Thursday, 29 July 2010

Foursquare, location based services and all that jazz

Foursquare and location based services are all the rage in marketing town these days, and a few interesting articles were just released about it. Notably Forrester pleased me in advising marketers that only a tiny portion of people in the US (1% of online adults) were currently using LBS and who are mostly male, so most brands should probably experiment without committing too much resource.

I ran an interesting qualitative research group on Facebook recently with a group of 10 UK 18-24 young adults, heavy Internet users. Only one had an Foursquare account, had already stopped using it and the others either hadn't heard of it or thought it was stupid. I know it's not large numbers but their remarks were very interesting.

A response article on Adage says how important it is for brands to get on the bandwagon now because even though the user base is small, they are very influential.

I was in the middle of a pompous and boring write-up about my thoughts on the topic and decided to delete it all when I came across this fantastic image from Gamefan84 on BoingBoing:

Speechless now, eh?

Basically the gist of it was please stop answering vague marketing problems by shouting out the latest popular thing, as so:

Q: How can I sell more of my product to this age group?
A: Foursquare / Twitter / Facebook / Whatever's next

However many users they have and however cool their technology is (Don't get me wrong, I love all this stuff), none of these platforms, or even channels to a wider extent, are the answers. Just like a poster concept isn't the answer either. Everything is connected now, so answering the problem requires a wider view of the media landscape and coming up with a good idea before getting in the nitty-gritty of channels and platforms.

May the vengeful giant mutant squirrel riding Chewbacca come after your asses if you keep at it.

You know who you are.

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