KS&R Blogs



Welcome to the 3rd post in my blog series! Last week I talked about a new approach to innovation and new product development -- Design Thinking. This week I'll discuss another agile methodology -- geo-fencing.


Times are changing. As marketing researchers, we find ourselves adapting to new techniques and approaches every month. Not too long ago, telephone data collection (land lines) was the gold standard. Now, very few businesses are investing in call centers and telephone data collection.

At KS&R, we have found ourselves engaging in many new and different approaches to marketing research. One such tool is geo-fencing.

Geo-fencing is based on GPS technology, using it to track customers and potentially ask them questions about their experiences. We have found it highly effective at getting real-time reactions to service experiences.

Here's how it works:

  • Build the fence. Usually based on a street address or longitude/latitude coordinates. The technology is capable of measuring within only a few feet of the defined coordinates.
  • Define the universe. Who is your targeted audience? Once defined, you need to be sure they activate locator functions on their mobile devices.
  • Trigger the survey. Must be mobile friendly and short. We use a native app.

We have found geo-fencing works best when profiling customers and experiences in the moment, whether shopping for cars, visiting retailers, or going to the doctor's office.

The biggest issue we have encountered with geo-fencing is ensuring the representativeness of the sampling frame. Many panels that are geo-fence capable skew younger and tech savvy. We can control for this variation, but must be careful and cautious with how we implement the sampling frame and plan.

Geo-fencing is not your father's marketing research. It is current, fast-paced, and innovative. When you need to understand the "moment" there is no better approach. What do you think? Are you ready to give it a try?

Continue reading the next blog in my series where I explain how we work with clients to create cost effective and dynamic insight building programs to help them understand the unique path to purchase buyers take.

Miss last week's blog? Don't worry -- it will only take a couple of minutes to catch up! Read it here.

Jay Scott

Jay Scott

Jay answers the tough questions. He believes better information leads to better understanding, and his clients come back because they trust him to get it right. He is an innovator, looking for new ways to expand the research toolbox, whether by technology or methodology. With a broad understanding of qualitative, quantitative and design techniques, Jay is passionate about identifying business opportunities, creating new products and services, and bringing them to market. This dates back nearly 30 years when he led research that extended the product mix for key CPG brands. The lessons learned are now applied more frequently in B2B situations, including answering tough questions in e-commerce, global transportation, supply chain and logistics. Jay holds a Master's of Marketing Research (MMR) from the University of Georgia. When not at work, you can often find Jay watching his daughter's soccer games or sneaking out of town to catch the Atlanta Braves.