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Mobile geofencing: The good, the bad and the ugly

Companies have brought out the pom-poms for geofencing, but this method of customer targeting doesn't always translate into good customer experience.

Geofencing is a major trend in customer relationship management, but companies' interest in this new marketing method doesn't always create happy customers.

As mobile devices have become increasingly available and commoditized, companies see the virtue in using geolocation data to target consumers with promotions, advertising and other sales efforts on mobile devices when customers are near a physical store location.

According to Marshall Lager, a CRM expert and principal at Third Idea Consulting, geofencing may have an initial appeal for customers. Receiving information and promotions tailored to their profile and preference may create the perception that "this company really knows me," Lager said. But at the same time, after receiving the 20th promotion on a cell phone, a customer may grow weary or even start to feel violated by the marketing onslaught.

Marshall LagerMarshall Lager

There are also privacy concerns, said Lager.

"There is potential for abuse here, and no wonder," Lager observed. "The same technology that advertises shoe sales now is used to monitor criminals under house arrest and to track delivery trucks to make sure they don't stray from their routes."

Lager said that concerns are valid, but that society has become so blasé about offering personal details that only a small minority are truly apprehensive about geofencing creating privacy breaches. Consumers may disagree.

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