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December 16, 2016

All marketers understand the value of knowing not only who is buying their products, but also when consumers are making purchases and how their foot traffic stacks up against the competition. But have you ever considered leveraging data from other businesses, or even other industries, to hone your location-based marketing strategy? Unless you're in the biz, you probably wouldn't give a second thought to year-end car shopping trends, but they stand to enlighten more than just the people selling cars. Nearly all consumers start their research online, so connecting the dots between the device and the dealership is more important than ever.

Location-Based Insights From Related Industries
Waze data shows that Friday tends to be the busiest day for visiting car dealerships, with 8 a.m. being the busiest time. We also know that customers tend to wait for holiday deals to make their purchases once they've done their research. Those who work in automotive sales probably already know this, but other retailers may want to make note of it, too.

How Can Retailers Use These Insights?
One obvious way is to think about whether your customer bases overlap. If a company—like Anthropologie or Urban Outfitters—caters to a more urban crowd (who, in most cases, will be less likely to be in the market for a vehicle), this type of data is going to be less helpful. But retailers that appeal to a broader-based, moderate-to-upscale audience can tap into these dealerships' insights and piggyback on the promotions the auto industry is deploying. Tactics can range from OOH advertising on a bus stop or billboard near a dealership to a more modern approach like running targeted ad campaigns through location-based apps that people are likely to use in their cars, such as Waze.

Using a business analyst tool that offers location-driven market insights, you can get access to demographic and consumer spending information. In theory, this would allow a company like Lululemon, which has significantly fewer stores than a chain like Starbucks, to look at the coffee shop's traffic data. In this case, Lululemon might use that data to target consumers during their most active times of day on the weekends, versus the obvious morning rush, to optimize their location-based advertising efforts.

Stress Test Your Insights
One word of caution in taking this "trend data drafting" approach: give some thought to what another industry or retailer's traffic might represent. We know the seasonality data coincides with dealership incentive programs and, thus, auto purchases. But it's a good idea to approach data trends with a critical eye. For example, because many dealerships earn a lot of their revenue from their service business (oil changes and tune-ups), there is a strong likelihood that people visiting at 8 a.m. aren't buying a new car, but are dropping their current one off for service . . . and if someone is dropping a car off for service, they are probably hoping to get in and out as fast as possible and aren't thinking about other wrap-around shopping opportunities.

As this holiday season approaches, it makes sense to think about how to use location-based data to drive more efficient advertising and marketing. Just be careful to read the tea leaves correctly.

≥≥ Need a Shortcut?
1. Pay attention to trends (such as year-end car shopping trends) in location-based data outside your industry. There are valuable insights your competitors might not know about.
2. Consider using a business analyst tool to discover location-driven market insights from retailers in other industries.
3. When you're evaluating data, make sure you're digging deeply enough so you come to the right conclusions.
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