3 Untypical Ways Brands Use Geographic Personalization


We know about the conventional ways of geotargeting – directing customers to localized e-stores, showing the right language, currency and shipping options, serving the right catalog for a given zip code, etc. But what about the quirky and creative ways brands target different locations?

Watching the weather

Budweiser’s Ice Cold Index serves temperature-dependent discounts through its mobile app in Dublin, Ireland. Combined with a pub finder for over 2500 participating watering holes, brand fans can cash in when the mercury rises – up to a ‘free’ brew.


Speaking of beer, Walmart knows it’s the top-selling item pre-hurricane (followed by strawberry Pop Tarts, which spike 7 times their normal sales volume, and you know, flashlights and disaster supplies…)


So leading up to any hurricane, Walmart ensures its local stores are well-stocked with these essentials.

But Walmart could go further, and integrate this with digital – personalizing Web, mobile web and apps with geo-targeted messaging to affected areas, offering coupons or click-to-collect services to ensure customers can get their hands on them before they sell out. These same messages could be location-targeted through social networks like Twitter and Facebook, and of course email and text message marketing.

Consumer’s mindsets and behavior can also shift due to the weather. When I worked at a retail shoe store, if we experienced a few cold and wet days in August (which is not uncommon in Vancouver, British Columbia), full-priced fall stock flew off the shelves, only to slow down again once the sun returned. Online, home page and email merchandising of clearance summer stock could be swapped for new fall stock and vice-versa depending on the local weather, and the content geotargeted by a zip code’s weather.

Health monitoring

Clorox monitors Twitter chatter, looking for complaints of runny noses, coughs, aches, pains and other signs of a local flu outbreak, then alerts stores to stock up on disinfecting wipes and other related products, and locally adapt their marketing and advertising campaigns. This targeted tactic helped Clorox boost quarterly earnings by 17%.

Kimberly-Clark performs similar analysis using Google search trends data by city, with a sales increase of 40%.

Responding to disaster

Western Union understands its value proposition when disaster strikes – anywhere in the world. After the flooding in Manila earlier this year, US residents sending money to the Philippines were offered a no-fee coupon for transfers to the country.


Telephony services could also offer similar discounts and offers for voice calls to family and friends in disaster zones.

Honorable mentions – current events

Okay, so these aren’t geolocated – but they’re too cool not to mention. Oreo’s response to the Super Bowl blackout and Ben and Jerry’s answer to Colorado’s marijuana laws had nationwide appeal.


How creative will you get with personalization?

Reprinted by permission.

About the author: Linda Bustos

As Director of Ecommerce Research at Elastic Path, Linda Bustos works with some of the world’s largest companies to help improve conversion rates and profitability on the Web. In addition to writing the Get Elastic blog since 2007, Linda’s articles have appeared in Mobile Marketer, CMO Magazine, E-Marketing + Commerce, and Search Marketing Standard. She is a frequent speaker at industry events, including XCommerce, Conversion Conference, and Affiliate Management Days.

In 2010, Linda earned a spot on the DMNews Top 30 Direct Marketers Under 30 list. She has served as faculty for the Banff New Media Institute’s Career Accelerator Program and Marketing Profs University, and has appeared as one of the Top 100 Influential Marketers of the year in 2008 and 2009. Prior to joining Elastic Path, Linda worked agency-side, specializing in usability and SEO.

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