By Asina Pornwasin
Location-based technology, one of the key marketing weapons in the digital era, is taking a step forward to merge with social-networking and mobility applications under the concept of SoLoMo, short for social-local-mobile.
Krating Poonpol, Quipster developer and founder of the software startup Mobilitz in Silicon Valley, told Nforum - a digital and technology trend forum hosted by The Nation last Saturday at Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn Bangkok - that locationbased technology has become a part of contextual marketing. This form of marketing relies on gathering information on consumers to find out who they are, where they are, what they are doing and what they are likely to do next.
"All these data are now still located in silo databases of service providers included social networks, as well as locationbased and mobile service providers such as Facebook, Foursquare and mobilephone operators," said Krating.
Contextual marketing is an online marketing model that uses an approach called behavioural targeting to serve relevant advertising to people based on their demonstrated interests.
Krating said marketers are currently at the stage of using locationbased technology with mobile technology, or LoMo.
The new trend will be SoLoMo, he said.
Data that results from a convergence of social, local, and mobile platforms (SoLoMo) is to have the most benefit for marketers.
Dhanis Boonam, social and digital marketing manager at Sansiri PLC, said the firm now uses locationbased technology for customer relationship management (CRM) purposes.
"Now, Sansiri is expanding market coverage nationwide. Therefore, locationbased technology is becoming important for the company's marketing and loyalty programme.
In the past, we have developed a paperbased privilege manual for customers, but now we digitise them and let customers access them via an easytouse method, by just using a locationbased technology - Foursquare's checkin," said Dhanis.
Similarly, Pratthana Leelapanang, vice president for wireless business marketing at Advanced Info Service (AIS), said the firm is not only developing locationbased service for its corporate customers, but it is also developing locationbased service to cater directly to individual customers.
"We provide locationbased service to facilitate customers' access to our privileges easily, anywhere. In particular, we can offer the relevant privileges for customers where they are located," said Pratthana.
Locationbased technology alone does not offer the most benefit and cannot utilise the most information for monetisation.
It is able to do things at a particular time to serve CRM and for loyalty purposes.
"The killer 'use case' and cool formfactors are the key driving factors for locationbased services. This market is huge, but it is also very challenging and very tough," said Krating.
(In software, a "use case" is a list of steps, typically defining interactions between a role and a system, to achieve a goal.)
Sakorn Thavisin, assistant vice president for Marketing at Central Pattana said the company recently launched a locationbased service called iButterfly as a marketing and advertising service for shoppers who visit its 18 shopping centres throughout the country.
In the next three months, Central will launch an indoor locationbased service to allow shoppers to visualise shopping areas of all floors throughout the shopping centres.
Locationbased technology is playing a role as a marketing gimmick, but in future - once other factors are in place, including a higher smartphone penetration rate, stable mobile coverage throughout the country, cool applications and appropriate customer behaviour - it will become a key part of the whole SoLoMo marketing field.