Next week at IOD we unveil a new solution for real-time individual specific campaign management.  One of the features of this is to market to people based on geo-fencing.  So first off what is geo-fencing? Well off to Wikipedia:

geo-fence is a virtualperimeter for a real-world geographic area.

A geo-fence could be dynamically generated—as in a radius around a store or point location. Or a geo-fence can be a predefined set of boundaries, like school attendance zones or neighborhood boundaries. Custom-digitized geofences are also in use.

When the location-aware device of a location-based service (LBS) user enters or exits a geo-fence, the device receives a generated notification. This notification might contain information about the location of the device. The geofence notice might be sent to a mobile telephone or an email account.

So there we go, its basically a boundary.  Its the sort of thing that applies with Facebook locations, Foursquare, natively in Twitter, directly on smartphones and a number of other ways.  These virtual geo-fences and locations provide an ability to market to consumers in different ways and provide different services (has your kid gone where they said they would, has the benefit claimant been abroad on holiday, etc) based on location.

The key point here is that both the physical location of the store and its influence boundaries are things that need to be mastered.  Mastering is about ensuring that the location is know across the globe and across the virtual world.  So from a mastering perspective you need to consider the following

  1. Where is the location (I’ve blogged on this before – Mastering Social locations)
  2. What is the geo-fence range or area for influence purposes (or security)
  3. What other areas would that location want to be informed about people going into
The second area can have multiple boundaries potentially but its the third that is possibly the most interesting, this is the ability to look at geo-fences that aren’t actually centred at your location.  So if you are selling high value goods then you might like to put a geo-fence around another high-value store to try and lure customers away.