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Location-based targeting can drive away consumers: Digiday Mobile keynote

September 22, 2011

NEW YORK – A keynote speaker at Digiday Mobile said companies using location-based data to target specific ads may lose consumer trust and drive them away.

During the Digiday Mobile Apps keynote presentation, the speaker discussed how the Apple’s iPhone changed the mobile space. The keynote also addressed location-based technology and how it effects brands and consumers day-to-day.

“Consumers are using localization to find good deals,” said Brian X. Chen, San Francisco-based author of Always On: How the iPhone unlocked the Anything, Anytime, Anywhere Future – and Locked Us In. “What doesn’t work is being creepy.

“Don’t be creepy,” he said. “The reason I bring this up is that one day I was driving using Pandora and they showed me this one day deal on yogurt in San Francisco.

“How do they know that I’m in San Francisco.? It creeped me out and when you creep people out you lose their trust and drive them away.”

All about personalization
In addition to the iPhone changing everything, the device has also changed the way that consumers can communicate and the way we consume and work.

According to Mr. Chen, the iPhone changed the education, police and medicine industry.

“With education there are some educators that are realizing the touch screen of the iPad and iPhone is so intuitive that even a child can pick it up and learn something in seconds,” Mr. Chen said.

“And what some educators are thinking is what can we do with the devices in the classroom,” he said. “How can I use it as a learning tool?

“Students don’t go home and read textbooks all day – they’re using Google on the Internet.”

In addition to many educators currently using tablets and other mobile devices in the classroom, mobile presents a big opportunity and can help students grow.

“The potential of mobile here is huge,” Mr. Chen said. “People embrace it as a learning tool.”

Mobile police
Mobile has also changed the way that police consume information. Mobile is helping police officers do their job in a more streamlined process.

“Police deal with pretty serious equipment and they have to deal with this entire process where they have to book a suspect, drive them to a station and go through all these tests,” Mr. Chen said.

“Now the process is streamlined,” he said.

Mr. Chen said that the iPhone is also helping the medical field.

“Mobile helps collect information,” Mr. Chen said. “You’re getting real-time health monitoring.

“I can even know what’s wrong with me and not go to the doctor anymore,” he said.

Mobile advancements
Although mobile has advanced, Mr. Chen believes that there is still room for growth.

For example, many companies are testing augmented reality in several of their campaigns.

However, the technology is not quite there yet, per Mr. Chen.

“Augmented reality is something that a lot of people are experimenting with right now,” Mr. Chen said. “It’s still immature.

“Not many people are using augmented reality,” he said. “I don’t think it’s there yet.

Additionally, Mr. Chen said that QR codes do not make sense.

“There are QR codes that when you take a picture, they send you a coupon,” Mr. Chen said. “Why not just email them the coupon?”

Final Take
Rimma Kats is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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