Marketing tools change. The turn of the millenium gave us the first adoption of text message (SMS). 2005 – 2007, Facebook and Twitter launch to an audience of early adopters. 2010 saw the introduction of ‘Geo’ services. Foursquare, Gowalla, SimpleGeo and more are available on phones around the world for users to ‘check in’ and push their location to a select group of friends, or the world – Facebook Places officialises Geo as something that will become adopted, and become the fingerprint of our interaction in the next decade.
As a team of early adopters, Slipstream have been using and watching these services with some interest over the last 12 months, and following the launch of Facebook Places, and the latest versions of Gowalla and Foursquare, we can see the future for brand and context marketing looming.
Location is hot – and if it’s not hot for your brand now it should be. Location based marketing (promoting brands and offers based on knowing where a user is) is thrusting forward as the primary mechanic behind influencing users decisions and choices. Add to this the human gaming element (eg collecting badges as you check in, becoming the mayor, cashing in on offers) and we have a viral marketing tool that can run and integrate across the spectrum of Social Media.
Facebook places adds an extra dimension, the tagging of friends who are with you. This could be the catalyst that drives Geo at a speed we all need to keep up with, and with 550 million people to choose from, how better to get a personal relationship with each customer or visitor.
Geo / Location is happening now. It’s not just with the early adopters either. Regular users are joining the location craze with Facebook daily, and with over 200 million regular mobile users, that’s a market not to ignore.
So what to do? Take the plunge and jump in – now! Foursquare and Gowalla are small teams (growing quickly and here to stay), so register your brand locations now and wait for the response so you can start marketing your offers and social inducements. Offer loyalty to customers with the most check-ins (the Mayor!), and play the gaming mechanics to watch your brand messages spread virally around the location and social networks.
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