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2015 Mobile/Location-Based Marketing Predictions From 10 Experts



It seems like we’ve been hearing that “this is the year of mobile” since the late 1990s. And yet, every year, it never seems like mobile actually delivers on its true promise.

But 2014 bucked that trend. Apple revolutionized payments through its launch of Apple Pay; 800-pound retail gorilla, Walmart, launched a savvy app; and NFC finally got its due after being included in the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

We also saw mobile usage of social media overtake desktop usage. Millennials’ darling, the mobile-centric Instagram, grew to over 300 million active users. And the number of smartphones in the world reached 1.75 billion, which means one quarter of the world has one.

(For comparison and additional context, you can read last year’s 10 expert predictions for the new year here as well as my five predictions here.)

2015 promises to ride this wave of momentum, as the smartphone (to quote one of our contributors, Charlene Li) “will actually be smart.” This means more secure, more contextual, more location-aware, more targeted, more integrated, more connected and more pervasive.

I’ll step back and let these 10 experts discuss what they think 2015 holds in store.

Charlene Li, CEO and Founder, Altimeter Group

Charlene Li

2015 will be the year that our smartphones will actually be smart, understanding and connecting context and data between apps to create unique, personalized experiences that delight.

When I look up my next appointment on my calendar, a rich profile, social feed, past meetings, latest emails associated with that person will seamlessly appear. When I walk into my favorite restaurant or coffee house, my order will be waiting for me.

It will feel like mind-reading, but it’s just my phone, doing the job that it’s supposed to be doing: being smart.

Paul Mabray, CEO and Founder, Vintank

I see four major growth categories in the next year.

  1. As mobile usage increases, mobile tools for B2B offerings will explode to empower employees on the go. Everything from CRM, accounting, e-commerce store management, reporting and more will be mobile packaged.
  2. With Apple Pay, we will be seeing mobile payments becoming more mainstream.
  3. The connected world is also becoming a reality (especially via iOS 8). Your mobile phone is quickly becoming the center of your universe, whether it is through managing your Sonos, Nest, Fitbit, or your Xbox, solidifying its place as your personal hub for interacting with the physical world. This will especially continue to grow due to all the health applications.
  4. Finally, our devices are become uber location aware. They now effectively differentiate when we are at home, at work, or traveling and delivering us (albeit still via blunt instruments) notifications and applications that are more contextual to our location.

Jennifer Leggio, Senior Director Security Marketing Strategy, Cisco

The year 2015 will bring the most engaging mobile experiences to date. Mobility, the cloud, and the Internet of Things create significant opportunities for businesses to expand and also for consumers to enjoy, but these opportunities also do breed risk.

Application developers will assume even more responsibility as companies will no longer be able to sacrifice security over user experience. Especially in the face of so many high profile breaches, a lack of diligence in security even for the most entertaining of applications can lead to loss of business or consumer data, an impact to the bottom line and even loss of brand integrity.

Even mobile marketers will need to work to protect their customers and their companies, as often times user ignorance is what leads to compromise. Companies whose marketing teams embrace security as a requirement and infuse consumer protection education into their programs will be significantly ahead of the curve when it comes to driving the adoption of mobile services.

Eric Miltsch, President, Command Z Automotive Consulting

In 2015, I believe we’ll see a significant amount of retailers moving more activity towards more specific geo-targeted messaging solutions coming from branded apps, providing even more contextually relevant offers.

I also expect to see more retailers leveraging hyper-local offers (within 1 mile) via Facebook and eventually even seeing more extreme local offers being delivered via beacons from within the store (within 60 feet).

Lisa Pearson, CMO, Bazaarvoice


Context is what defines value for content in the desktop environment, and context will come to the fore in the mobile environment in 2015.

Companies which provide comprehensive APIs to their services and content networks will give marketing leaders the ability to provide personalized, “situationally-aware” mobile experiences that anticipate consumers’ needs. As a result, mobile marketing programs will evolve to focus less on providing content for consumption and more on proactively grabbing a customer’s attention to shape their perceptions and motivations.

Chuck Hemann, Manager, Analytics Digital Marketing Media, Intel

In 2015, we are finally going to see the maturation of location-based data. For the last two+ years, we have seen an upsurge in the discussion about the availability and usage of consumer data in a highly localized way, but in many respects it has just been discussion.

While brands have used geotargeting capabilities for years, they have also struggled to reconcile (and use) insights at a local level that might conflict with other macro trends, among other reasons. However, data maturation and availability have made most of those concerns moot, and in 2015 we’re going to see more (and better) case studies of brands using this very localized data to reach customers.

Jill McFarland,  Digital and Social Media, Applebee’s

Today’s guests aren’t searching on desktops for where to go for dinner — they are walking down the street. They crave a burger, pull out their phone and search for a nearby burger joint. If you’re not maintaining your local properties, you’re not going to show up in those search results.

I see 2015 as the year where brands like ours take advantage of the incredible amount of geo-targeted opportunities in the paid ad space.  As brand’s explore this space, it’s critical that they focus on delivering the right message, in the right place, at the right time. Learn from the data you collect and use that to inform future decisions.

Mike Schneider, VP of Marketing, Skyhook Wireless


This year, we are going to see a bigger push toward the frictionless experience. In other words, look for apps that use the context that users generously share to figure out what they need before they need it (“app-ticipation”). The first big push will be for apps to have different modes for work, home and store (place-based design).

Amanda Maksymiw, Content Marketing Manager, Lattice Engines

We know that location-based marketing all comes down to data. In 2015 and beyond, marketers will be able to not only use that data to develop relevant, contextual, and engaging experiences for their audiences, but also use that data to predict which locations and unknown segments will be most responsive to which campaigns and programs in the future. This shift will provide a much richer, data-driven approach that puts information into action.

Jeremiah Owyang, Founder of Crowd Companies

I see 2015 as being the year of the collaborative economy — in other words, people will be able to order anything, on demand, at anytime.

We’re already seeing the “Uber for X” in every category in SF: on-demand cars, dry cleaning, food, massages, house cleaning, parking valets, and even legalized medical marijuana. All of these can be delivered by an app.

These new start-ups are heavily funded, use commonly available technologies, and work well in urban areas where most people are headed. Of course, the these new mobile and location technologies spell existing business model disruption – individuals now have instant access to goods and services, reducing their need to own things or visit retailers in a traditional manner.

Final Thoughts

Do you feel smarter now? It’s a lot to chew on, but these are seasoned industry leaders whose expertise ranges across brand, mobile, location, commerce, automotive, collaborative economy, and technology in general — so I suggest you pay close attention. You’ll note that I’ve included each contributors’ Twitter handle (click on their name), giving you an easy way to stay connected.

Last but not least, I will be contributing my 2015 trends in January. Hint: a number of the items above will be covered in greater depth along with ways that you as marketers can take advantage of these trends.

Until then, Happy Holidays!

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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