The marketing director at my new job was discussing the potential of using geofencing with me today and then lo and behold, the first article on my social media feed when I got home contained a link to an article on that very subject.
Geofencing can be used to track someone’s movement by where they carry their cellphone and send messages to them based on their behavior. As the article on Tao of Sports explains,
Geofencing also follows customers around for up to thirty days, which means beyond the initial purchasing period, it can also showcase whether the fan receiving the message then went to the stadium or not. With addressable geofencing, conversion zones can be setup as well. So if a fan crosses into a conversion zone, say a specific venue which advertised to them within the last thirty days, it will show on the report.
For secondary brokers, geofencing technology also adds an additional way to catch fans as they are entering the stadium parking lot, by hitting their phone with a last minute advertisement for concert or sports tickets. Image getting them right before they hit the window with a credible advertisement that beats the venue price.
Like any technology tool, geofencing is something of a double edged sword. It can provide you with much more accurate data about the way people are behaving than asking them about their habits or trying to observe it in other ways. But there is also that creepy Big Brother is Watching element.
The tweet by Roger Tomlinson that brought the article to my attention notes that geofencing is not legal in Europe without permission.
— Roger Tomlinson (@TicketingInst) August 21, 2018
Last month when I was suggesting conference session topics for the Non Profit Technology Conference, I alluded to the issues surrounding geofencing in one of my topic ideas:
Ethics of Using Geofencing For Marketing – i.e. I can geofence a local theater and target people based on the idea that they enjoy attending performances or with the intent of stealing the audience.
I don’t doubt that the use of geofencing or something like it will become increasingly prevalent. I suspect that a number of bad actors will cause people to become very protective of how their movements are tracked to the point that even if a law isn’t passed requiring you to ask for permission, in practice that is what you will have to do in order to gain the data you want.