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Starbucks and Chevrolet Check-In and Declare Game On!

Gowalla and Chevrolet Join Forces, Foursquare Teams With Starbucks

New Media on Ulitzer

Social networking games are moving from the fringe to the front lines of social media marketing at light speed. Two recent examples are below!

As I have written about for the last few weeks, this is not some fun new promotional tool that brands might want to consider. This is far-more and, I believe, will redefine mobile marketing as we know it. These platforms allow consumer brands, in the context of a controlled campaign management system, to track the actual traffic driven to individual store locations, in real-time. Even more-powerful is that the information conveyed can be tweaked by location, time, region, season, etc and continuous improvement can be fueled by tracked, actual, live mobile consumer interaction with the point of sale locations where real money is exchanged for real goods.

For years, brands have spent time and effort driving mobile consumers to websites not optimized for mobile and mistakenly thinking mobile consumers interact with the mobile web the same way at-home consumers interact with the “regular” web. Forrester reports that, “while 89 % of consumers shop for information about products online, less than 7% of retail sales actually take place online”.

The MMA reports that, “Almost $400 billion of in-store sales..are directly influenced by the web. That number will surpass $1 trillion by 2012″. But these web-influenced in-store purchases are not tracked. This fact is what I call the “ROBO Gap”. Yahoo coined the term ROBO (Research Online Buy Offline) and bridging this “ROBO gap” has massive implications for all online advertising, especially as the world take the web mobile.

It seems a few brands have finally awakened to the reality that mobile consumers want  THE primary component of a mobile campaign to be the locations where they can act upon the messaging they receive.  Social networking game platforms provide the perfect context for this, because opt-in interaction with business locations are the cornerstone of what they do and incentives and rewards are already built-in to the very essence of the platform. Merging in proven, current brand-specific loyalty reward programs tied to real goods that consumers know and love is a slam dunk. Using these platforms to introduce new products is an even better fit. The ideas are endless.

Sign up for Gowalla or Foursquare and get into the game. (Google-funded SCVNGR is another one to-watch). Check out these two examples of brand involvement from the last few days and watch this trend carefully. Super hot.

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From Mashable (3/11/10):

Foursquare and Starbucks Team Up to Offer Customer Rewards

Foursquare means business. The 1-year-old startup now has a huge brand — Starbucks — using its platform to test out an experimental customer rewards program.

Starting today, frequent Starbucks visitors who check in at retail locations using Foursquare will earn customer rewards. Although there’s no financial incentive or free coffee to begin with, customers can unlock the “Barista badge” after five checkins.

Of course that’s just the beginning; the coffee behemoth plans to use Foursquare as a testing ground for alternative reward strategies and to unlock “the pulse of the experience” for each store.

If you think this is a straight-up play to offer location-based mobile coupons, think again. The New York Times Bits Blog writes that the company is “hoping to use Foursquare to provide even more meaningful prizes, like invitations to special events, photo-sharing or online reputation scores.”

As Starbucks figures out how best to leverage the checkin, we have to step back and appreciate the magnitude of this decision. With Starbucks on board, there’s no question that Foursquare has all the tools necessary to appeal to — and reach — a mainstream audience. Plus, now that a second company (the first was Tasti D-Lite) is tapping into Foursquare as a loyalty program platform, the additional proof of concept will pave the way for other businesses to follow suit.

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From SXSW News (3/12/10):

Check in, Tweet, and Leave the Driving to Chevy

chvy.jpg

Arriving in Austin today? Chevrolet is teaming up with Gowalla to hook you up with a ride downtown from Chevy to a select number of Gowalla-users who check in at ABIA between 9am. and 4pm.

Get to the hot spots in style and “Catch a Chevy” during the SXSW Film Festival at Brush Square Park across from the Austin Convention Center, on South Lamar near the Alamo Draft House, and at the Paramount Theatre from March 1–20 from 6 pm–12am.

More Ways to Geek Out:

  • Make your own QR Code stickers to pass out to new and old friends at the Chevy Cruze Trade Show booth March 13–15.
  • Check in with Gowalla as part of a downtown walking trip and receive a special badge that can be redeemed for a special prize at the Chevy Volt Recharge Lounge in the ACC.
  • Take a Chevy for a test spin around downtown Austin anytime between 9am–4pm March 12-20 at the Brush Square Park “Catch a Chevy” spot at 4th and Trinity.

Whenever you or your wireless devices have had enough of the action, stop off at the Chevy Volt Recharge Lounge in the Convention Center to rest and juice up!

More Stories By Wilson Kerr

Wilson has 11+ years experience in the Mobile and Location Based Services (LBS) space. Recently, he became Director Of Business Development and Sales for Unbound Commerce, a Boston-based mobile commerce solution provider. He has deep expertise in the areas of mobile commerce, social media, branded location integration, branded content licensing, and is knowledgeable in a broad range of navigation technologies. Wilson has worked with top tier brands, content providers, device manufacturers, and application developers, including Nokia, Unbound Commerce, Tele Atlas/TomTom, The Travel Channel, Langenscheidt Publishing, Intellistry, Parking In Motion, GPS-POI-US, and others. Wilson is a blogger on all things location-based, edits the LBS topic page on Ulitzer, teaches a Social Media 101 class, and has served as a panelist and speaker at Mobile LBS conferences and networking events. Wilson has held positions in Business Development, Sales/Marketing, and Digital Licensing at The North Face, Outdoor Intelligence, Fishing Hot Spots Maps, Tele Atlas North America/TomTom and, most-recently, Unbound Commerce. Wilson left Tele Atlas to start Location Based Strategy, LLC in 2007. Company Website: http://www.LBStrategy.com. Twitter: @WLLK

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