I am a new comer to the digital game and have been devouring articles and information to find the areas that appeal to me the most. One thing that has particularly grabbed me though is location based marketing. There are a few reasons.
First , I have gone from not having a smart phone to not being able to live without one within the space of a year. Secondly, the success of discount based companies such as Groupon as shown that there really is a demand for deals in today’s economic climate. The final reason is curiosity. On the one hand I genuinely think that this could be a huge phenomena with people being able to avail of discounts based on their location and places they frequent. While businesses will be able to entice both new customers and ever increasing loyal customers to their store by putting out desirable discounts to those who choose to avail of them. But…. on the other hand I have to say I think there is just as much chance, particularly in Ireland, that it will never take off and consumer’s suspicions and business’s slow up take, meaning that it is doomed to be nothing more than a passing fad.
For location based social media to catch on and appeal to the mass market I feel there needs to be something in it for them. Sure, there might be a certain proportion of people who are satisfied by a social media interaction with a location focus. But for most people being the mayor of your local coffee shop loses most of its appeal unless you are rewarded for your troubles. In short businesses need to begin to participate with applications like Foursquare and Gowalla and offer rewards to people who are using them.
Geotoko, which was recently acquired by Hootsuite, is a location based marketing and analytic tool which allows businesses to easily run real time location based promotions. Looking at their onsite demo I think this could be a huge advance in encouraging business engagement in the process, by making it easier. I have contacted the company to request a demonstration and will update if I get the opportunity.
Foursquare and Gowalla seem to be at the forefront of location based check in applications right now. Foursquare was set up in 2009. Its two founders Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai had set up a previous location based tool called Dodgeball, which Google bought in 2005. Google eventually shut it down in 2009 replacing it with Google Latitude.
Gowalla was also formed in 2009 and is based out of Texas. It certainly doesnt have as high a profile in Ireland but seems to be gaining a bit of momentum now.
I am by no means an innovator when it comes to new technologies. I am the mass market. So what I have decided to do is run an experiment. I have recently signed up to Foursquare and have just this minute signed up to Gowalla. I am going to actively engage in both applications over the coming months and see how much they engage me. Will I be rewarded? Will it encourage me to go to locations more frequently or for the first time? And most importantly will I see potential in them as important future marketing tools in Ireland.
Right now on foursquare I have 14 check ins and two badges, giving me a grand total of 95 points. The closest check in location Gowalla allowed me was park 2 kilometres away!