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Location-based targeting is Brown-Forman?s bread and butter

NEW YORK ? A Brown-Forman executive at the Mobile Marketing Association?s Mobile Location Leadership Forum said that physical context is paramount to the brand?s location-targeting strategies for mobile users, as much of its product consumption is driven by occasions.

During the ?How Location Intelligence Drives Impactful Business Decisions? session, executives from Brown-Forman and Foursquare debated the merits of brands leveraging discovery platforms to reach on-the-go consumers via their personal devices. Brown-Forman, which distributes alcohol brands such as Jack Daniel?s and Southern Comfort, prefers to use mobile and location-based data to construct profiles of target consumers and deduce where they might be at any given time.

?How can we use this location data to better understand what a whiskey drinker looks like; what are they doing?? said Jason Loehr, vice president and director of global media and insights at Brown-Forman.

Fizzing up contextual experiences
Brown-Forman has been collaborating with discovery app Foursquare to target desired mobile users in locations at which they may be persuaded to enjoy one of the company?s beverages.

Mr. Loehr admitted that there is an occasion layer to most of its customers? consumption experiences; whether it be a person enjoying a glass of whiskey at a party, or individuals mixing Southern Comfort-based cocktails at a tailgate.

?There?s this race to see how much data we can get,? Mr. Loehr said. ?We?ve tried to take a step back and say ?let?s ask some really good questions? and then find that data source.?

Foursquare helps Brown-Forman determine other locations that targeted customers ? such as whiskey drinkers ? may frequent. These include assumed locations such as restaurants or speakeasies, as well as delis and dog runs, places that consumers may visit every day.

Additionally, the company is leveraging Foursquare to uncover which accounts in certain cities are most lucrative. For example, Brown-Forman discovered that four particular bars in Chicago receive more than 50 percent of its ideal customers? visits, making those eateries ideal advertising opportunities.

The Foursquare executive claimed that his company spent many years studying consumer behavior on desktop, which included the sites people visited most frequently, and the duration of their browsing sessions.

?What location, mobile and this data [are] allowing us to do is apply that to the physical world,? said Steven Rosenblatt, president of Foursquare.

It is also imperative for brand executives to push mobile strategies upward through their organizations. While some senior leaders may not understand the intricacies of this important channel, all of them understand sales and distribution, both of which are affected by mobile.

A Brown-Forman executive at the last year?s Mobile Marketing Association Forum New York also talked about how the company uses mobile to help drive patrons to the bar, reach drinking-age millennials and connect with consumers (see story).

The continued evolution
Location-based data will continue permeating new industries as mobile becomes more ubiquitous. The Foursquare executive revealed that the discovery app is beginning to see traction with Wall Street on the enterprise side, which may be surprising to some.

When McDonald?s rolled out all-day breakfast options several months ago, it experienced a significant spike in in-store foot traffic. This subsequently affected the stock value. Hedge fund managers want to be alerted of this type of news immediately, rather than a month too late.

Additionally, Chipotle is still wading through a turbulent period, after its two recent E.coli scares. Foursquare is able to detect that drop in customer traffic immediately, which is valuable to Wall Street executives.

?Data coming from our phones [and] data coming from our watches now can be applied in so many new ways that just couldn?t happen a few years ago,? Foursquare?s Mr. Rosenblatt said.

Transparency is also a key topic for marketers to keep in mind.

?For us, the data we?re collecting comes from consumer apps,? Mr. Rosenblatt said. ?In exchange for providing consumers with valuable services, they provide us with data back.

?You have to be clear that there?s an exchange, but you also have to provide something valuable to them. You?ve got to be careful about doing anything one-to-one unless they opt in to that specific thing.?