Has Geo-Location found its place in the marketing world?

Geo-location services have been around for a while now since the introduction of smartphones and it has recently, thanks in part to applications like Foursquare and Gowalla, become a mainstream activity with the public. I remember the days that there were only 30 or so people using it in Manchester. As with everything that starts to become a popular activity the marketers around the world, including myself, look at how we can utilise it in our marketing activity.

Certain functionality within Foursquare make it possible create special offers for the major of the location or rewards for checking into a chosen location a certain number of times. An example of this is Starbucks, who created a special Foursquare badge (The Baristas Badge) which is unlocked when the user checks in at 5 different Starbucks locations. Although this technique has been popular it is limited to organisations that have many locations that are generally on the high street and main purpose has been to increase foot traffic more and more companies in recent month people have been finding new ways to use Geo-location services.

Foursquare now has a “Partner” program which allows a company to create a profile, which foursquare users can follow, and suggest locations to their followers where they can award special badges and prizes. Badges can be awarded to people who check-in at the required number of locations and contain a message with them informing the receiver of the campaign objective.

Conan O’Brian Foursquare Campaign

Conan Blimp BadgeOne successful campaign has been the Conan O’Brian Big Orange Blimp, where an advertising blimp was given a social media edge by assigning it a Foursquare location and an exclusive badge, called the Conan BlimpSpotter, that is awarded when you follow the Conan O’Brian team on Foursquare and check-in at the blimp.

The Blimp visited a number of areas during its tour up the east coast of America to New York, including many sporting events where people could see the blimp in the sky. If the blimp was in a user’s area then they could check-in and receive the badge and a notification about the launch of the new season of The Conan O’Brian Show on NBC.

In the month that the Blimp travelled around the east coast it had 14,569 check-ins from 9,967 unique people.

Mazda 2 – Win a car with Foursquare

Mazda have launched a campaign to win the biggest prize ever featured on foursquare, a Mazda 2 worth $15,000. A car manufacturer using Foursquare to promote its latest car seemed to be an odd collaboration with the only locations related to cars being showrooms and maybe race tracks. Mazda have taken a different approach and teamed up with the Soul singer Mayer Hawthorn to create a Foursquare campaign that encouraged people to go to Hawthorn’s performances and informed people about the new Mazda 2.Mazda Foursquare Badges

For a chance to win a Mazda 2 Foursquare users need to follow the MazdaUSA profile to find out where they can collect the badges required to be entered into the competition. For this campaign Mazda have design 4 special badges for people to collect, 3 of which they get when they check into different locations where Mayer is performing. The user needs to obtain 2 badges to receive the 4th badge which contains information on how to enter into the final part of the competition. Throughout the process of going to new locations and receiving the badges the user is supplied with information on the Mazda 2 helping to spread the campaign message.

Geolocation provides marketers with an interesting tool where instead of creating a message and positioning it at places where you hope it will be exposed to the target audience, we are able to get the audience to actively seek out our messages because they are attached to something that they consider to be of worth. It will be interesting to see what other companies do with these services in the near future.