Location based services such as Foursquare, Gowalla, and MyTown are gaining more adoption on a daily basis. The gaming nature, social aspect of meeting new people all draws new users. As such, companies are trying to figure out ways of using these technologies to reach an even larger audience.
For restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, and similar organizations the value proposition is relatively easy. By establishing a business account and getting involved in these location services, you can offer exclusive discounts and promotions to the people passing through. While more importantly, track user statistics such as the number of people at your location (who are using the application) and who are even your best customers.
Here are a couple examples of great businesses using these location based services:
The Wynn Las Vegas E-Strategy Manager, Jade Bailey, leaves tips in Foursquare for their hotel, such as when checked-in guests go to the Blush Boutique nightclub; they can enjoy a glass of champagne on the house. This is a great example of a value add to the service, improving the perception from the customers’ point of view and building that relationship one more step.
Starbucks established a relationship with Foursquare, and as a result rolled out the ‘Starbucks Barista badge.’ While getting this badge does not currently provide any monetary value, it certainly could in the future. In addition, it again gives the customer a unique relationship with the vendor.
Mayorships can also be an important element in this. Some savvy locations have picked up on this trend and will award the mayor of the location a reward each time they are there. This increases the competition for mayorship at that establishment and thus increases traffic for the business.
However, these services can provide value for other industries as well. The key to this is being creative in coming up with a campaign on how to tie-in location and your brand. Gowalla came up with a brilliant marketing campaign for Christmas “The 10 and a Half Days of Christmas” in which they placed custom orange iPod Nanos at random locations, and users had to check-in to locations to find them.
So, how do you use these services for your brand? First, I would suggest trying each of them out to see how they work – and differ. Once you are comfortable using these platforms it should be easy to think up ideas on how to implement them, but let’s cover a few basic steps.
- Register a business account with the service you are going to use. With Foursquare for instance, this will allow you to offer specials at your location via their application.
- Define a specific goal for your campaign.
- Come up with ideas that will work with your existing marketing strategy, and meet the goals that you have set for the campaign.
- Track progress regularly. When people check-in, interact with them. From this you can get more information on why they came to your location (friend told them, noticed the tip, etc)
Source: Mashable: “How 5 Brands Are Mastering the Game of Foursquare”
Gowalla: “The 10 and a Half Days of Christmas”