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With Smartphone Geolocation and Trust, Local Beats Long Distance

smartphone-map-listing-The-Rhoads-GroupHere is one place mom and pops may have an advantage over major corporations – mobile tracking.

That is at least the case according to recent research that gauges how consumers use multiple media channels to connect with business. The research report, by advertising and media agency YP (formerly AT&T Interactive and AT&T Advertising Solutions), shows that overall, nine out of 10 consumers said they “almost always” have their mobile devices with them, and 61 percent permit mobile apps to access their location at least some of the time.

This represents a sharp difference in how consumers felt about geolocation just one year ago. According to a 2012 survey of 2,000 consumers conducted by LoyaltyOne, only 15 percent of the respondents said they would be willing to share their exact location via smartphone, even to a company they trusted. At the same time, 27 percent said they approved of retailers sending them offers via smartphone when near that merchant.

The disparity in these responses may come down to context – specifically, emotional attachments to neighborhoods and businesses. This is where the mom and pops come in. For instance, 37 percent of the respondents of the YP study said they would share their social media profile with a local restaurant, but only 27 percent would share it with a credit card company. The restaurant, being local, has more of a “face” than does the credit card company.

Which means it comes down to trust, a central finding of our own study, as well.

But all organizations have the wherewithal to level the field. Regardless of the technology, the key factor determining the consumer’s willingness to share personal information is the perceived value he or she will realize in return. The onus is on the company to use the information appropriately, with the purpose of delivering that enhanced experience. It doesn’t matter if the company is a national financial institution, a local pizza parlor or a channel marketer in the business-to-business space – the expectation will be the same.

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