So when Daniel Burstein proposed this oh-so-witty blog debate about Foursquare, the first question I asked him was, “What’s in your pants?” Sure enough he whips out his keys and there is a flimsy plastic reward keychain (complete with barcode) for Native Sun, an organic foods market here in Jacksonville.
Carrying around a Native Sun loyalty card while questioning the wisdom of Foursquare is a prime example of how the duality of man is witnessed through marketing. “Your idea is stupid, while mine is smart (yet they are both the same).”
It’s good to be the mayor
Foursquare allows marketers to conduct loyalty programs without having to rely on customers carrying around yet another piece of pocket flare with a bar code. In fact, it’s the easiest, most customer-responsive way to have a loyalty program.
A good analogy would be a comparison between a pay-per-click (PPC) ad and a TV commercial. A PPC ad gives you continuous, real-time metrics that can be changed to react to new information on the fly. A TV commercial is a great chance to go grab a beer before getting back to the Jaguars game.
In the same vein, with Foursquare you can change your promotions in real time. Perhaps you decide your #1 fan (your “mayor”) gets some free food. You can change that overnight to giving a reward for every five times a customer visits your restaurant…or even giving a dollar off for every check in.
Also, how many plastic pieces of junk will Dan carry on his keychain to be rewarded for his loyalty? Since Native Sun was the only card on there, I’m guessing not many.
But man doth not live by (even organic) bread alone. With my iPhone, I check in anywhere using Foursquare and am rewarded for my loyalty. Thus a deeper set of marketers can have a relationship with me than just the local organic grocer Dan carries in his pocket.
So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice
Using Foursquare at retailers just scratches the surface. Unlike Dan’s synthetic keychain, when I say I can check-in anywhere using Foursquare, I really do mean anywhere – no bar code scanner required. This is where the possibilities really start to open up. No longer are loyalty programs only easy to pull off for retailers with inventory management systems.
Say you’re a golf course. All you have to do is sign up with Foursquare, and then you can give your mayor a free drink at the 19th hole. Even better – how about a parking space right at the front of the country club? This is another benefit of Foursquare, your customers fight for bragging rights.
Let your fingers do the walking
If you’re a local marketer, hopefully I’ve got you salivating already. Now here’s the biggest benefit I see – local search. If I’m hungry, I just whip out my iPhone and Foursquare tells me what deals are near me. Hey, a dollar off at Starbucks. Ooh, free chips and salsa at Chili’s.
This is a local marketers’ dream come true. I remember when running a TV ad for pizza around dinnertime was considered targeted. Foursquare blows the rabbit ears off of that strategy. You are able to target people near your location who are interested in your product. This was unthinkable just a few years ago!
Now go and learn
Of course, Foursquare is just starting and there’s a lot to learn. I wish we were at the point where we could give you test results. However, we are currently testing with Foursquare and hope to have results to share in the near future.
Oh, and Dan, perhaps you can get Native Sun to fix that pothole for you with some organic gravel. This mayor is out to lunch (and getting some free chips and salsa while I’m out.)
Daniel shared his opinion of Foursquare on Monday. You’ve just read what I thought. Now we want to hear what you have to say. Let us know how you use Foursquare or Groupon for marketing, if you think they have any value, or if you have a better local social media technique. We’ll publish the best answers right here on the blog in a future post.