Foursquare's Marketing Potential

Foursquare is the hottest “next big thing” in social networking and social media. I believe Foursquare has tons of potential for marketing, and we’re just beginning to see that potential.

To summarize, Foursquare users “check in” when they visit locations around town. Points are awarded for various activities — checking in, making multiple stops in a day, adding a new venue, making a repeat visit, or checking in on consecutive days. The points have no value (yet), badges (mostly frivolous) are awarded for achieving certain goals (also mostly frivolous), and “Mayorships” are awarded to the most frequent visitor at any location.

foursquare_logo_boy

It’s a game, an experiment, and mostly silly fun at this point. But that will change. Here are some ways Foursquare could emerge as a meaningful marketing channel:

Location-Based Offers

Imagine checking in at Starbucks and receiving an offer for a free coffee with purchase of a scone, or a coupon for 10% off at the neighboring bookstore. As a marketer, Foursquare could let you hyper-target your message to consumers at the precise moment they’re in your proximity.

Behavior-Based Offers

If you check in five times a week at McHooligan’s Neighborhood Pub, you provide valuable behavioral data to marketers. Expect a message (Promotion? Thank you note?) from Mr. McHooligan, and maybe an ad from Alcoholics Anonymous.

Shareable Promotions

This isn’t just mobile media — it’s social media, too. Foursquare could offer advertisers the option of letting you share a promotion with your friends. Think of it as a reward you can pass along, making your friends love you even more.

Loyalty Rewards

It’s nice to imagine all customers are equal. They’re not. Not to marketers, anyway. The customer who checks in from my place of business (and presumably spends money) most will be rewarded with better offers. Being Mayor has its perks.

Influence-Based Perks

Remember when the FTC imposed disclosure regulations on bloggers? Wait ’til they get their hands on Foursquare. Companies already want to give prominent bloggers and Twitterers perks in hopes of generating cheap, powerful publicity. It’ll happen on Foursquare, too. Let’s be honest: Somebody will check in daily from some location in exchange for gifts or cash, and those with the largest Foursquare networks will be the first targets for marketers.

Checklist-Based Marketing

Foursquare also lets you create “To-Do” lists, so it’s conceivable that a business could create a series of tasks for players to complete. Their could be rewards (coupons, upgrades, etc.) based on completion of certain tasks.

These are just a few ideas. There are plenty of ways businesses can benefit from mobile social networks. Check out Jason Keath’s post Foursquare Goes to College to see how UNC Charlotte is using Foursquare.

Where do you see this sort of geo-based social network heading? How would you use Foursquare with your business?

  • http://twitter.com/KevinBrindley Kevin Brindley

    I think your thoughts and projections are dead on. Foursquare appears to have huge marketing potential. Social media is allowing marketers to reach people interested in their products/services directly. Foursquare could take it one step further by adding the component of locating consumers interested in a product/service while that person is at the location of where that product/service is offered.

  • http://twitter.com/KevinBrindley Kevin Brindley

    I think your thoughts and projections are dead on. Foursquare appears to have huge marketing potential. Social media is allowing marketers to reach people interested in their products/services directly. Foursquare could take it one step further by adding the component of locating consumers interested in a product/service while that person is at the location of where that product/service is offered.

  • http://twitter.com/ginidietrich ginidietrich

    Brilliant. As always.

  • http://twitter.com/ginidietrich ginidietrich

    Brilliant. As always.

  • http://twitter.com/ginidietrich ginidietrich

    Brilliant. As always.

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  • etrauer

    A good potencial, but we've to take care with 'crimes' that could be related with the exactly locations of foursquare members.

  • etrauer

    A good potencial, but we've to take care with 'crimes' that could be related with the exactly locations of foursquare members.

  • http://www.patrickworkman.com/ Patrick Workman

    I think foursquare has the greatest potential for local advertising, more so than what search engine marketing is providing businesses. Being able to hyper-target campaigns to people in your backyard is what marketers have been dreaming of.

  • http://www.patrickworkman.com/ Patrick Workman

    I think foursquare has the greatest potential for local advertising, more so than what search engine marketing is providing businesses. Being able to hyper-target campaigns to people in your backyard is what marketers have been dreaming of.

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  • Anonymous

    I believe it can be, but I am still having issues when I present 4sqr to my new clients. I even explain to them that it is free. I hope more of the local business start to use more. I use it everywhere I go!

  • http://sellfromtheweb.com Sellfromtheweb

    the service is good but a bit limited by the number of smartphone users – good to at least have an account and promote it, may move in a good direction soon and definitely a growing user base…

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