Yes, I dabble in Foursquare, although it hasn’t provided me with any substantial benefits like free nachos.
According to the New York Times, marketers are paying attention. Here’s a pretty creepy quote from B. Benin Bough, director of Social and Emerging Media for Pepsi:
“If you check into work, then you leave work, you check into a bank and then you check into a store, that’s a behavior that, in aggregate, we might use to transform the way we market to you in the offline world,” Mr. Bough said. “We might see dayparts that are more likely for you to check out of some place and go to the store, and we might do advertising during that specific daypart in that specific place.”
Because consumers are electing to broadcast their location and signing up for these services, the privacy concerns aren’t enormous, another plus for marketers.
While Foursquare has a relatively small user base of about one million, the tactics companies are experimenting with could be extended to customers with a GPS-enabled smartphone, the companies say. Pepsi, in addition to beginning a Foursquare program, is also introducing a location-based iPhone application called Pepsi Loot through which customers can collect points toward free music downloads.
Check into a bank? Sure you can. But you’re telling the whole world about it, and the whole world isn’t trustworthy. It’s amazing what information people will give out when they think they’re getting something for it. It just confirms what my recent Talent Zoo article says: marketers are dangling the carrots, and we’re happy to snack on them.