Checked In Lately? Learn a Lil’ More About Geo-Location Based Platforms

9 02 2012

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Originally posted on AMA Baltimore‘s blog, Checked In Lately? Learn a Lil’ More About Geo-Location Based Platforms

How many of you remember Carmen Sandiego? If not, I’m sure the classic theme song will help refresh your memory. Currently, with today’s geo-location based platforms, there’s a different theme song playing, for you and your friends. Where in the world is ________?

The digital space is changing for businesses, as it’s necessary to be up to date with the latest/greatest marketing trends to attract new customers and maintain existing relationships. We now have to be search engine optimized, social media optimized, and now with the growing trend of geo-location marketing, geographically optimized.

As technology continues to evolve, our lives tend to speed up. We’re always on the go, keeping busy and moving from activity to activity during our rat-race life. With the increasing use of mobile devices, specifically smartphones, individuals are spending more time commenting, sharing reviews, uploading photos, and posting statuses to social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

It’s likely that you’ve heard a friend or co-worker recently mention that they checked in. Did this confuse you? And are you wondering what all the hype is about foursquareFacebook Places, and Gowalla as well as the terms mayorship, badges, and pins?

Let’s learn a little more about geo-location based platforms. Location-based (or geolocation) social media is a way for posting recommendations, discovering what friends are doing, sharing photos, as well as receiving special treatment from favorite venues. Geosocial networking utilizes GPS coordinates to associate a user’s position with their activities. Users are able to connect their location (and/or events), which match their interests to enrich their social networking experience.

Foursquare and Gowalla, well known geo-location based platforms, were both founded in the United States within the last five years. Users can check in at venues through a mobile website, sending a text message, or using a device-specific application by selecting venues. By checking in users will be awarded points, badges or pins, depending on the platform. Foursquare is a popular geo-location based platform and maintains a large following with over 15 million users, rapidly growing since their launch in March 2009. This past December, Facebook purchased Gowalla, absorbing the management team behind the social guide to the world’s places and cities. The plans are for the service to be incorporated into Facebook’s recent release of their new Timeline, but Facebook is not acquiring the users’ data as this will be available for download prior to the Gowalla service winding down, as noted on Gowalla’s blog.

Why in the heck would you want a badge? Checking in and earning badges, provides that individual with a digital stamp that they’ve “unlocked” something special at that location and can now tout within their own circles. Think of it like bragging rights (since we’re all competitive to an extent), except with a digital trace back to that activity.

In April 2010, a new social campaign and partnership between VaynerMedia, led by Gary Vaynerchuk and the New Jersey Nets accomplished their market place objectives while delivering unexpected results. The campaign was early proof that geo-location marketing will succeed. VaynerMedia’s campaign included the three following tactical and strategic objectives:

  1. Proving what geo-location platforms can deliver in the event marketing space; demonstrating that with the right brand and incentive, proven results will be displayed.
  2. Confirming that geo-location is a viable marketing program option for the Nets’ rapid strategic marketing commitment to the utilization of social media platforms. And, as a result this would make the Nets the first sports team to embrace geo location within their marketing initiatives.
  3. Introduction of a new consumer target demographic to Nets basketball, while providing a superb experience for Gowalla users; using these two brands (the Nets and Gowalla) to partner and improve brand loyalty and brand equity at a low cost.

Find out more about the campaign, by reading the initial news article released by the Nets or by viewing the slide presentation posted by VaynerMedia.

What are your thoughts on geo-location based platforms, both from the user and business perspectives? Do you see them playing an integral role in your business? As a consumer, do you see yourself checking in and posting recommendations, discovering what your friends are up to, sharing photos, as well as receiving special treatment from your favorite venues?

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