Archive for the 'location data' Category


Four Ways to Improve Foursquare

Foursquare, the location-based social media service, has implemented two significant improvements to the service. They have integrated with Groupon to identify when a discounted offer is available for a specific location. Also, they have made home addresses private, which will hopefully mean fewer sites like ‘Please Rob Me’ mocking social media over sharing and identifying when you are not at home.

In the spirit of helping make the service better, here are four ways that Foursquare can become a better social media experience for users, businesses and opportunity for marketers:

  1. The establishment/location should be alerted that a user has checked in. Whether the store manager gets a text message or there is access to a group Twitter account, someone at the location should know when a Foursquare user has checked into their establishment. There is one location that I have been the mayor for more than six months and visited for 28 straight weeks with at least one check in per week. So far, ZERO acknowledgement from management.  The marketer in me wants them to know I am loyal and in return they should consider providing some recognition that will encourage me to spread news by word of mouth or social media. I know this will not be popular with all establishments, as I have heard from retailers that they do not want to ‘pay’ Foursquare to recognize someone that has already entered their store.
  2. The leaderboard and points are irrelevant – connect them to something of worth or simply eliminate them. This is the portion of Foursquare that feels like a frequent flyer program as I accumulate points with every check-in; but there is no cashing in my points for a romantic getaway to Napa Valley. In fact, the most often question I am asked by a non-foursquare adopter is, “A 5 point check-in? What did that get you?” I would be in favor of a donating my points to a charity and that charity can redeem the points for a monetary donation. But, for that to happen, the points need to mean something.
  3. Create another layer of recognition besides mayor. Foursquare has designated the person with the most check-ins over a rolling two-month period as the mayor. Since many locations are offering specials and discounts to the person holding the mayorship, it can be desirable to be the mayor. However, there are many valuable, loyal customers that cannot breakthrough to become mayor of a location. For today’s purpose, let’s call them a patron. Establishments should consider a loyalty bonus for a patron based on repeat visits over a short period. The offer can be less than the mayor’s offer to encourage a patron to strive to mayorship and still recognize the patron for being a valued customer.
  4. Enrich the experience at events. On Nov. 17, I am attending the Thursday night NFL game between the New York Jets and the Denver Broncos. Wouldn’t it be great to have a video highlight from the game broadcast for someone viewing my check in? You know, actually sharing information. This summer, I attended the Peter Gabriel concert at Red Rocks. When I checked into the event it would have been great to have a live video link for others to share the experience, a connection to his Facebook or My Space page or at least a link to iTunes to allow someone to purchase music. This is also an opportunity for ‘Swarming,’ Foursquare’s moniker for a location with a lot of concurrent check-ins. The idea is: everybody is here, you should be too! However, if I am engaged at a great networking event or an awesome happy hour, I am way too busy to check-in. How swarming can someplace be if you are stopping to tell everybody about it? There should be an automatic check in Foursquare pre-set option. For example, if my phone is at a place for 20 minutes with 200 other Foursquare users, it automatically checks me in – and you’ll know it’s really swarming.

We are convinced that location-based social media can be a powerful marketing tool. Many of our franchise clients would benefit greatly from a robust location-based program, but only if they can see a spike in repeat visitors.

Have you had good experiences with Foursquare? Want to add to this list, share your thoughts here or on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us on Twitter at @Weise_Ideas.


When Black Friday and Location-based Social Media Mix, Consumers win if they can stand the heat

Denver-based Sports Authority is launching a very interesting Black Friday Foursquare promotion, and they are not alone. Other retailers like Pepsi, JC Penney, Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy are getting in the game as well.

Sports Authority is giving away $500 gift cards to 20 randomly selected people who use Foursquare to check in at one of its stores on Black Friday. Participants are required to publish the check-in on Twitter to have a chance to win, and the promotion runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST. When someone wins the $500 gift card at one of its 463 U.S. locations, a store manager will make an announcement over the intercom system.

This is not the first Foursquare promotion that Sports Authority has run. Corporate officials were convinced to add fuel to the fire for this already busy retailer due to past ROI for location-based promotions. Officials are confident they have the operations steps in place to make the campaign a success.

This social media campaign will be advertised in the coming days with display ads, e-mail campaigns, Facebook, Twitter and its home page.

Other retailers are getting in on the Black Friday social media promotions too. JC Penney and Pepsi are running Foursquare campaigns this holiday season. JC Penney is offering check-ins $10 off any ticket exceeding $50 until Jan. 8. Pepsi has partnered with Hess gas stations, where check-ins can get a Brisk iced tea beverage and a Frito Lay product for $1.99. Perhaps more importantly for encouraging participation, they will be entered into a sweepstakes for free gas and Brisk for a year. The campaign runs until Dec. 29 at 643 Hess locations nationwide.

Other big-name retailers Target, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy are using Whrrl to run their promotions with the Holiday Deals Society.

It will be interesting to see what comes of this social media fuel for Black Friday. My guess is that retailers will succeed if they can have enough of the desired products to keep soccer moms from pulling each other’s hair out, but if not – this could be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Hopefully these campaigns will be successful and lead to more location-based give aways and deals, because so many campaigns are sending consumers to a corporate website, if successful location-based promotions are another tool in the marketers arsenal.

Marketers, keep your eyes on the deals to see if this might be something for your company to try as well, and tell us what you think and what Black Friday promotion impressed you. Visit us at, Facebook: Weise Communications or follow us on Twitter @Weise_Ideas.


Gap commercial… What is the problem here?

In the last few days, the blog world has exploded in controversy with this new Gap holiday commercial. I saw it on TV last night and I thought there was cool dancing, there must be cheer leaders to pull that off, especially the girl who gets tossed 20 feet in the air at one point, nice sound stage to shoot on, good choreography. I also think the lyrics were fine…except that the Gap is showing its PC side. We have seen mostly PC holiday messages for years now.

But now there are groups (well, one actually: American Family Association – AFA) that are all bent out of shape because in the commercial’s lyrics say “You 86 the rules, you do what feels just right.”

I just dont understand the problem with the commercial. What do you think?

I have to run. I am attending a “Celebrate the coming of Winter with this Winter Welcome gathering” at Stapleton’s town center. Now that’s just another PC name for the lighting of the Christmas lights at my town center.  I hope people aren’t upset when they get there to find out Christmas won’t be mentioned anywhere. What a world we live in.

Here are the lyrics for the GAP commercial:
Two, Four, Six, Eight, now’s the time to liberate
Go Christmas, Go Hanukkah, Go Kwanza, Go Solstice.
Go classic tree, go plastic tree, go plant a tree, go add a tree,
You 86 the rules, you do what feels just right.
Happy do whatever you wanukkah, and to all a cheery night.

Go Christmas, Go Hanukkah, go whatever holiday you wanukkah.


time to move your franchise to canada?

Canada flagCanada offers enormous opportunity for franchisors seeking to grow beyond our U.S. border, according to a press release issued by Canadian law firm, Cassels, Brock & Blackwell. The release comes as franchise lawyers in the U.S. and Canada prepare for the American Bar Association’s 32nd annual Forum on Franchising conference in October.

The press release stated that well-known U.S. franchise Buffalo Wild Wings is expanding their operations in Canada.

This press release got me thinking, “Why all this fuss about Canada?” I did some high level research online and this is what I found:

Franchiseek Canada:

  • Canada has the second largest franchise industry in the world, led only by the U.S. One franchise operation exists for every 450 Canadians.
  • Approximately one out of five consumer dollars are spent on franchise good and services.
  • Of all the franchises that opened in Canada within the last five years, 86 percent are under the same ownership and 97 percent are still in business.

Canadian Franchise Association:

  • The Franchise industry in Canada represents more than $100 billion in sales annually.
  • Franchised businesses account for 40 percent of all retail sales.
  • Franchising accounts for $90 billion per year in sales nationally, or 10 percent of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Is your franchise facing expansion difficulties in the U.S.? Maybe it’s time to look at other markets. And, Canada seems to be the most viable option currently available to franchisors.

Have you considered expanding into a different country? Where? Why?


why your business needs twitter

Restaurants are increasingly using Twitter. Why shouldn’t they? Twitter is an inexpensive medium that can be used to communicate with customers, generate brand awareness, monitor brand chatter etc.

Lisa Baertlein recently reported that, “Kogi, a duo of Korean BBQ-inspired taco trucks in Los Angeles, has “Tweeted” its way to international stardom and is inspiring restaurateurs seeking new ways to tempt diners during a deep recession.”

Kogi could not have predicted the immense level of success their Twitter account would have.  Since November, they have accumulated over 15,000 followers and were featured on Nightline last night.  Before that, Newsweek made this video.

I popped over to their Twitter account today.  The person(s) responsible for maintaining their page is doing a great job connecting with their fans and providing relevant information about the company.

Surprisingly, many companies still have yet to adopt Twitter as one of their marketing mix elements. I believe the ones who adopt sooner than later will be the ones reaping the social media rewards! Not to mention, the price is right to get set up. FREE!


think globally, act locally

Obama-Fingers is a product being offered by German food manufacturer Sprehe.   Adpulp recently commented on this story stating, “The idea, [a Sprehe representative] claimed, was to get in on the Obama-mania which is continuing to grip Germany.”

Sprehe isn’t the only company that decided to ride Obama’s recent success.  In January, published an article about a local gelato manufacturer that created a new product dubbed, “Barack-y Road.”

Getting back to Sprehe for a moment, there are two fundamentally unsound pieces to this campaign.

First, the company did not do their due diligence in conducting market research to search for potential pitfalls of attaching an African American’s name to a fried-chicken product.  Now, I understand this product is being released in Germany.  But, it was unacceptable for Sprehe to state that they had no idea of the racial overtones.  I would much rather prefer the company say that they were aware of the racial overtones but decided the stereotype wasn’t prevalent in their geographic market locations.

Secondly, attaching your brand to a prominent global figure like President Obama isn’t a great marketing move.  If he ends up doing something incredibly bad to lose German approval, customers may cease purchasing Sprehe products because of the association with President Obama.  This is especially true for the gelato manufacturer in Michigan.  U.S. consumers are much more likely to abstain from buying products associated with political parties.



2009 Digital Trend Predictions


What digital trends can we expect in 2009? A recent press release announced that Placecast thinks they know. Predicted trends include:

•    Advertisers will seek new methods of data mining to enhance campaigns
•    The Web will be connected to the physical world via location data (this one scares the heck out of me), which will open a wide array of possibilities for marketing
•    Privacy concerns will mandate a need for regulation (see the previous bullet)
•    View-through will be measured as a complement to PPC, allowing us to learn how ads affect audiences when the ads are not “clicked”
•    There will be a ton of advertising display space available in the wake of the recession
•    Online video will continue to boom

That’s the short list. Details for each of these is available in the press release. What’s your take on this? Do you think these predictions hold up or is the crystal ball full of hot air?

And tomorrow:
What do you get when you get some on the side? Well, tomorrow you get to find out how to make money from home. That’s right, Cyber Squatting is back!

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