Tag Archives: Location-based

What Portishead can teach us about Foursquare

Back in 1995, cult English ‘trip hop’ act Portishead released the single ‘Glory Box’, a song in which lead singer Beth Gibbons continually begged the question:

“Give me a reason, to love you.”

This is a beautiful song on a seminal album, especially to someone of my generation.  But what does this melody have to do with social media, and more pertinently, check-in apps such as Foursquare?

Well, just like Beth Gibbons, social media users also need ‘a reason’ to check-in; yet so few businesses and brands are giving anyone that elusive reason.

Since I’ve been using Foursquare, I’ve amassed a whopping 929 check-ins, held down plenty of mayorships (currently 10) and earned 15 ‘badges’:

Yet despite all of this fervent checking-in, I’ve received no tangible ‘value’ whatsoever.


I read with interest today that Foursquare has just signed a deal with American Express that will offer users discounts when they check into places and use their Amex card – BINGO!!!  Here we have actual motivation to check-in!!

Since the accounts will be synched with the users’ Amex accounts, marketers will also be able to see how many people are checking-in and where, what they are purchasing and how much they are spending, providing some tangible ROI and insightful analytics.

Hopefully this is just the start.  Mobile is THE future, yet remains very much entrenched in the present, when there is so much that could be achieved:

  • Greater in-store interaction through the use of QR codes to further research products?
  • Check-in to receive exclusive vouchers?
  • Review a product / store on Foursquare to receive an exclusive product?
  • Affiliate deals for local communities, e.g. ‘since you’ve checked in at Bob’s Boutique, you can get a £1 coffee at Sheila’s Slurps next door’?

I’m truly excited about the mobile space, especially the potential it has to make shopping a more social experience.  But just as Portishead sang all those years ago, for mobile check-ins to be a marketing success, applications have to offer consumers ‘a reason’ – and good ones at that.

Here’s Portishead’s classic ‘Glory Box’ – enjoy!



Converting Customers: The Digital Drip-Feed

You can’t deny it: social media does lack the grandeur held by an emotive, sweeping TV advert; lacks the visual ‘punch’ of a colossal billboard passed by hundreds of thousands of people every day.  Which I presume, is why so many people question its relative value as a marketing investment; especially considering the ROI debate continues to rumble on.

However, social media is rapidly becoming part of an integrated digital subculture that underpins our lives as consumers.  Our daily routines are now stitched together by a variety of different digital devices.  I walk to work in the morning and browse Twitter.  I ‘check in’ to a coffee shop on Foursquare.  I tag friends at a restaurant on Facebook in the evening.  Social media is a way of life, offering touch-points throughout the day.

And it’s this ‘digital drip-feed’ that makes social media so effective.

Today sees the launch of the UK version of ‘Facebook Deals’, with Starbucks, Mazda and Argos all signed up from the off.  The premise is simple: ‘check-in’ and receive discounts, offers and deals.  This symbiotic relationship offers brands a glut of digital buzz, whilst consumers benefit from some great promotions, leading to retention brand advocacy.

I’ve yet to find someone who doesn’t adore Guinness’ ‘horses’ advert.  Yet on a day-to-day level, will that make me go out and drink a pint of Guinness?  Probably not.  However, if faced with two high street coffee shops and my mobile device offers me a coffee for £1 just for checking in, I know which one I’d choose.

So with Facebook deals set for lift off in the UK, it’s worth remembering that social media is SO important as part of an integrated marketing strategy.  Cinematic, orchestral, art house adverts that tug at the soul may well get your brand some exposure.

It’s the digital drip-feed that converts them into paying customers however.

(CC image courtesy of GollyGForce on Flickr.)