Two announcements show how location intelligence and proximity are entering marketing mainstream


In the past 24 hours location marketing platforms Gimbal and Swirl have announced new offerings that seek to make in-store data and proximity marketing more widely available to marketers. Together these announcements, among others, signal that location (and beacons) are moving from the realm of the IT department into the marketing department.

Gimbal announced “Gimbal Experiences,” which the company describes as “a simple yet powerful creative suite for marketers to build rich, intelligent, location-powered mobile app experiences within minutes.” Gimbal CEO Jeff Russakow told me, “This is a MarTech solution not an IT solution.”

Using a drag-and-drop interface, Gimbal Experiences integrates into marketing platforms such as Adobe Analytics, Urban Airship and Flurry. Russakow used the example of a hotel creating mobile content or notifications that, using location awareness, offer an airport greeting upon arrival, transportation recommendations and a welcome when the guest enters the hotel premises. All this comes with analytics about customer engagement and offline behavior.

Swirl announced integration with the Oracle Marketing AppCloud, which enables access to “in-store shopper behavioral data to target and personalize the digital content and messages” through the Oracle Marketing Cloud.” Swirl Marketing VP Rob Murphy said that this brings in-store consumer data to Oracle’s Marketing Cloud for the first time.

Swirl uses a variety of location tools (GPS, WiFi and beacons) to capture indoor/in-store data, which can be used for the following:

  • Deliver personalized mobile messages and content to consumers while they shop at specific locations in and around their stores
  • Gather customer feedback through digital shopper surveys delivered automatically to shoppers as they leave a retailer’s store
  • Retarget shoppers with personalized emails or online ads after they visit a physical retail store or specific department within that store
  • Measure the effectiveness of owned and paid media in driving store traffic

All of this is done by capturing advertising ID information from smartphones and matching it to other datasets and channels.

Swirl’s Murphy explained that lot of the in-store location technology rolled out over the past couple of years was experimental and controlled by developers and IT organizations. He sees his company’s announcement (and that of Gimbal) as an indication that we’ve entered a kind of “phase 2,” in which these tools and capabilities are available directly to marketers through simplified interfaces.

That in turn will will mean more adoption and more creative and compelling use cases.

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