Event Marketing: Geofencing

Event Marketing: Unlocking the Power of Geofencing

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Geofencing is a Critical Event Marketing Tactic

From hyper-relevant promotions to real-time audience engagement, geofencing is becoming a critical aspect of digital event marketing. While geofencing has been around for a while, the popularity of smartphones and mobile devices now makes it incredibly valuable as a marketing tool for promoting entertainment events. By leveraging location-based technology, geofencing allows event organizers and marketers to create virtual boundaries around specific geographic areas to deliver targeted content to users within those perimeters. This blog explores what geofencing is, how it works, and its innovative applications in entertainment event marketing. Here’s everything you need to know.

TSE Entertainment | Event Marketing: Unlocking the Power of GeofencingWhat is Geofencing?

Geofencing is most commonly implemented through push notifications, SMS messages, and social media ads. The feature empowers businesses, festival and concert organizers, and event marketers to create virtual boundaries around specific locations, allowing them to trigger a pre-programmed action when people enter or exit the zone. This technology uses radio frequency identification (RFID), GPS, Wi-Fi, or cellular data to trigger targeted marketing actions or track data.

TSE Entertainment | Event Marketing: Unlocking the Power of Geofencing

How Does Geofencing Work?

Locating a customer within a designated area requires different technology depending on the marketing medium. SMS messaging and push notifications use beaconing or GPS infrastructure to determine the location of a customer. Beaconing relies on small Bluetooth transmitters placed at festivals, venues, or businesses, thereby leveraging the RFID (Radio-frequency Identification) chips found in every Bluetooth-compatible smartphone to locate their distance from a beacon. GPS (Global Positioning Systems) has been around longer than RFID chips but still effectively triangulates the location of an individual. On the other hand, social media ads require the user to have location services for that application turned on. Once a virtual boundary is crossed, relevant ads activate.

Geofencing Tactics

Location-based offers are discounts or promotions exclusively extended to the individuals inside the geofence. These promotions are meant to nudge potential customers into making a purchase decision or extending their stay at the venue. The technique is commonly used for specialty restaurants or merchandise sales. For example, fans inside a geofence can receive exclusive discounts on merchandise or early bird offerings. By maximizing the time customers spend at a venue, these promotions improve the customer experience and increase sales.

Competitor Conquesting refers to setting a geofence around a competitor’s location to increase your brand awareness and turn their prospects into your customers. The message often highlights a weakness in the competition. Commonly used by large corporations to shift momentum in market share. Most notably, Burger King ran their “Whopper Detour” campaign in 2018. The campaign used geofencing to offer a Whopper for only one penny if a customer is within 600 feet of a McDonald’s.

Audience Nurturing is commonly used to increase brand loyalty. The technique incentivizes customers to use loyalty programs and applications. Often utilized by large corporations like Starbucks or Chipotle, this tactic effectively retains customers. Smart entertainment event and venue marketers are also adopting geofencing tactics for audience nurturing. Increasingly, festivals are developing apps to facilitate interaction with their customers. By rewarding return customers for their loyalty, festival brands can significantly boost customer retention.

Data Tracking is a key aspect of digital marketing. Geofencing elevates the specificity of the information marketers collect. Businesses can gain deep insights into consumer patterns and preferences. By analyzing movement patterns, dwell time, and frequency, businesses can make informed decisions that drive growth and customer satisfaction.

Geofencing Applications in the Entertainment Industry

Live Event Promotion: Geofencing can effectively increase the attendance of concerts, festivals, and sporting events. By setting up geofences around related events, marketers can reach the target market more accurately.

  • Venue-Based Offers: Venue operators and festival organizers may deliver a coupon when an attendee is near a particular festival vendor or area, e.g., when they are near the entrance, either arriving or incentivizing them to stay as they are leaving.
  • Pre-Event Teasers: Sending reminders and teasers to potential attendees as they pass by the venue days before the event will increase anticipation and encourage a call to action.
  • Competitor Conquesting: Event marketers might set a geofence around another venue with a similar target audience in their market to deliver ads for their upcoming events.

A step further is geofencing a competitor venue when a particular artist is performing that would be playing later at their venue, thereby delivering ads about the upcoming show to that artist’s fans attending the competitor venue’s performance.

  • Attendee Retention: Geofencing can be used to get those attending an entertainment event to sign up for a loyalty program or newsletter. Another example is reminding those attending an event to sign in to the event app to receive special offers. Geofencing can be used in a myriad of ways to provide audience-nurturing content for those attending events at a venue.
  • Post-Event Follow-Ups: Gathering feedback and encouraging social media sharing after the event ends. Geofencing can facilitate gathering feedback through surveys or polls sent to attendees’ mobile devices. Event marketers can also prompt attendees to share their event experiences on social media by sending reminders or incentives to post user-generated content.
  • Data Tracking: Entertainment venues can gain deep insights into their target audience’s patterns and preferences. By analyzing movement patterns, dwell time, and frequency, businesses can make informed decisions about staffing, F&B inventory needed, and such things as how long the attendees come before a performance and how long they will stay after the performance.

Increasing Entertainment Venue Efficiency: In addition to the data tracking examples above, geofencing can streamline other venue operations and improve visitor experiences. For instance, geofencing is often used by festivals or large venues to manage crowd flow by directing attendees to less crowded parking, entrances, or exits, or informing them about shorter lines at certain concessions. Imagine welcoming attendees to such a venue with a timely alert about overflow parking as they approach the venue. It impacts the attendee’s perception of their experience at the event.

Push notifications triggered by geofencing can also assist in providing real-time updates on event schedules, changes, or emergency information. In case of emergencies, geofencing alerts can play a critical role in crowd control. It can quickly notify attendees about evacuation routes or provide instructions to avoid an incident, ensuring a safe and swift evacuation.

TSE Entertainment | Event Marketing: Unlocking the Power of GeofencingInteractive Campaigns: Leverage geofencing to create immersive experiences that engage the audience with the performer, festival, or venue brand. This tool has a powerful effect on the fan experience because of its intimate nature.

  • Real-Time Polls and Q&As: During events, organizers can use geofencing to push real-time polls or surveys to attendees’ mobile devices. This immediate feedback mechanism allows for on-the-spot interaction, such as voting for the next song at a concert or asking for directions at a festival.
  • Venue Tours: For large events or historical venues, geofencing can provide guided tours and relevant information. Therefore enhancing their experience and nurturing the relationship between the brand and the customer. This is particularly relevant for themed events, art installations, and exhibitions that often require context or further information.
  • Content and Rewards: Companies can use geofencing to deliver exclusive content, such as behind-the-scenes videos, interviews, or special messages from performers, directly to the devices of attendees. Additionally, it’s an effective way to promote merchandise and concession sales.
  • Location-Based Games: Organizers can set up scavenger hunts or games where participants receive clues and tasks on their mobile devices, leading them to various checkpoints within a geofenced area. This encourages interaction with the environment, whether it’s festival grounds, large venues, tradeshows, amusement parks, etc. Activities like this not only entertain but also allow marketers to manipulate foot traffic.

Engaging attendees in real-time enhances their sense of participation and can provide valuable insights for organizers to improve future events.

Geofencing Event Marketing Considerations

Privacy Concerns: Geofencing involves tracking users’ locations, which raises significant privacy concerns. Users are increasingly aware of and sensitive to how their personal data is collected, stored, and used. Transparency is key to gaining the consumer’s trust. Clearly communicate to users how their location data will be used. This includes providing detailed information in privacy policies and during the consent process. Obtain explicit consent from users before collecting their location data. This can be done through opt-in mechanisms where users actively agree to location tracking. Implement security measures to protect the collected data and adhere to data protection regulations such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

Data Accuracy: Inaccurate location data can result in a poor user experience and unreliable data. This can happen due to various factors, such as poor GPS signal, system preferences, device inaccuracies, or environmental obstructions. Multiple data sources decrease the likelihood of unreliable data. Use a combination of GPS, Wi-Fi, radio beacons, and cellular data to improve location accuracy. Each source can complement the others and provide more reliable data. Regular calibration also helps account for changes in the environment and improves accuracy.

User Experience: Ensure that the event marketing messages and content delivered via geofencing are highly relevant to the user’s location and context. Irrelevant and persistent notifications can lead to annoyance. Avoid overwhelming customers with too many notifications. Balance is key to maintaining user interest without causing notification fatigue.

Data accuracy is also affected by user experience in interactive campaigns. Inaccurate location readings or delayed messages could disengage a fan from interacting.

Technological Limitations: Device compatibility has been the biggest challenge for geofencing in the past. Not all devices support advanced geofencing features equally. Furthermore, individuals need to have location services turned on for social media or event app geofencing to be effective. Ensure that your geofencing strategy is compatible with a wide range of devices. Geofencing also relies on network availability. In areas with poor network coverage, the accuracy and effectiveness of geofencing can be compromised.


Geofencing, as an event marketing tool, has become a foundation of digital marketing in general and event marketing in particular. The ubiquitous presence of cell phones and mobile devices make this an effective marketing tool. Delivering hyper-relevant promotions has proven to be an effective way to drive sales and collect valuable data. Whether it’s event promotion or enhancing venue efficiency, geofencing offers a multitude of applications that can significantly enhance the live event experience. Geofencing represents a powerful tool for marketers aiming to connect with their audiences in more meaningful and dynamic ways. By considering the limitations and leveraging the full potential of location-based technology, event and venue marketers can maximize engagement and create unforgettable experiences for their audiences.






About the author

Picture of Samuel Londono

Samuel Londono

Sam is currently a senior at the University of Missouri, majoring in International Business. He is eager to gain experience in the entertainment industry, particularly in talent booking and marketing. Sam has a background in digital marketing, with experience servicing touring shows, venues, nightlife, and large festivals. He is actively involved in his local community, having served as an intramural officer for his fraternity and an officer of the electronic music organization. Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, Sam immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 9. His diverse cultural experiences have fostered an appreciation for all genres of music, with electronic music being his favorite.”
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