Location-Based Marketing Is More Than a Foursquare Game

The next time your boss insists you create a Foursquare scavenger hunt to make your brand “fun,” ask yourself who your audience is and what they’ll get out of the experience. Using location-based services such as Foursquare to build your brand is all about providing useful content like deals and offers, not games and status points, according to Geoff Ramsey, CEO and founder of eMarketer, who hosted a September 19 breakfast, “Location-Based Marketing: Driving Sales in a ‘What’s Around Me?’ World.”

According to Ramsey, eMarketer data show that Foursquare usage is leveling off and that gaming experiences on Foursquare “are getting old for consumers.” In fact, local check-in “is not the huge opportunity that the media was making it out to be.” His discussion suggests marketers need to first understand the audience for location-based services and provide valuable content they’ll care about. The hot areas of opportunity are geo-fencing (e.g., a¬†clothing retailer on Michigan Avenue in Chicago offers you a deal on your smart phone as you stroll past the store on your way to lunch) and in-store (marketing to consumers as they use their mobile devices to browse the inventory in your physical store — and catching their attention with value-added services and deals that encourage immediate purchase).

On the iCrossing Great Finds blog, I provide a lengthier report on Ramsey’s points. Check it out, and I invite your feedback.