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LBSs are heating up!
Where are you right now?
It’s amazing how the location-based services (LBS) such as Foursquare, Gowalla, SCVNGR, Brightkite, Loopt and Whrrl have taken off. I’m personally realizing rather quickly the increase in number of “players” on Foursquare. Within the last two weeks I went from 32 mayorships to 21 (and gained a new one today!). My activity hasn’t changed – there’s just more people ousting me from my title J I love the competition – and am determined to get a few of those titles back!
So, why are people engaging in these LBSs? Is it increased familiarity, increased comfort and flexibility of friends knowing where they are (at their discretion, of course), the competitiveness of gaining points, titles and badges or simply the increase in smart phone subscribers (LBSs are available on iPhone, Blackberry and/or Android). It’s a combination of these reasons in addition to the WIIFM – what they get from participating businesses. On Foursquare, for example, a business participating may reward any customer who checks-in or is mayor of that location with a free appetizer, drink or $$ off special. Think about how many ways this could increase loyalty, the viral impact of just talking about it with friends, families and at conferences in addition to the extreme value and brand awareness if people are connecting their Foursquare check-ins to their Twitter and/or Facebook profiles. The relevant audience just expanded exponentially!
Businesses are participating in the “Special” opportunity however per this study the jury’s still out. Although Foursquare in particular isn’t considered a “must” in a company’s interactive marketing strategy [yet], it – and any of the other LBSs a company decides to participate – company’s should be hiring experts or training existing employees on the latest marketing technology and beginning to understand how their particular brand may benefit. These applications are for any business size.
Thinking through the past two years and what changes have taken place with Twitter, Facebook and I anticipate by year-end 2011 there will be many more playa’s in this space. Keep an eye on SCVNGR – in talking to one of their experts, SCVNGR is taking these apps to the next level by further engaging users in interactivity, gaming and major prizes by nationally recognized brands. Check out how a Toyota dealership and SCVNGR teamed up for a car give-away. Simply….awesome!
To find out more about each of these apps and how a business may benefit, Mashable published a great write-up in August 2010 that’s very succinct, quick and easy to read and more importantly provides a great understanding of the benefits of each. For more information on Foursquare, you can also check out a blog post I created in April 2010. Great as a Foursquare introduction.
Where do you anticipate usage and business participation of LBS applications in 2011?
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