Two articles today one in the NY Times and the other in the Wall Street Journal cover location based mobile advertising.
Using a tactic called Geo-Fencing a company called Placecast (http://www.placecast.net) has a platform of ‘location-triggered’ mobile marketing solutions. They ‘fence’ areas in cities and if you walk inside the fenced area and have signed up to receive messages from a marketer (in the case of the NY Times article the retailer The North Face is used as an example) the marketer by the use of the platform can text message offers, events and promotions. Visit http://nyti.ms/a5xLoR for the NY Times article.
The Wall Street Journal article also covers the combining of social media and marketing. Using a variety of platforms retailers can offer one-day promotions and offers. Visit http://bit.ly/9a1MKx for the Wall Street Journal article.
A 2008 start-up called FourSquare (www.foursquare.com) is a free application that allows participants to ‘check-in’ via a mobile application to essentially let their friends know where they are and in addition to racking up ‘points’ with individual retailers they also can be rewarded for frequenting eating and drinking establishments – even becoming ‘mayor’ if they go there enough.
I will readily admit that I don’t personally see the value in alerting my friends to where I am at any given moment. But I don’t live in the city and have not for some time. And when I was living in New York I was often surprised to run into people I knew at places and on the streets – not necessarily something one would think in a city of 8 million people.
For me I also don’t see myself signing up with retailers/merchants to receive offers from them when I step inside their geo-fence. But then again I’m a buyer not a shopper. And I personally am not so brand-driven but understand that I am in minority there.
Yet in terms of overall marketing strategy and engagement I think all these location based services are interesting, relevant and will shake out such that a few will emerge as regular every day parts of people’s lives – first primarily in cities but it will evolve beyond that as well to include people outside of cities.
2010 may not end up being the year of mobile but that ‘year’ is getting closer and maybe it does not make sense to anoint a year at all. After all why would we really care about which year is the year of mobile anyway?