What is Geofencing?

According to CIO.com, Geofencing is a service that triggers an action when a device enters a set location. Coupons, notifications, engagement features, security alerts – businesses are finding creative ways to make use of these virtual boundaries (1).

Geofencing has many purposes, but in the marketing world it is used to capture user information within a certain geographic location at a certain time with the intent of delivering them digital advertisements on their mobile phones and laptops. For instance, marine marketers can target the largest boat shows in the world to reach thousands of potential customers who all have one thing in common – an interest in boating!

Geofencing, or location-based marketing, has been around longer than you may think. It’s always been used in the physical marketing sense, but dramatically increased in the 90s once the internet became mainstream, with the use of IP addresses. In the 2010s, with the increased popularity of smart phones, retailers, brands, and services adjusted their strategy towards the new development in popularity of making purchases from your phone. 

Here is a brief history lesson about location-based marketing from Retailtouchpoints.com (2):

  • Pre-Internet: We had postal code and clumsy direct marketing list management.
  • Late 1990s: With Internet and the unique mapping of IP addresses marketers began digitally buckshot targeting areas the size of a postal area.
  • 2000s: With a phone in the consumer’s pocket, we could begin to target the owner and their digital behavior.
  • Late 2000s: As smart devices entered the market with GPS capability, satellite positioning allowed for geofencing.
  • In 2009, Foursquare took the mobile world by storm driving consumers into retail locations using GPS to promote loyalty services globally.
  • Early 2010s: Accuracy and indoor navigation was solved by combining smart WiFi services. Meraki and Aruba WiFi units powered better consumer targeting and engagement in browser. Cost-effective Bluetooth beacons provided the same hyperlocal (within one meter) targeting for mobile apps.
  • Mid-2015: We saw a boom in proximity marketing solutions in sports stadiums and malls.
  • In 2017, location went social. Millions of consumers held their mobile phones up to catch Pokémon Go using augmented reality to collect fantasy creatures.
  • In 2018, companies such as GEON.Network and verses.io are beginning to create new platforms combining location, augmented reality and cryptocurrency to drive engagement and network value, all on the blockchain.

With the increase in popularity of mobile phones, marketers can now use digital service providers and marketing agencies, like Marine Marketing Solutions, to harness apps, browsers and other software programs with geofencing. Our demand side platforms (DSPs) use radio frequency identification (RFID), Wi-Fi, GPS, and/or cellular data to trigger a targeted marketing action (such as a text or digital advertisement) when a mobile device enters or exits a virtual geographic boundary.  This is where we can work together to find your target audience. With Geofencing you can serve ads to your competitors place of business, to marinas in your area, or to a boat show across the world.

Learning about this form of advertising after an event has already happened? That’s ok, Marine Marketing solutions can “go back in time” and collect the audience from an event that has already happened using Geoframing. Learn more about Geoframing HERE.

  1. Sarah K. White. What is geofencing? Putting location to work (CIO.com, November 1, 2017; Link)
  2. Gary Schwartz. A Short History of Location Marketing: Retailers and the Blockchain (Retailtouchpoints.com, July 23, 2018. Link)