Droppin’ Dropps: Location-Based Marketing Is Coming

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An app was recetly released for the iPhone called Dropp (yes, another start up with repeated letter in the name). The app lets you leave “dropps”, or small messages, anywhere in the world. That’s right, the world. The app displays Google maps and lets you drag a location pin anywhere on the planet you want and then attach a written message or photo. When someone else with Dropp installed on their phone gets close enough to where you left your dropp, they get a message on their phone that says, “You unlocked a new Dropp!” You can then view the message or picture from your phone (the picture on the right is the dropp you’ll see if you ever come visit us, which you should). The website suggests using Dropp to:

– Give a friend a virtual tour of a city you’ve been to on the other side of the world by leaving dropps in places you know they’ll visit.

– Leave a romantic note in an unexpected place.
– Recommend a menu item for a friend when they visit your favorite restaurant.
– Leave notes for yourself around town.
– Leave a reminder for your significant other at the grocery store to pick up the milk!
– Scavenger hunts!

Cool huh? And of course, the possibilities for word of mouth marketing are pretty obvious. Leave a Dropp by big malls encouraging people when they walk in to try out your product or offering a promotion. Tweet from your brand account that there is a dropp somewhere with a special prize for the person to find it. This could be a great way to interact with consumers… or it could be very annoying. I don’t want my phone to blow up with 100 messages every time I go to the mall. As location and recognition type technologies get more prevalent we’re going to have to find a balance, a clear case of not always doing something simply because we can.

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Reality Check About Location-Based Marketing

A new Fast Company article reports that the average revenue bump from location-based social media campaigns (Facebook Places, Foursquare) is about 2%.

“Aw drat, guess we should throw in the towel on all that nonsense and start stapling fliers to telephone poles!”

Well not so fast. Foursquare launched in March 2009 and Facebook Places launched in August 2010. These are new services being used by a niche audience. Should we be surprised that deals on Facebook Places aren’t bringing in epic 76% revenue bumps? It’s an unfamiliar form of advertising with a small audience. We should set our expectations accordingly and continue to learn while we still have room to make mistakes.

And like the article says, “there isn’t necessarily anything risky for offering a check-in deal through Foursquare or Facebook,” so why not give it a shot?

The Wave of the Future: Geo-Networking Services (and thus local advertising opportunities)

In the marketing and advertising world, we must admit that we are always looking ahead for the next big thing. A few years ago, it was text marketing. Now, it is social media and mobile marketing. Emerging slowly, but with some force, is the use of geo-location services to reach and reward our audiences in new and unique ways.

Geo-networking Platforms

The combination of location based services and social networking are now represented on platforms such as FourSquare and Gowalla. And according to an article in the May 10 edition of Advertising Age, Facebook is setting up its very own location based capabilities. And with a platform as large as Facebook, which adds millions of users each day, location based marketing might take off on an entirely new level.

McDonald’s is said to be one of the first to sign up, allowing users to “check-in” at restaurants and share their food choices with their networks. This function will be going live shortly after Facebook releases its location based functionality.

Benefits

While location based marketing is still in the experimental phase, it brings great advantages to marketers. It gives you the power to communicate with an audience on an entirely different level. You can reward them for “checking in” with promotions, offers, or coupons at your store location (a la foursquare). You can also give them the ability to share what they love about your brand, service, or product with their friends, while they are at your brick-and-mortar locations. This helps your customers pass the word on even faster (beware: even if it’s negative!). Geo-location services are turning physical places into virtual avenues of communication.

Location based services are great for local businesses, too, allowing small business chains to reward their most loyal customers. They offer special promotions and offers to those that come into their store or restaurant the most often. It is a brilliant idea for driving foot traffic into the store, and making that experience an interactive one.

Concerns

While Facebook’s upcoming implementation of location based functionality might mean big things for marketers and consumers, there are some serious privacy concerns for users. With the overwhelming amount of negative feedback that Facebook received for their default privacy settings and Open Graph idea, we can conclude that users might not like the capability of letting their entire network know where they are and what they are doing. But hopefully, Facebook will allow share options once the location functionality goes live.

The Future

In most cases, location functionality is opening the door for further communication between marketers and an audience. More so, it attempts to bridge the physical gap between a company and its consumers. With the increasing interest in platforms like FourSquare, and the soon-to-be released Facebook location features, we may be looking at a new marketing phenomenon that will become part of the communication norm.

9 Great Tips for Local Businesses

Usually we write blog posts, hoping that you will stay here at our blog, poke around a bit, and if we are lucky, visit our website. But the purpose of this post is solely to send you to another blog. It’s not just any blog, it’s one of our favorites, Mashable.com.

Shane Snow at Mashable wrote an article containing 9 tips for location-based marketing. Small local businesses can now draw a more direct link between their social media presence and their sales.

We’ve checked out the list of tips, and we totally love them. Here they are, just in case you are lazy, but we highly suggest you go check out the full blog post.

1. Learn the Platforms (duh)

2. Determine Your Goals

3. Establish Your Presence

4. Customize

5. Implement Compelling Promotions

6. Engage With Your Customers

7. Track Everything

8. Be Prepared to Adapt

9. Avoid Common Pitfalls

So there they are. We’d elaborate, but we think Shane summed everything up pretty well. So go check it out, and let us know if you have any questions. If you are a local business, there are 11ty (pronounced “eleven-ty”) billion reasons why you should be using social media. We’d love to tell you why. Shoot us an email, tweet at us, post on our facebook wall, call us…you get the idea.