Friday, June 4, 2010

Local Search on Mobile drives New Loyalty Solutions

There’s been a lot of buzz recently about Foursquare among advertisers trying out new mobile tools to reach their audience.You must have heard about it by now (for those who haven't, here’s a short overview of Forsquare). I’ve heard many people predicting a great deal of advantages that Foursquare and other location-based services (Gowalla,Loopt in,etc) will bring along for Social Media marketing and local businesses. While the predictions seem to have solid grounds, I'm more inclined to think that main beneficiaries are going to be small, unique businesses with a niche market or very targeted offering.

The truth is that we've already witnessed examples of successful integration of geo-location tools into big brands' marketing/promotional strategies:

, for example, which has established a suite of tools tailored for social media and mobile phones, is currently rolling out an app, Loopt Star, which basically acts as a "virtual loyalty card":

  • Starbucks – The person who checks in to any individual Starbucks the most becomes the “Honorary Barista” of that Starbucks (similar to Forsquare model for "the city/location mayor")
  • Universal Music Group – By checking in to any qualifying bar in the United States with two other Facebook friends, you'd get access to five free MP3s from popular Universal Music artists, such as Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Mos Def.
  • The Gap – By checking in twice to any Gap adult store you would instantly receive 25% off your purchase (within a set timeframe).
  • Stanford University – By checking in to qualifying 2010 Commencement events you get a chance to win a special graduation gift, etc.
In terms of the results, you'd be amazed to find out that Gap alone made its application available to an audience of 3.4 million members. Additional benefit was the fact that mobile phone owners could sign up to Loopt Star via Facebook Connect, meaning they could share information on the social network. Ineterstingly enough, Loopt geo-location app is linked directly to Facebook, so that the user doesn't have to leave the platform for additional connections:

"Local is different from search in that you're not looking for new things. It's more about turning existing customers into better customers, rather than gaining new customers as in search ," said Sam Altman, chief executive of Loopt.

"It's more about going to the local place you've been to before, like Starbucks or Burger King. It's more about turning existing customers into better customers, rather than gaining new customers as in search" ,said Sam Altman, chief executive of Loopt (as reported by WARC):

In conclusion, here're my 5 take-aways for the benefits of using geo-location tools in the overall marketing strategy:

  • turning potential customers into more loyal ones (aiming to stir both check-ins (similar to clicks in PPC) and purchases );
  • personalized offers to the tastes of clientele (entitling customers to receive exclussive deals and rewards (e.g."Mayor" at Forsquare, "Honorary Batista" at Loopt, etc)
  • strong "gaming" element - entertainment is key (when mixed up with "social" element - becomes even more effective);
  • relevant offers based on previous purchase history data (when your mobile purchases are being tracked);
  • exclussive opportunity to analyze consumers' buying behavior.
Anyway, using social media is a no-brainer. All you need to consider is your audience and where they're "hanging out" be that online,offline or mobile. Than - joining the conversation is more than recommended (a dynamic brand doesn't need a "special invitation" to jump out when an opportunity shows up). Remember, you need the skill to create awareness of your products without even mentioning that you have something to sell in the first place.

It's all about talking to your consumers & engaging with them (using tools that are both relevant and entertaining) and not broadcasting to them.

So, what would you say? Would local services integrated into mobile devices deliver new loyalty solutions?

Eager to hear. Don't forget we're always welcoming your ideas on the menus for future digital lunches!


Nadya @Digilunch
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Anonymous said...

Mobile marketing gets more important nowadays, especially when considering its unique personalized features. would be great to learn more on its ROI,too. totally agree with you on the importance of talking vs.broadcasting.

Nadya on June 10, 2010 at 2:00 PM said...

Thank you!! Glad you find the article useful, come by more often.


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