers would be wise to think about what Uber and The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas are doing here (or appear to be doing) and think about how they can think differently about how they are marketing, targeting, and tailoring messages, offers, etc. that are much more relevant to their target audience.

I personally am looking forward to the time when these types of offers are targeted (intentionally) to what excites, motivates, and matters to me. What other examples have you seen where location may play an important role in key offerings? Please share them in the comments.

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Jason Burby

As President of the Americas at POSSIBLE, Jason is responsible for leading the long-term stability and growth of the region. With more than 20 years experience in digital strategy, he is a long-time advocate of using data to inform digital strategies to help clients attract, convert, and retain customers. Jason supports POSSIBLE's clients and employees in driving new engagements and delivering great work that works. He is the co-author of Actionable Web Analytics: Using Data to Make Smart Business Decisions.

Follow him on Twitter @JasonBurby.

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