Master’s Thesis Status: COMPLETED!

All 110 pages of my master’s thesis on location-based marketing were submitted to NC State’s Research Advisor for the Global Luxury Management program on Tuesday, August 30, 2016. I’m pleased to say that all of the hard work that went into preparing a project of this size paid off with a final grade of 18/20 received. One of the few criticisms received I enjoyed had a good laugh about: “Overall a good study, but the lit review read more like ad copy that an analysis of the literature.” After 10 years, I just can’t turn the copywriting mode off in my brain! 😉

I invite you read a brief synopsis of the report below and if you’re interested, request a complimentary copy of the full-text PDF at the end of this blog post. For those of you who don’t have time to read through all 100+ pages at once (and who would?), I’ll publishing smaller sections throughout 2017 here as individual posts and case studies to make it easier to digest. Stay tuned!

Location-Based Opportunities for Brand Marketing

Lisa Jeffries | NC State University – MSc Global Luxury Management – Thesis | August 31, 2016


Marketing, luxury marketing, retail marketing, hospitality marketing, travel marketing, tourism marketing, marketing technology, marketing strategy, location-based marketing, Bluetooth beacon, beacon, geo-fencing, point of sale systems, POS, customer relationship management systems, CRM, customer acquisition, customer retention, email marketing, loyalty marketing, social media, social media marketing, personalization, privacy, big data, luxury, luxury brands, branding, online marketing, traditional marketing


Audiences are now more connected than ever – with no signs of slowing down their adoption rates of mobile smartphone use, e-commerce, and other digital mediums. What are the high-level technologies currently utilized in the consumer marketplace available for brands and marketers to utilize location-based marketing to reach these connected audiences? Additionally, what are the current best practices based on efforts from brands and marketing practitioners across personal, transportation, and experiential segments – with specific emphasis on luxury industries or brands, as available? Using trade media, published research, primary interviews and surveys of working professionals, as well as two real-world experiments, “Location-Based Opportunities for Brand Marketing” offers a survey of the current marketing landscape, assesses industry awareness of location-based marketing technologies and practices, and consideration of future opportunities to come. The uses of beacons, geo-fencing, mobile applications, online advertising, email marketing, point of sale and customer relationship management systems in the processes of customer acquition and customer retention are explored.


Nearly 100 pages of research, analysis, and opinions don’t come easy. As such, I would be remiss in not acknowledging and thanking the following family, friends, and colleagues for their support in this endeavor:

  • Mom and Dad: For your perpetual support of my wishes to return to graduate school at NC State University – and the four-month overseas semester at SKEMA Sophia Antipolis in France that came along with that undertaking. Mandy and Joe, as well, for your continuous encouragement along the way.
  • Johnnie Nobling: For your often-tested patience (“Did she just call you ‘patient’?”), for being a consistent source of enthusiasm and confidence in the long hours endured from the first day I stepped back on campus in August 2015, and for pushing me to not just complete this project, but to make it something I could truly be proud of creating with long-standing professional purpose.
  • My GLM (Global Luxury Management) Peers: I feel so fortunate to have formed lasting relationships with each of you during this crazy ride through grad school. Long live the Facebook messages and group texts that got us through this!
  • To the 40+ professional contacts who participated in the accompanying survey (even being so wonderful as to share it with other, too), provided resources from their own brands and publications, as well as the dozen+ generous souls who were so giving with their time and opinions to help my research efforts…
  • To NCSU Libraries staff and Amanda Elam for your incredibly professional and speedy responses for providing the resources needed to complete this thesis from the academic perspective…
  • To the numerous friends, clients, and colleagues who checked in via emails, text messages, and the like to wish me luck with the final preparation of this thesis and to provide encouragement along the way…

1,000 “THANK YOU”s would not nearly be enough gratitude for the support you’ve provided me, so I hope you all know I’m sincerely grateful for each and every one of you. And to anyone else I’ve forgotten to mention, I hope I remembered to say “Thanks!” at the time of your help.

Executive Summary

American and global consumers are more connected than ever with the potential to spend almost immediately in both brick-and-mortar and digital businesses. What are today’s opportunities for reaching them at a time when they’re considering purchasing – or even earlier, by providing the inspiration to purchase? And can be we begin to personalize on a one-on-one level, like so many luxury consumers have come to expect, to improve the return rates on investments made into new customer acquisition as well as existing customer retention and loyalty development?

Thanks to modern-day marketing technology, brands and marketers have what feels like never-ending access to generating first-party data and leveraging third-party provider systems to create and fulfill their nearly boundless imaginative ideas for bringing new customers into business doors and keeping them spending over time.

From utilizing geo-fenced advertising (that is only displayed to smartphone or web audiences who are accurately identified as being within a specific targeted location) to drive interest for a brick-and-mortar business, to using point of sale data segments defined as “at risk” to re-activate potentially valuable and nearly lost customers, in 2016 we’re beginning to scratch the surface of what it means to be able to communicate valuable messages to an increasingly connected audience.

While over 80% of respondents to the enclosed survey on location-based marketing reported having “heard of location-based marketing technologies like geofencing and beacons”, a full 50% of the same survey respondents indicated they have yet to utilize them in their businesses and brands and 15% reported being unsure if their business or brand had made use of them or not. The following research compiles the experiences of over a dozen business and marketing professionals to provide a broad look at the products and services that exist today to help brands and marketers both acquire and attain customers and clients using a technology-first, location-driven approach. As one survey respondent noted, deploying beacons and other sensors allow us to track store visits, which in turns “builds audience data for retargeting, but also measures foot traffic. The latter enables brands to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns, and attribute ad spend to more visits.” As brand marketers are continually required to justify their spending, the building of data and ability to measure effectiveness cannot be underscored.

As best practices in this space will continue to evolve alongside technology and research, I invite those interested in this topic to visit my website,, where I’ll continue to write more on the subject and welcome your comments and examples you find of real world best practices in use.

Download the Full Text

To download a complimentary copy of Location-Based Opportunities for Brand Marketing, please fill in the form below and a PDF version of the full-text report will be provided via email. Thank you for your interest my master’s thesis research!