Local Social Media Marketing: What’s in your pants? Not Foursquare.


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.

armLet 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.

Related Resources

Local Social Media Marketing: Obama is not the mayor of the White House

Antisocial Media: Social media marketing success does not lie in you

Social Media Marketing Human Factor: Finding the right person for the job

Photo attribution: dpstyles™
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  1. Omega 3 Supplements says

    I am excited to see where Foursquare ends up. They are obviously onto something, Facebook is hijacking their idea.

  2. Marius P says

    Wow. it looks like twitter. Actually i never heard about Foursquare, i will definately create account with them.

  3. Foursquare not sure about the name but the concept is spot on. Geo targetting for businesses with a local competitive element for users. Already notices a battle to be mayor of our local pub/ restaurant The Cock in Pavenham a small north Bedfordshire village.

  4. David H says

    I’ve been on Foursquare for about 6 months now. Great potential. There is one, potentially significant, challenge faced by Foursquare. That challenge is accurate positioning. I’ve found that there are days when I’m sitting in my favorite pub (of which I am the Mayor) and I use my Android to open Foursquare and it tells me I’m still 835 meters away. (That’s almost a half a mile) This is while I’m sitting at the bar. I’ve also found this to be an issue at new venues. This weekend I was sitting in a Dunkin Donuts and searched for nearby venues. This particular DD was not showing in my list of nearby places. Just to be sure, I decided to do a search and, sure enough, there it was showing as only 17 meters away. I don’t know if it is an issue with the way Foursquare interacts with my Android or if it is an issue with Foursquare’s positioning. But, it could be a problem for marketers if I’m standing in front of their shop and they have great deals to entice me inside and Foursquare doesn’t show me that the place is anywhere nearby.

  5. Michael says

    Great Blog Post – I have tried to think of ideas that Comedy Clubs can use new networks like FourSquare and Groupon to their benefit. It’s not always easy explaining to people how Foursquare can benefit them and this article does a nice job

  6. Doug Kevilus says

    So did Foursquare ever become a major player in this space? Seems like with so many other apps out today I never do hear about Foursquare anymore. Did they fail to keep up?

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