Leveraging Location Data to Build Market Share

A man stands at a corner, spinning a sign advertising a new restaurant to passersby. Across the street, a lamp is plastered with signs hawking piano lessons, a clothing sale, consulting services.

There’s a reason why location-based marketing remains a go-to tool for business growth: 9 in 10 marketers said location-based ads increased sales and engagement. Today, the evolution of location-based marketing is much more sophisticated, with GPS, smartphones, Wi-Fi, and ongoing advancements revolutionizing how businesses reach their target market.

Properly leveraging geo-location data can arm companies with hyper-personalized campaigns based on where their audiences visit and live. A successful location-based marketing strategy can:

  • Radically increase traffic
  • Boost response rates
  • Increase customer engagement
  • Gain significant market share
  • Improve ROI on ad spend

As personalized marketing increases with AI, and brands face increasing competition to cut through the clutter and reach their audiences, location-based marketing can lend companies a distinct edge in reaching audiences and boosting growth.

The ABCs of Location Targeting

There are several primary terms within location-targeting, each offering a specific approach to reaching and converting an audience.


Geofencing involves creating borders around specific regions (a virtual “fence”), and anyone who enters those regions and is browsing online or using an app will be served an ad. Time can also be used as a trigger to deliver a display ad if someone stays within an area for a specific period. This is one of the most popular forms of location-based marketing. For example, Sephora uses geofencing to trigger display ads and app notifications when people pass through the perimeter, reminding them of unspent gift card balances or recommending products.


Geotargeting focuses on people who meet a certain criteria within a location. You could target women who live in Seattle, rather than someone who passes through the geofence of a Seattle-based store. Specific location-based knowledge can also give marketers insights into real-time events, like weather. For example, when it rains, a food delivery service can notify users about free delivery, tapping into their need for dinner without stepping into the storm.


Geoconquesting is a form of geofencing that allows you to target customers who have recently entered the geofence around a competitor.

In 2018, Burger King launched the “Whopper Detour” campaign to increase downloads of their app. When people passed within 600 feet of a McDonald’s, they would receive a mobile app notification offering a Whopper for one cent if they ordered through the app, followed by clear directions to the nearest Burger King. The campaign resulted in more than 1.5 million downloads of the Burger King app. At CMA, we typically help our clients serve display ads, rather than notifications, when geoconquesting.

Geoconquesting is often underutilized and can be a clever tactic to reach new audiences. But it can also be an unwelcome one. Opting for geoconquesting requires a thorough understanding of consumer behavior and ensuring your offering speaks to their needs, so they’re primed to learn about you, rather than feel annoyed.


Beacons are physical GPS devices placed in specific locations to detect when a person’s device (usually a smartphone) enters that area, allowing for even greater personalization.

Audience Marketplaces

These are platforms that give marketers access to audiences based on key characteristics and behavior. These are easy for marketers to use but don’t allow for much customization beyond basic demographics.

Location-Based Marketing Software

Software providers allow marketers and companies to target audiences with hyper-specific levels of customization, like knowing what stores people visited and when.

The Businesses That Benefit Most from Location-Based Marketing

Like every tool, location-based marketing isn’t a cut-and-paste for every business. It’s best suited for:

Businesses with physical footprints

Businesses with physical footprints, like retail stores, restaurants, and car dealerships, stand to gain the most from location-based marketing. They can target individuals that pass by and increase foot traffic. It’s well-suited for businesses with multiple occasions.

Businesses without physical footprints

A solid location-based marketing strategy can focus not on who’s near you but who isn’t. E-commerce companies can employ data about customers visiting their physical competitors to target them. Those customers are already interested in similar products — all that’s required is a strong brand and value proposition to win them over.

Live events

Events like trade shows, sports games, or other gatherings can reach attendees in real-time. Companies can tailor their promotional messages based on someone’s attendance, and the event organizer can send out updates or personalized content to increase engagement and provide a more customized experience.


Tourism organizations can identify people who have traveled to similar, competing destinations to encourage them to visit their location next.

Location-Based Marketing Challenges

Location-based marketing can be an incredibly powerful tool — but harnessing it requires the right data and the right strategy.

Without proper utilization, it faces challenges, including:

Poor Data

Incorrect data can impede location-based efforts by wasting valuable media spend without reaching the proper audience. Verification firm Location Sciences found that 65% of media spending was spent on poor or misdirected targeting.

Data Usage

Customers know that convenience often comes at the price of our data — if you’re going to use someone’s data, it needs to feel like you’re adding value to their day, not distraction. When targeting new customers, ensure that the message feels unique to them and their problems. The right content ensures that you’re not just breaking through the noise but offering a desired benefit (ideally, that no one else is able to offer). Otherwise, your message becomes an intrusion, risking loyalty and positive sentiment. 

Location Targeting at Work: College Enrollment & Supply Chain Conferences

From CMA’s past client successes, we have leveraged Foursquare audience location data to find qualified college enrollees based on who had visited SAT test center locations, and to engage conference attendees for the supply chain and logistics industry. Historical location-based behavioral geotargeting and real-time location-based geofencing remain powerful solutions for location-based marketing campaigns.

Ready to implement location-based marketing and accelerate your outreach? Connect with CMA today to discover opportunities for your brand’s location-based marketing.