How EQ Works is using location data to extrapolate customer profiles

Marketing based on a person’s location is not a new phenomenon. This has been a popular tactic for about as long as the marketing profession has been around. Fifty years ago, advertisers placing an ad in the New York Times could assume that they were reaching their consumers at home, probably in the morning, as they ate their breakfasts.

Twenty years ago, as television commercials became popular, marketers were again sure that their ads were reaching consumers in their homes, likely in their living rooms. Out of home wasn’t really a “thing” with TV. After all, those TV sets weren’t changing location much, especially considering their size and clunkiness.

But as billboards and other out-of-home marketing techniques expanded in the last decade, marketers became even more specific with the location of their audiences. Over time, copy and tone were created to reflect an even more targeted location.

However, none of these scenarios actually allowed marketers to know who the consumer was. And even if they did, the large-scale nature of billboards and television commercials left very little room for customization.

Enter the world of mobile.

Over the last five years, mobile devices have completely changed the location game. Now, marketers can reach customers almost anywhere. Geo-targeting uses location coordinates to target large “fenced-in” areas. This is a good way to market to towns, cities or even entire countries. Point of interest marketing uses technology similar to that used in geo-targeting, only this aims to target specific addresses or establishments. Beacons use Bluetooth to connect to wireless devices within a certain range. Because this usually requires a specific app to be open, it is not terribly effective and does not scale well.

All of that said, just because you can reach a customer at a specific location doesn’t mean you should. Where does she live? What are her interests? What intent-based cues can we see from various data sources?

This gap in the marketing space inspired EQ to create Locus, a location-based data service that can be integrated into virtually any marketing platform. Locus uses location statistics to create unique audience behavioral segments to help marketers target more effectively by combining location data with an understanding of the potential consumer.

For example, let’s pretend that you want to reach all the elementary school teachers that work in Toronto, live in Mississauga, take the GO train and drink Starbucks. Sounds like a tall order, right? Here’s what Locus would do:

  1. Identify teachers who work in Toronto

Using an audience creation filter, Locus will identify devices at elementary school locations in Toronto. Based on the hours these devices are identified at these locations (and the knowledge that elementary school teachers are generally at school before and after students), Locus will separate teacher’s devices from those of the students.

  1. And take the GO Train to/from Mississauga

Now that we have identified the elementary school teachers, Locus will continue to listen for, identify and capture those same devices that travel along known GO train routes to and from Mississauga.

  1. And enjoy Starbucks

While noting the travel routes above, Locus will also pay attention to Starbucks locations as points of interest. When any of the above devices enter a Starbucks location, it will be noted

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. If a device identified at a Starbucks location multiple times during a short period or at off peak hours, these too can be excluded as part of the audience set.


And that’s how it’s done.

By combining advanced mobile technology with known location marketing tools, mobile location data and good old-fashioned process of elimination, we are helping enable marketers to reach their ideal audiences with surprising specificity. It’s as simple as that.

It’s important to note that while Locus captures location, it does not capture specific details about a consumer or identify them individually. Privacy attributes are always maintained and device identities are consolidated and only used at a group level.

Over the last decade, technology has evolved at a quicker rate than ever before and its not slowing down. This is just the most recent step that we’ve taken at EQ to try to stay ahead of the curve.

This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of Direct Marketing.

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