10 Use Cases for Geolocation in Market Research

The 2012 Where Conference on location and mobile technology is now over, but it made an impression on all who were involved.

Where else would I (and Research Access readers who watched the live stream on April 3 and 4) have seen presentations from people as diverse as these:  Jer Thorp, Data Artist in Residence at the New York TimesWill Wright, the creator of SimCity and proprietor of the Stupid Fun Club; and Josh Williams of Facebook (via the Gowalla acquisition).

It was so interesting for me from a market researcher’s perspective to see not only what’s on the cutting edge in a very cool area of technology, but to see the passion with which those involved in the world of geolocation approach their craft.  You can look forward to more of this type of interdisciplinary cross-pollination from Research Access because not only is it fun and interesting, but hopefully in some small way it provides ideas to help our industry evolve.

Not sure about geolocation and market research? Let me throw out some ideas for how it can and/or could be used (please assume all of these are with the respondent’s consent).

  1. A government agency studies commute patterns in a city by collecting geolocation pings from a sample of drivers.
  2. A city tourism board works with an access panel to ping panelists who live out of town when they show up within a defined radius of the target city.
  3. A consumer products company wants to understand how frequently a sample of shoppers visits different grocery chains and collects geolocation data instead of self-reported behavior.
  4. A small chain of restaurants recruits customers for a panel in-house using QR codes and notifies them about a new menu item taste test when they arrive near a restaurant location.
  5. An automotive company collects geolocation data from a sample of minivan-driving moms to better understand how the product is used.
  6. A bank collects geolocation data from a sample of customers in order to make decisions about where to locate ATMs and branches.
  7. A movie studio captures data on whether respondents who viewed their test movie trailer actually go and see the movie in a theater.
  8. A coffee shop chain works with an access panel to ping people who enter their shop with a special invitation to become a part of a sub-panel of that chain’s customers.
  9. A trucking company can send their drivers a survey (to be completed at a rest stop, of course!) every 10,000 miles driven.
  10. A respondent sets preferences that they only can be sent surveys when they are at home, never when they are at work, on vacation, etc.

I hope these use cases get you thinking about how geolocation can help make your market research better.



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