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The value of the check in using location based services for businesses and customers. Time to measure those check-ins

This a comment turned into a blog post. History:
Morgan Siem (@morgansiem) the Social Media Strategist at Media Two wrote a very interesting blog post about the launch of the Starbucks mayor check in special. In full disclosure TriOut is working with Media Two on a current check in special for one of their clients and when Starbucks announced their mayor promotion I think both of us were impressed with the campaign being we understand the work and training that it takes to launch a national check in promotion. The blog post is called Rewarding Foursquare Mayors Nationwide, it’s a great read for any marketing agency or business looking to start a location based marketing promotion. Here’s a brief excerpt

“Businesses have begun to recognize the value of these location-based games, because users are broadcasting information about the businesses to all of their online friends. When users check in on Foursquare, they have the option to send that information to: 1) their Foursquare friends, 2) their Facebook friends, 3) their Twitter friends or 4) all of the above. That in itself is a goldmine for businesses.”

There are now 11 awesome comments to the post along with a few TriOut mentions, match that with the fact we’re working with a few agencies and businesses looking to take advantage of location based marketing, along with a tweet reminder from Morgan, I decided to leave a comment addressing a few topics discussed. Below are my thoughts on the comments and Morgan’s post on “Rewarding Foursquare Mayors Nationwide”

Dear @triout @lawpower @waynesutton – the last comment is calling your name 🙂 May 25 19:13:31 via Argyle Social

The challenges of training employees for check-in promotions
Morgan awesome post and you know I understand about the challenges of starting a location promotion for businesses. I meet Timothy Frommer, Starbucks Online Category Manger a few weeks ago at the SAS Global Forum and asked him about the very issues of training employees on national marketing campaigns. His answer? It’s tough but it starts from the corporate head then down to the retail stores with a lot of training. Here’s a link to the video where Tim was on the Social media round-table with apparel retailer panel at the SAS Global Forum.

With that being said Morgan I think Starbucks biggest advantages are taking risk, hiring smart, planning, training well and being able to upgrade their POS software and/or having a good one for workers to understand and use.

What happened to the text message/SMS location-based marketing?
Dan: Thanks for the plug, I was a little surprised by the questions in Charlotte at Search Exchange from my location-based marketing measuring the check-ins talk. I feel as thought the location industry in terms of marketing will be different than others because of how many services there are now and launching every day along with the privacy concerns. You mentioned the capability of receiving a SMS when walking by stores and that no business has taken that approach. Well get ready the because it’s back, so be careful when you’re “checking out” and they ask for your phone number. I think timing was off and technology wasn’t ready a few years ago but a company called Placecast is now offering the service with a few national brands called “Shop Alerts”. It uses your mobile phone GPS or cell tower to alert you when you’re near a brand’s location and can send you an instant SMS promotion. All opt-in of course… Dan can I have your phone number please?

Should employees check-in on the job?
Lisa: Good suggestions and you’re right depending on the location/job and if a company is has a check-in promotion they should advise there employees not to check-in. Maybe we’ll start seeing a no-check rule add to companies social media policy soon. But I think it will be a case by case situation for now and most location-based platforms have not configured or created a “mark user profile employee” option or a GPS at work during this time don’t count my check-in option but it’s something to think about. Yes, the Triangle, NC community is just awesome and very check-in “Geo” aware.

Why should the Mayor have all the fun? I thought every customer was important…
Jay, Phil & Brian: When TriOut works with businesses/agencies, we usually don’t suggest a “mayor” or (key-holder for TriOut) promotion. Although those have there value we believe every customer who checks in at a location is important and should/could be rewarded for doing so. I’m aware of the changing algorithm for the other platforms but still I hear people say, “I’ll never be the mayor” and what’s the value of checking in all the time. People want instant gratification for checking in. Checking in is work, it’s opt-in and a check-in is “almost” like clicking on a Facebook like button but with more meaning. A check-in can say to a business I’m here and I like your venue but then comes the interaction part when a business can reward any user for checking in. Also businesses must monitor check-ins for customer support to keep those users returning, posting positive content about the business regardless if they’re the mayor or not. Should only the mayor get rewarded for doing so? I don’t think so.

A business might have a mayor with a influence of 10 people and the customer who visits a location once every two weeks who has an influence of 1000. I know most business would like to know who has the higher influence when they check-in but with location-bases marketing its safer and smarter to focus on providing good customer service to any user who checks in at your location not just the frequent visitor.

Measuring the ROI of a location-based marketing/check-ins for users and businesses.
Bobby & Morgan: Thanks for the TriOut plug: If you think the conversation about the ROI of social media is a mess wait until more conversations on the ROI of a location-based marketing/promotions or check-ins start to heat up. Also I’m guessing there’s some data/user agreement for the Starbucks promotion because there has to has to be a way to measure the success or failure of their location check-in special. That’s where our TriOut For Businesses (TFB) check-in analytics dashboard comes into play. We want to provide a way for business to see the value in having a location-based promotion and help business offer value to their customers for checking in. That way it’s a win for both the business and the customer. Right now I feel as though some businesses are trying to do push guess marketing in the location industry without having the right conversations about measuring a location-based promotion. Our goal with TriOut is to have those conversations. It has been great to work with both Morgan (Media Two) and Bobby (MMI Public Relations) on their clients efforts to make sure they’re current check-in promotions are a success. Fingers crosses!

Is it about the LBS platforms or how can businesses engage better with their customers among many opportunities of location based marketing?
We’re just getting started with location-based marketing and Facebook, Google and more are launching something new every day. I don’t believe one location platform/social network is going to be the end all solution especially for small niche business but it will be more about how businesses can take advantage of location-based marketing across the board with their existing marketing efforts using various platforms learning more about their current customers to offer target location based check in specials.

My 2cents. If you’re wondering who Jay @jaydolan , Lisa @lisasullivan , Phil @1918 , Brain @bmcd67 , Bobby @bobbymcdonald . are read the blog post that lead to the comment that lead to this blog post here: Rewarding Foursquare Mayors Nationwide by Morgan.

What are you thoughts on the location based industry and how can businesses provide more value to customers using location based services?


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