Courtesy of Montreal Gazette
Dennis Crowley, cofounder and CEO of Foursquare, designed the app to make cities easier to navigate and more fun to explore.
Photograph by: JAY DIRECTO , AFP/Getty Images
It's Thursday, Dec. 20, 4:45 p.m. A quick check-in with Foursquare to geo-locate your friends and, voila, within 30 minutes, the group gathers at a downtown bar for a celebratory cocktail.
All of a sudden, your phone vibrates. It's an ad from the jeweler across the street. For the next four hours, until closing, all items are 60 per cent off.
By 7 p.m., your friends have scattered and you trot across the street just to have a look. With only five days left till Christmas, it's now or never.
Welcome to "geo-marketing."
A March 2010 article in Search Engine Journal by Melih Oztalay describes this trend.
"While geo marketing's definition is the association of data and maps in the traditional sense, the added convergence of local business listings, mobile marketing and social media makes this method of marketing more powerful than ever before. This marketing tool is no longer just a large business marketing tool, but is available to small and medium-size businesses too."
With 65 per cent of social media users gone mobile, Philippe Bertrand, an associate at Odacia, a Montreal Web marketing firm, sees geo-marketing not just as a trend but as a paradigm shift.
"Consumer mobility is the largest revolution since the last industrial revolution. Advertisers are now able to pinpoint their consumers using social networking sites such as Foursquare. More and more, direct and specific marketing campaigns will be using geo-localization tools," Bertrand says.
Dennis Crowley, cofounder and CEO of Foursquare, designed the app to make cities easier to navigate and more fun to explore. The check-in aspect was the launching pad for all kinds of fun and games to entice users to interact with the site by offering their photos, recommendations and comments on city sites and eateries.
At foursquare.com, a local restaurant advertises, "Check in with two of your Foursquare friends and get a free dessert." Therein lies the beauty: a revenue model that signs up local businesses who then provide deals for users.
Bertrand is enthusiastic about the possibilities. "Geo-marketing enables small businesses to benefit from valuable word-of-mouth as the people who like them check in and tell their whole network about their positive experience. By endorsing the retailer or restaurant, they create an even stronger bond with that business.
Yelp goes even farther, hosting monthly parties for users who submit the best reviews."
Welcome to the new social, local, mobile world.