Foursquare: the Future of Marketing

As a marketer of small businesses, I started using Foursquare with the sole purpose of learning how others were going to use it and make it successful. I checked-in to every place I was, places I wasn’t, got every badge I could find and every Mayorship.  I really wanted to see how business was going to use Foursquare’s tools.

Guess what? Marketers are now seeing the true power Foursquare has.

Pepsi and Von’s Grocery Stores are really moving the needle. When you register for a Von’s card and sync it with your Foursquare account, they’ll give you a free 2 litre of Pepsi.  So what? That’s nothing new, eh?

How about this then. . . when you swipe your Von’s card at check-out, you’ll automatically be checking in to Foursquare – which means all your online friends will see “Von’s”.  That’s some great advertising for Von’s. And to keep you “checking in” Von’s adds free stuff to your Von’s card based on your Mayorships, Badges and check-ins.

Imagine becoming the Mayor of your local Veterinary Clinic (which means you visit there often) and getting a dog food coupon from Von’s – automatically!  That kind of target marketing based on your social media preferences is surely changing the game.

The consumer gets rewarded over and over and over, Von’s gets publicity, Foursquare gets new users who check-in unconsciously, Pepsi gets word-of-mouth marketing like this and many times everyone gets a  plug on Twitter or Facebook. Win! Win!

Scoot on over to the Bellagio in Vegas.  The Bellagio has a team dedicated to monitoring social media sites like Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter for mentions of their name.  Guests who check-in on Foursquare, tweet their location or rave on Facebook get upgrades and rewards from The Bellagio. Mayorships and badges to them aren’t nearly the value of rewarding the “word-of-mouth” marketing guests do on their own.

Different from those two is Radio Shack and their holiday promotion. Instead of taking advantage of existing customers, Radio Shack and Foursquare created a “badge” that Foursquare users can earn when they go to Radio Shack and check-in.  The incentive of the “badge” wasn’t enough to drive sales, so the badge itself gives users 20% merchandise during the holidays.

For Radio Shack, they not only get new customers into the door using the coupon, but have their name on a badge on all Foursquare user’s phones, the internet, every Foursquare related website, press releases and more. From a driving traffic perspective, Radio Shack’s promotion is much more traffic-centric.

The Pepsi / Von’s promotion is certainly the most cutting edge. Connecting your grocery card to social media as a means of getting the Von’s name out there hundreds of times per day is genius. But then rewarding users based on their Foursquare habits – that’s over the top cool.

Please. . . please tell me if you know of any cool Foursquare promotions. Leave a comment below. I love hearing how business is using these new social media tools.

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