In the early years of the 21st century, there were significant concerns about robots replacing humans in the workforce. Although the protest remains unsettled, it was more terrifying then than now, mostly because the concept of robotics wasn’t very clear.
The International Organization of Standardization didn’t help when it defined a robot as an “automatically controlled, reprogrammable manipulator.” By that definition, an ATM is a robot, and bank tellers were in serious trouble. At least, they thought they were.
As we familiarized ourselves with artificial intelligence (AI), we began to understand that actual robots are analytical brainchildren with the ability to make sense of available data and influence decisions accordingly. It turns out that marketers are harnessing this analytical superpower far more than banks could ever use ATMs.
By 2028, the AI marketing industry could be worth over $100 billion, thanks to digital advertising giants (like Google and Meta) making AI marketing accessible to everyone. For this reason, many have resolved that the outdoor marketing components are too traditional to be effective.
Well, that’s not true. Like almost every part of our lives, AI is transforming out-of-home advertising. Now, it could be a more efficient alternative for small businesses, especially brick-and-mortar companies. How?
AI-Powered Location Intelligence
Advertising is very location-sensitive, and a listing on the wrong billboard could be as good as a pair of soleless shoes. Therefore, businesses have developed an obsession with their customers’ locations.
More than 80% of all the data collected and stored over the internet are location-based. So, organizations are actively aware of our whereabouts as we move from place to place. Recently, OOH advertising agencies began employing AI to process these large chunks of location-based data and help small businesses target their outdoor ads to customers wherever they are.
To put this in perspective, there are no Costco outlets in Wyoming. However, if Costco decides to bring one of its outlets to the state, it can target OOH ads to residents and frequent visitors of the state even before the retail outlet is officially opened. It’s an excellent way to build momentum.
Many small businesses have tried OOH advertising with location intelligence. Compared with targeted digital marketing campaigns, these companies reported about 85% growth in customer base and an 83% increase in engagement and response rates. That is an opportunity any mindful business doesn’t want to miss.
Route-Targeted Mobile Advertising
Many of the collected location-based data are updated in real time. As the data changes, advertising companies use AI-powered travel pattern analysis to better understand customers’ usual routes. This presents a massive opportunity for small businesses.
Marketers could use mobile outdoor advertising options (like branded cars and mobile billboards) to reach potential customers as they travel through their usual routes. This puts your business in the face of your customers during their everyday commutes.
As an example, our company recently partnered with Serve Robotics to offer mobile OOH advertising by leveraging high-quality marketing campaign wraps displayed on fully autonomous delivery robots programmed to operate in/around defined areas.
The idea that you have complete control over your ad budget and target is one of the enticing features of digital marketing. Traditional OOH advertising didn’t seem to offer that much flexibility.
However, innovative OOH ad providers are employing technologies that will allow small businesses more control over where and how their ads will be seen. With access to big data, tech-powered OOH advertising platforms prompt advertisers to provide specific audience identifiers (like demographic information, travel patterns, etc.), and automatically distribute their campaigns to the appropriate locations via the most efficient channels.
When All Is Said And Done
Running a successful business requires efficient use of resources. The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends, “As a general rule, small businesses with revenues less than $5 million should allocate 7-8 percent of their revenues to marketing.” So, they can’t afford to experiment with sophisticated AI tools as most big brands do.
Now that AI is making even outdoor marketing more affordable and precisely focused, leaders of small businesses could use data-driven location intelligence to explore opportunities in new territories, reach potential customers even as they go about their regular activities, and program all these previously traditional marketing activities to run in ways that are far more efficient than regular digital marketing.