Location is everything, and PlaceIQ has created a new way for retailers to leverage it. Enter the new LandMark product, which lets clients view and compare analytics from a staggering repertoire of businesses in order to understand, and perhaps revise, their own place in the market.
How much foot traffic is their store seeing? How does that line up against their competitors? Do they have more success in one locale than in another, or appeal more to a certain demographic? Was the recent ad campaign a success? How often do customers pass by a store without entering or – worse – visit a competitor?
PlaceIQ helps businesses answer all these questions and more by tracking the smartphones of opted-in users to map the “consumer journey” across mobile, video, TV, email, and out-of-home activity. This massive repository of data can then be graphed to show performance, competition and trends.
“We really passionately believe in the power of location to solve real business challenges for retailers, casual dining – for all sorts of businesses,” said CEO and Co-Founder Duncan McCall. “Location and movement is this omnipresent force that connects people, places and things.”
PlaceIQ’s LandMark product is the most sophisticated method yet for marketers to dissect and analyze foot traffic. But it’s not just comparing a store’s business to competitors or others in the chain.
Clients can also see where fans of a certain TV show like to eat, whether frequent McDonald’s customers responded to ads for a theme park, how many dealerships a potential SUV buyer visited before making a purchase, what sort of person is likely to choose Home Depot versus Lowe’s, how far music fans drove for the Coachella festival and what impact that had on nearby businesses compared to other events at the same venue.
“We’re focused on one thing only,” said McCall: “Building a new model of consumer behavior from location.”
“We didn’t start this company to sell ads or monetize in marketing,” McCall continued. “We started the company around this construct of, ‘We think there’s an opportunity to build a better understanding of consumer data with all this new location technology out there.’”
McCall first had the idea for PlaceIQ while driving around the African wilderness, aided by GPS. This was before everyone had a GPS in their pocket, before manufacturers started equipping cars with global positioning technology – but McCall could see it coming, and he could see the myriad opportunities it was going to present.
Later, in 1998, he moved from the U.K. to the U.S. and began applying his geo-spatial background to internet data, then location technology, and eventually mobile.
Meanwhile, Co-Founder and CTO Steve Milton was working on tech at Digital Globe, a company that launches satellites to record imagery.
The two crossed paths at a networking event in Boulder, Colorado in the late aughts, and soon they were collaborating to get PlaceIQ off the ground (in between powder days at Vail Ski Resort). A year and a half later, they moved the company to its current headquarters in New York City.
PlaceIQ officially launched seven years ago. That may not sound like ancient history, but in terms of technology, it might as well be. Even then, location technology had yet to grab society by the throat, and investors were reluctant to bite. The challenge was compounded by the economic recession in 2008.
“We were the first company in this space,” McCall said. “I had the idea and vision a long time ago, which now seems like an advantage, but… It was hard to get somebody who cared about the vision. People were not big believers in mobile back then at all.”
Fast forward, and PlaceIQ has now shaken hands with one of the biggest players in the global market — Alibaba, China’s online marketplace community. The eCommerce giant will be licensing PlaceIQ’s LandMark technology to make sense of their own data, rather than reinventing the wheel to do so.
McCall counts the partnership with Alibaba among his proudest accomplishments as co-founder and CEO, along with seeing heavyweights like Facebook, Google and Snapchat build new innovations around the products PlaceIQ brought to market.
“That’s a pretty important seal of approval for us,” McCall said.
Just as important?
“Working directly with clients is energizing,” said the CEO. “We get to solve real business problems — very tangible problems — and that’s rewarding.”