On March 4, 1933, newly elected U.S. President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, uttered the now famous words, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” during his inaugural speech. At the time, the United States was facing on Roosevelt’s one of the worst economic crisises in history and the eternally optimistic FDR was trying his best to keep the country from erupting in panic. Whether it was that statement or dozens of his innovative new approaches to kick start the economy, things began to rapidly improve soon after that speech.
As I was thinking about this phrase during a run the other day, I realized that this lesson — why fear fear — was a powerful one. It’s not always easy to keep our fear at bay but by letting it get the best of us, we play “tight” as they saying goes in sports. Instead of demonstrating our best selves, we get conservative, start second guessing and generally tend to trip over ourselves. A classic example of this would be highly paid baseball player, Alex Rodriguez, who is a hitting and fielding machine for the Yankees during the regular season but when it comes time for the post season, hits a good .024 points lower (.301 versus .277).
One of the things I hear most from people who either haven’t engaged in social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Pinterest) is that they don’t know what to write. Or they are afraid that people won’t find what they have to say interesting. Either way, their fear of doing something wrong can impact their ability to go with the flow and just be themselves. This fear holds them back and prevents them from engaging with the people they want to connect with. Of course businesses are no different when it comes to social.
Many times companies get excited about launching a Facebook page or a Youtube channel. They spend months working with their agency or internal marketing/IT department to design everything perfectly. They decide who is going to update the channel and if they are worth their salt, what a rough editorial calendar will look like. And then — wait for it — they freeze up. Afraid that they might say something that the legal department might not like or something a competitor might latch onto, they slow down their posting to a snail’s pace. Or worse yet, they resort to generic posts once or twice a week that become increasingly promotional. Those one or two initial blog posts or over produced videos languish, destined to be passed over for fresher more exciting content published by lessor creators.
There is obviously a reason we experience fear. But more often than not, it’s what holds us back. Whether you are a politician, an athlete or someone on social media team at a company, once in a while it might be helpful to take a step back and remind ourselves that the only thing to fear, is fear itself.
**UPDATED AS OF September 19, 2012 for the FSMU Conference**
This morning I’m giving a talk at Jason FallsExplore Dallas Ft. Worth event. I have the good fortune of being on stage with social/location/mobile smarty, Adrian Parker — formerly of RadioShack and now at Intuit. Given the fact that we only have thirty minutes to talk, I realized that having a list of resources ready for folks that are interested in location-based marketing would be helpful. Then I thought, having a list of location-based marketing resources for ANYONE might be helpful.
Here is a good starter list of places you can go to read more about how businesses are using location-based marketing — some from me, some from friends, some from other smart people in the industry:
WCG blog (a curated list of posts about location-based marketing)
As an enthusiast about the mobile/location-based services space, I’m always excited to hear about ground-breaking new technologies and services, particularly those that are built with businesses in mind. To that end, I couldn’t resist sitting down (virtually) with my friend and director of product and development at Digby, Doug Wick. During our conversation, Doug and I discussed Digby’s latest location-based offering called Localpoint.
<Aaron> What is Localpoint?
<Doug> Digby Localpoint is a SaaS mobile technology platform designed to help retailers deliver a best-in-class mobile app experience for their loyal customers, focused on location-based marketing, analytics, and commerce. It has four components: Venue, Outreach, Analytics, and Storefront. A mobile team simply drops our libraries into their existing app and can then deploy geofence-based notification and rich message campaigns through Localpoint Venue and Localpoint Outreach, and derive powerful insight through Localpoint Analytics. If a retailer doesn’t have a mobile team, we can help them build an app using Localpoint Storefront, which comes pre-wired with the other three components of Localpoint.
<Aaron> Tell me more about Localpoint’s four modules. <Doug> Sure, let’s start with Venue. This is the ability to drop a geofence around a specific store or public venue like a park, airport, or sports stadium and use that geofence to identify and communicate with people who are there. Campaigns can be set up to either be triggered by an event (like a check-in, product scan, store entry, or store exit) or can be set up to launch at specific times to one or more specific locations. We call those messages “announcements.” Think “blue light special” but much more powerful.
<Aaron> Localpoint Venue is essentially the ability to create your own white label location-based app ala foursquare or Shopkick. Why should retailers do this instead of spending with one of those apps, which have pre-built audiences?
<Doug> Ideally they would do both. Network apps like foursquare and Shopkick are paid media opportunities, which allow retailers to potentially access new audiences. However, a retailer’s own app represents an opportunity to get much closer – literally in the pocket – of their best customers. Retailers who invest in this way won’t be disintermediated and won’t face repeat acquisition costs, lowered share of voice, and lack of data ownership. The best mobile strategies will access new audiences through mediums like network apps, mobile SEM, mobile ads, and other paid opportunities, and convert them to app owners.
<Aaron> What does Outreach Do?
<Doug> The idea with Outreach is large-scale or “market size” geofences that allow you to localize a push notification to drive app engagement and store traffic to a local store. This is to activate loyalists, and can be used in a very complementary fashion with Venue. This particular component is especially interesting for local high-frequency retail models like grocery, convenience, and drug stores as well as quick-serve restaurants. But really, every app should have the ability to get your attention with a message that is location-based.
<Aaron> What about something that is also near and dear to my heart, i.e. analytics?
<Doug> Most mobile analytics out there treat an app like a website and simply track user activity to the app – download, opens, clicks. The true opportunity for mobile analytics is the ability to measure app activity relative to location. Localpoint Analytics allows you to set up geofences that give you web-style analytics for the physical world. Imagine knowing the same things about your retail stores that you do about your website – how many people visited, how long they stayed, what they did on the app while they were there. These are the types of insights that simply aren’t available through any other technology, and will lead to extremely powerful, business-changing insight.
<Aaron> Doesn’t this have the potential to be a little Big Brother-esque?
<Doug> An excellent point and touches on a unique characteristic of Digby’s technology. First, Localpoint Analytics only uses venue-sized geofences for measurement, and our technology only measures the activity of an app installed by an opted-in user in and around those geofences. The rest of the time, the device knows where it is but we don’t. Localpoint simply waits for the device to tell us when it’s close to something we care about. We’ve spent a lot of time and resources investing in patent-pending location detection technology that maximizes accuracy while protecting users by keeping power-draining GPS use at a minimum and ensuring user privacy.
<Aaron> Loaded question here but why do you believe location is such an important part of consumer mobile?
<Doug> We feel that no other single thing you can learn about a mobile user unlocks the unique power of the mobile platform like location. Not only does it help you be contextually relevant, but location also tells you more about a consumer’s intent than anything else. Our goal is simply to help retailers be “where their customers are.” This statement is meant to be taken literally and figuratively.
<Aaron> Tell me more about the Storefront module.
<Doug> Storefront is our most retail-specific Localpoint module, and allows us to quickly bring to life an app that features everything a consumer expects from a retailer: Rich, full-featured product catalog, commerce, and store locator. It is a best-in-class search, browse, and buy experience. And out of the box it is wired to communicate with and leverage the other three Localpoint modules. Many retailers still don’t have apps, and we feel like they might want one when they see what the entire Localpoint platform can allow them to do.
<Aaron> Yes, many retailers still don’t have their own apps. Why should they?
<Doug> I think many business, especially retailers, approach building an app like they are building a website. That is why many retail apps that do exist, even some of the most well-designed ones, look a lot like a miniature version of the full web experience. The fact is that the most important thing that apps can do is something most of them aren’t doing: communicate with the consumer. Communication is still the primary purpose of the phone, and by downloading an app the consumer has already told you they want you to be a part of their daily life. By not taking advantage of that opportunity, businesses are missing out. Our goal is not only to put that opportunity within arms reach, but also do it the right way, with the highly relevant location context that consumers expect.
<Aaron> Doug, Localpoint sounds really interesting, I look forward to seeing a demo soon!
<Doug> My pleasure Aaron. Anyone that’s interested can see more details on our website but I’d be happy to give you a demo soon! And thanks for taking the time to learn more about Localpoint.
It took points of view from a lot of smart people who know a ton about the location-based marketing space. As promised, we are following up this post with a look toward the future. In the look forward, we’ve added a few voices including those of brands like American Eagle, Applebee’s and RadioShack.
Jess Berlin, social media manager, American Eagle Outfitters | AE blog In 2012, location will get personal. Location-based services will be able to tailor the user’s experience by offering personalized recommendations and offers based on your check-in history. There will also be further integration with loyalty and payment technologies to make for a personal and cohesive check-in experience. You can literally claim a recommended deal, receive loyalty credit and pay for something all within a check-in.
Jason Falls, author, speaker and CEO of Social Media Explorer I think 2012 is going to further divide LBS and Social Media. The gradual adoption of location-based services by the mainstream and the marriage of location-based services and business models that demand revenue (Groupon buying Whrrl, Facebook buying Gowalla, etc.) will mean that LBS becomes less social and more advertising driven. While there will probably be pushback and whining from the social media crowd, the mainstream will eat it up and LBS will become the Sunday coupon section of our generation.
Eric Katerman, co-founder, Forecast 2012 will be the year where foursquare becomes a legitimate platform, although they’ll have trouble spreading the message that they’re not just a check-in app. Theirs will become the defacto venue database for all manner of applications and we will start to see massive growth in the number of third-party apps. We’ll also see more focus on future-tense social networking, Facebook is up to something…
Jason Keath, founder & CEO, Socialfresh Who to watch in 2012? Keep an eye on the growth of eBay owned barcode, QR code reader Red Laser as well as Amazon’s similar price check app. These tools have such a massive value to the mass market that their growth potential is huge. Geeks love both of these apps, but both will continue to creep into mainstream use.
Just as with the rest of social media, location apps will continue to fragment into innovative and niche use cases. Shopkick, LevelUp, TopGuest and many others have a clear runway for finding their audiences in 2012.
Asif Khan – president, Location Based Marketing Association 2012 is going to be a banner year for location-based marketing. I expect to see further integration between mobile and other proximity-based media like Billboard and DOOH. Watch for platforms to emerge that give consumers’ more control over their location data, and for lots of experiments with NFC, but not for payments. Tapping phones on smart posters to download coupons or bus schedules, and exchanging business cards and video clips with such enhanced NFC P2P features as Android Beam will grow in 2012.
Nataly Kogan, VP customer experience, WHERE 2012 prediction – relevancy and ubiquity, baby! More relevant offers and experiences and ubiquity of being able to use them and pay for them easily. I think 2012 will be good for users as different apps/companies offer a combo of services. Find places to go, go there, find what you want to buy and get a great deal, and pay – all in one.
Brad Mays, group director, WCG | blog In 2012 the mobile category will continue to evolve from noun to verb, and location will begin to cement its position as a useful feature that anchors the ubiquity of mobile life. We’ll see location tags worked into more of the platforms we use everyday, mobile or otherwise, contributing to the explosion of big data and providing more of a physical retail trail. But, 2012 will continue to be a proving year for location, where most brands and individuals take a wait-and-see attitude until the case is conclusive. The good news is that we’ll get to have a lot more fun with location in 2012 because more brands will want to experiment, more of our friends will be willing to let us know where they are, and both will better understand why we check-in everywhere we go.
Jill McFarland, digital and social media, Applebee’s | blog My 2012 prediction is that location becomes more of a part of everything mobile and people don’t even realize they’re doing it. I tell people all the time that you don’t have to check-in. You’re geotagging yourself all the time from your phone allowing data to be collected, ads to be rendered, searches to better, based on your location.
Eric Miltsch, Digital guy @AuctionDirect. Co-Founder @CarZar_app. & LBS pro | blog For our business, Auction Direct USA will continue to use location based marketing services to create more unique ways of connecting with customers, encourage loyalty and try to track foot traffic. I predict more activity from our internal sales people and even more from the customers as they take advantage of specials and recommendations. I also expect to see even more photo sharing activity from customers.
Adrian Parker director of digital/social media, RadioShack | blog Location applications bring the rhythm of local interaction to life on your mobile device. Applications like foursquare give real-time snapshots of who is doing what, where and with whom – and layers on reviews, tips, points and interactions that allow physical experiences to be shared across the globe. As a business owner, it’s a creative, low-cost, high impact channel for maintaining a mobile presence in an emerging platform. Going forward, location capabilities will be injected into the DNA of digital advertising, marketing campaigns and social networks. I don’t see location platforms as a marketing medium, rather they are a business practice that will mature as mobile adoption escalates.
In just 2 years, smartphone adoption in the U.S. has skyrocketed from 18% to 44%. This represents a significant opportunity for location tools to engage consumers at their point of decision, on their terms. Phones will no longer be the 3rd screen of interaction, they will be the 1st screen, surpassing Televisions and PCs. The real impact is that consumers are beginning to take advantage of GPS, Siri, cameras, apps, Wi-Fi and other wireless capabilities, including mobile commerce. In the past 10 years, RadioShack has sold more than 72 million cellphones. As smartphones and tablets are becoming the preferred device shoppers use to research and locate products, we will leverage the products we sell as a medium to connect with consumers, locally.
Chad Reed, CMO, Bluebox (and co-owner, Roll On Sushi) The future of LBS resides with monetizing the app and making it more desirable for users and brands. I think geofencing will play a role with this. getting offers and recommendations pushed to you based off your interests when you are around specific locations is big. i also think the future is tying in with loyalty programs. Not sure exactly how that will work but someone will figure it out 🙂
Bluebox is now working directly with brands by turning their loyalty program in to a fun casual gaming network using social media and real rewards from brands.
Rob Reed, founder and CEO, Momentfeed, Three technologies to look at for 2012 from Rob’s recent SoLoMo Manifesto (download here):
1. Mobile commerce – includes a number of solutions ranging from in-app purchases, executed online or at the point of sale, to the venerable mobile wallet, which stores all of your credit and debit cards, gift cards, and loyalty cards. Google and PayPal, together with Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, are all angling to merge our wallets with our smartphones. Meanwhile, brands like Starbucks offer branded payment apps and startups like ChowNow and Splickit offer multi-merchant solutions.
2. Near Field Communication (NFC) is an emerging technology that facilitates payments and engagements with a simple tap of one’s phone. The NFC chip in the phone can communicate at close range with other NFC devices, such as point-of-sale systems, as well as with static NFC tags, which can take the form of a decal. For marketers, NFC represents an opportunity to position one’s brand at the front end of location-based engagements.
3. Indoor Location – The final frontier for location will be universal indoor navigation. Which is to say, the ability to navigate indoor spaces with the same level of coverage we enjoy outdoors via GPS but with pinpoint accuracy
Simon Salt, CEO, author, Social Location Marketing and CEO, IncSlingers Predictions for 2012… foursquare continues its growth, but as it does becomes less visible – e.g. it will continue to acquire new users but it is becoming like Twitter in that we don’t really talk about it anymore – its part of the social media fabric of life. Check-in will become irrelevant as an action on its own (if it isn’t already) – campaigns will have to become more relevant and less about just checking in. Marketers will start to leverage QR codes/NFC as part of their location campaigns – they provide proof of physical presence, and it can be done at the point of sale which provides better tracking.
Mike Schneider, co-author Location-Based Marketing for Dummies, SVP digital incubator, Allen & Gerritsen | blog In 2012, I look for four things to happen:
1. Look for intent-based stuff to get serious. It’s time for companies to start making predictions based on our behaviors or intercepting us on the way to do something. Some big brand will capitalize. I’ll race ya!
2. Social loyalty everywhere. Connecting location to payments and providing value is huge. <– period
3. Micro-locations become more prevalent starting with your TV. An increased effort will be made to try to figure out what you’re watching and giving consumers ways to not only promote, but also to purchase.
4. More gaming! We have only seen the beginning of mobile / location based gaming. Look for companies to find ways to improve on the clunky experiences of Dokobots, Geomon and Hitcher to provide better interaction with the environment.
Aaron Strout, co-author Location-Based Marketing for Dummies, head of location-based marketing, WCG | blog My predictions?
1. Check-ins become more passive (active checking in like we do today on foursquare doesn’t go away but become less of a focus).
2. Foursquare really goes mainstream and grows to 50 million users (yes, I know this is bold).
3. Location becomes a component of every mobile application (and some non-mobile applications).
4. Like Twitter and Facebook in 2010-11, a number of Fortune500 brands begin thinking about a “location” as part of their 2012 marketing strategy.
Bonus: Brand adoption of Instagram goes through the roof.
So what about you? Got a location-based marketing prediction? Leave it in the comments below. I’ll keep my eye on them and may pull a few up into the post!
For anyone that follows the location-based services space, there is no doubt that it has been a big year. With several key acquisitions (Whrrl, WHERE and Gowalla), transitions (Facebook), going-out-of-businesses (Bizzy) and key partnerships (foursquare and American Express), there has been a lot to keep track of. To that end, my friend and co-author of Location-Based Marketing for Dummies, Mike Schneider, and I thought it might be useful to do a wrap up post on the best of LBS in 2011.
While Mike and I both have perspective to share (and we both include these thoughts at the end of this post) we also wanted to ask some of the other bright minds (established AND up-and-coming) for their take. So without further ado, here are some thoughts on “the best of 2011” for location-based marketing:
Andy Ellwood, director of business development, Gowalla | blog Location based anythings are quickly emerging to anythings and the ‘location based’ title is now becoming ubiquitous. As almost every device we use now includes a way to document location data, the questions of “should it include location” have been replaced with “how will it include location.” Brands that we worked with at Gowalla have spent the past two years exploring the nascent idea that their brand stories could be tied to locations and have learned how and where they want to be discovered and engaged with consumers on the go.
Jason Falls, author, speaker and CEO of Social Media Explorer The biggest news of 2011 has got to be the Whrrl acquisition by Groupon. The possibilities of the two of these companies coming up with some sort of location/daily deal hybrid is really intriguing. Of course, I would have thought we’d see something that was the result of that marriage by now, but still … I’m excited to see what they do and thought the acquisition was really interesting. The Facebook-Gowalla thing is too, but I figure that to be more of a talent acquisition than a functionality one. But I’ve been wrong before.
Eric Friedman, director of business development, foursquare | blog I am most excited about the launch of foursquare Radar – for us its the intersection of the right information to the right person at the right time and place. We created a wealth of tips and information from friends and brands, and Radar allows a way to deliver this info to someone when they are near a location they are interested in.
Eric Katerman, co-founder, Forecast Lots of consolidation in the checkin space last year: ebay buys WHERE, Whrrl goes to Groupon, Gowalla to Facebook. Foursquare won the check-in battle, but is checking in enough to keep users engaged? All are based on logging the past, keeping track of what has happened.
Jason Keath, founder & CEO, Socialfresh Foursquare stands atop a pile of their broken, sold, and dying competition when it comes to check-in apps. They won the sector a year ago and have now cemented their Jean Claude Van Damme dominance. Gowalla, WHERE and Whrrl where acquired and Facebook took a big step back. Revenue channels up, partners up, business support up, user growth steady.
Instagram has the steady growl of a 56 Chevy poised to take off of the start line. They are just getting started as the photo app to beat (15 million users in 1 year) and they are only on one of the top mobile platforms. They are the future of location, while the focus of the app is image sharing, location has been built in from day one, integrates with foursquare and Facebook, and picks up photo locations better than any app.
Asif Khan – president, Location Based Marketing Association 2011 has been an amazing year for location-based marketing. Perhaps amongst the biggest moves is the failure of Gowalla, the emergence of indoor location platforms like Shopkick, PointInside and BeeMedia and the consumers’ zeal for deals from LivingSocial and Groupon. Perhaps my favorite app for 2011 is Sonar. I attend a ton of conferences and Sonar correlates check-in data from Foursquare with LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook data about everyone else in the room, helping you network better.
Consolidation of meaningful players in the check-in space. Gowalla goes bye bye because Fourquare is the de-facto check-in app. (Although I bet Instgram is gaining on foursquare in terms of being the primary client through which people check in.) Whrrl goes to Groupon earlier in the year.
WHERE gets acquired by PayPal/eBay, as PayPal announces its strategy to offer users a way to pay anytime, anywhere, including now at retail. Validation for LBS in a big way – need to offer consumers ubiquitous access to great deals when and where relevant and allow them to pay however they want.
Paul Mabray, chief strategy officer, Vintank For me the biggest two factors was the understanding that location layers in data was important and seeing key platforms (e.g. Instagram) including them as “texture” to every post. Despite the naysayers, location as a layer is one of the most important elements that all apps/platforms should be integrating. Another key factor is the notion that we have limited time to use LOTS of platforms (even niche ones) and tools like Sonar demonstrated that asynchronous tools could be key factors to add value without forcing the user to leverage another platform. As an example imagine a platform like Foodspotting grabbing all your food data from Facebook, Twitter, etc and using that to build asynchronous suggestions for restaurants/dishes for you. This could be applied to books, movies, music, wine and more.
Biggest moves to me were Groupon aquiring Whrrl and Facebook aquiring Gowalla but not because of dollars or size, what made them interesting is that they were both talent and UX acquisitions.
Liz Philips, social media for TaylorMade, Adidas Golf & Ashworth | blog As someone that’s a bit of an outsider to the LBS space, here are a few thoughts:
The integration of deals (Living Social, Buy with Me, etc.) into foursquare this past year is very interesting. Finally, a way to both aggregate deals (thank goodness, my inbox sees about twenty Groupon-like deals every morning, I simply can’t sift through them) and serve them upbased on relevancy. If the deal is relevant, obviously there is a higher conversion rate. Foursquare’s platform serves as the “pipes” for these vendors to geo-target based on previous traffic patterns. This makes a lot of sense for both sides as well as for the consumer – a win/win/win all the way around.
As for new apps/platforms… haven’t been impressed with anything enough to call out – so I look forward to reading your post! LocalMind is a great idea but without users, no traction. Same thing with Wenzani (good idea but bad execution; needs hooks to other social platforms for both content as well as syndication for sharing. Haven’t tried LOQUL. I also started using Waze for scoping out traffic on my long commute – the idea is nice (social mobile app with real-time traffic updates from other users for an optimal commute) but after a few weeks of using it, I figured out that Google Maps with traffic worked just as well.
My pick for the best location app is… Glympse – though it came out a few years ago, the app is now available on more platforms. Glympse is a location tracking app where (as they say in their tagline) you can “share your where.” Basically the app turns your smartphone into a tracking beacon and you can selectively share your moving or static location with whoever needs to know (the person who’s waiting for you at a lunch date, your parents to prove you’re REALLY at the movies and not some party, etc). Getting into the habit of simply “sharing your where” would cut down on phone calls and texts etc in the time that typically precedes an IRL meet-up.
Simon Salt, CEO, author, Social Location Marketing and CEO, IncSlingers Whrrl to Groupon – a very bad move. Gowalla to Facebook – remains to be seen but overall the loss of Gowalla is a bad thing for the user base. The closing of Bizzy was a shame but shows that the space is probably crowded.
Mike Schneider, co-author Location-Based Marketing for Dummies, SVP digital incubator, Allen & Gerritsen | blog The coolest LBS apps of 2011:
1. LevelUp: Free cash for consumers (inverted deals) not enough? Acqusition, retention, insight and reduced interchange fees for the merchants, plus a view of behavior across locations. It’s epic.
2. Uber: Need a ride? Uber has one and you will ride in style. I call this the Trader Joe’s of transportation. You basically get your own limo driver for one ride. It finds you, it puts you in touch with a driver, you see that driver on the map, they come and get you, they take you where you need to go and the transaction happens cleanly in the background.
3. Path: OK, it’s not from 2011 technically, but Path 2.0 is like UX porn. It’s supposed to be an intimate network for just your closest friends but it turns out that it’s a pretty cool way to show people where you are and see what is happening in places. See, people only
4. Trover: No one is going to use it, but they should. On the surface it’s too close to instagram, but it’s supposed to only be the most awesome discoveries in the area. As you browse the photo stream, the icon turns from a guy walking to longboarding to biking to car to plane.
5. Forecast: These guys have future foursquare. The question is whether or not they are afraid to start monetizing. The benefits are obvious. They need a big brand to sign on.
6. Alfred: Cleversense showed us all how to do recommendation engines. It’s what Bizzy would have been if they had not spent time on the web experience. Google agrees. They gobbled them up.
7. foursquare: Yeah #fatdenny and the gang are still cool. The radar feature is pretty fun and their integration with American Express has raised a few eyebrows. They still need a few things (like impression metrics) to be taken seriously as part of the digital (mobile) media budget, but they did win the check-in wars and they do have one of the best platforms to build on top of (just ask Forecast).
8. Timehop: Your daily dose of what you did a year ago! It’s a smile-a-day.
Aaron Strout, co-author Location-Based Marketing for Dummies, head of location-based marketing, WCG | blog For me? The two biggest things I saw in location-based marketing are the hockey stick growth of smart phone ownership in the U.S. (up to nearly 50% from 30%) and Facebook’s decision to transition location from a service to a feature. What I’m starting to see is that while many run of the mill Facebook users aren’t inclined to open the app to “check in,” they are more inclined to add their location to a status or image upload.
Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure of presenting to about 75 business professionals at the Big Frontier conference in Chicago, Il. The event is run by Steve Lundin who is a peach of a guy and knows a thing or two about events (he’s been running them for 12+ years now). The goal of the conference is to feature 1-2 book authors who write about the innovative ways that businesses are evolving.
Originally, my colleague Bob Pearson, was supposed to present along with fellow author, Rick Mathieson. An immovable set of meetings combined with the fact that I too happen to be a book author (and know a thing or two about Bob’s book, Pre-Commerce) conspired to put me in the presenters seat at the event. After chatting with Bob and Steve, we decided to do a mashup — a best of so to speak — of Pre-Commerce and my upcoming book, Location-Based Marketing for Dummies.
What made my presentation relatively easy is that we live and breath the concepts from Bob’s Pre-Commerce book at WCG. It is also helpful that the idea of location-based marketing works nicely as a sub-discipline within Pre-Commerce. And lastly, location-based marketing fits perfectly across one of the most important core concepts of the book, namely the 4 A’s (which replace the 4 P’s), by providing ways for businesses to create greater awareness, assessment, action and ultimately ambassadorship for their products and services.
While I won’t share all of the slides I presented — you can find all the models, back-stories and anecdotes from Pre-Commerce in the book — I’ve incorporated three of the slides that really resonated below.
Based on the audience feedback, it appeared that the event was a success. It didn’t hurt that Rick picked up where I left off sharing several important trends from his latest book, The On-Demand Brand, including two that are near and dear to my heart i.e. mobile and augmented reality. My two favorite examples Rick shared were 1) the increasing importance of branded games (people like to play games) citing Burger King’s success with its Kings Game. It sold over 3 million copies and was linked to a direct increase in food sales at the locations where the game was sold and 2) the shopping experience of the future. This second example included not-too-far from reality concepts such as:
auto-checking in as you walk into the store (he had me at “check-in”)
receiving special offers based on your profile
sharing which clothes you are trying on with friends on Facebook and getting their opinion
watching videos of runway models wearing the item you are trying on background on design by the designers themselves
the ability to walk out of store while wearing the clothing you just tried on because you are already registered with the store and an RFID or NFC reader scans the item as you walk out
Have you read Pre-Commerce yet? Or On-Demand Brand? If you have, what’s your favorite model or example from the book?
Some things just go together like chocolate and peanut butter. I’d categorize the latest announcement by American Express and location-based services leader, foursquare as one of those combinations. If you follow the location-based services space at all, you might remember that Amex and foursquare partnered up for a trial run during South by Southwest (SXSW) back in March. The three day trial was an overwhelming success and obviously set the stage for the two companies’ latest announcement.
So what does this mean? Personally, I see this as a win/win/win for the location-based services space, both companies and in particular, their customers. Here’s how I see each stakeholder benefiting:
Location-based services – the fact that 161 year old American Express (also number 91 on Fortune’s most recent “500” list) is partnering with foursquare is a major validation to the whole location-based industry. In particular, it says that a company as big, old and well-known as Amex sees value in LBS.
Amex/foursquare – this makes Amex look younger and hipper and creates a loyalty 2.0-style program that is a key differentiator between them and the other credit card/FiServ companies. For foursquare, this further solidifies their positioning as the de facto leader in LBS.
The customer – where’s the downside of getting money back and additional rewards as a result of checking in? None that I can see. And I’ve talked to David Wolf at Amex, the man responsible for making this program happen, and he has assured me that there is next to zero security risk based on the way they’ve set up the program.
Being a realist, we still have a ways to go with the lead location-based provider boasting a mere 10 million members. But this is a start. Most importantly, it shows other companies that they can benefit from location-based services as well. What other companies need to jump into the LBS game before you’re a believer?