Posts Tagged ‘check-in’

A Hyper-Local Black Friday Wrap

December 8th, 2011

Checking-in to Super Savings

One of the most hectic shopping days of the year has passed, and this year’s Black Friday marked an interesting development in the marketing efforts of major retailers. Although the typical Black Friday shopper battled the crowds with a purpose and a pre-determined route, location based mobile apps enabled retailers to access the discount-driven shoppers who just can’t resist a good deal. An increasing number of companies have turned to these services to offer customers exclusive deals via their mobile devices. Accessing customers through their mobile devices has become an attractive feature for retailers as it allows them to target the sales-crazy, on-the-go shoppers who just might trample down anyone who gets in their way of a sale.

Foursquare , which recently announced they had hit 14 million users has become an important app that many retailers have paired up with to offer discounts, which customers receive once they have ‘checked in’, or shared their location. Various stores are enticing customers into their retail store mayhem by offering special discounts only available through this app. These examples pictured from Foursquare’s blog are only a few examples of the retailers targeting the media-savvy shopper, with stores ranging from AT&T to UPS also offering check-in discounts. Foursquare is not alone in its location based advertising, as companies like SCVNGR, Facebook Places, and Yelp are also offering these types of deals to sales-hungry customers for checking in.

QR Codes – The Modern Catalogue

Aside from encouraging retail madness through discounts for mobile check-ins, retailers are also using QR codes to provide customers with an easier and faster shopping experience. With Black Friday being one of the biggest sales days of the year, QR codes are becoming increasingly prevalent in retail stores. While QR codes are not a new phenomenon to the advertising world, the upcoming holiday season has retailers embedding them into a variety of marketing displays to attract mobile users. Companies such as JC Penney and Macy’s are among the many retailers that have introduced QR codes into their stores this holiday season. Sears and Kmart have created ‘gift walls’ in their stores, placed in viewing sight of those waiting in the cash line, which are essentially walls filled with QR codes linking the customer to popular items for sale. With the increase in technological innovations, mobile phones are quickly becoming the best aid a shopper can have for finding the best deals.

The numbers are growing, but what’s next?

Recent stats from AdvertisingAge showed Foursquare checkins on Black Friday as a significant increase over last year.  And while Starbucks and Mcdonald’s topped the list, Wal-Mart with over 149,000 was the leading national retailer.  But it checkins and QR codes are just the start.  Expect to see these apps and more to further expand to include real-time product inventory, mobile wallets, and even virtual goods in the form of augmented reality.  eBay Mobile announced that shoppers in the U.S. purchased nearly two and a half times as many items via eBay Mobile this Black Friday when compared to 2010 and PayPal Mobile (another division of eBay) announced a six-fold (516%) increase in global mobile payment volume compared to 2010

Shoppers will increasingly choose the convenience of mobile to find the best deals from wherever they are while avoiding big crowds and long lines. The ability to simply pick up your phone or tablet and purchase what you want, when you want it, has become an attractive alternative to shoppers in record numbers this holiday season. The possibilities are endless.

Geo-local Healthcare

July 28th, 2011

Marketing to Save Lives

Going to the doctor is similar to waiting for the Toronto Maple Leafs to win the Stanley Cup or even just to get into the playoffs. It is a long, long process. But imagine you could show up at the neighbourhood walk-in and they are already up to date with your current medical situation. Or that you are visit the nearest ER knowing they only have a wait time of 10 minutes with GPs that are rated the best. This idea seems unlikely and somewhat far-fetched, but with technology developing everyday and hospitals feeling the pressure to become more up-to-date it is possible. Be it locating the nearest medical devices, testing yourself for disease or fundraising for sick children, location based services are making it happen.

Holland’s AED App

Airports, hospitals, and major attractions have become common locations to find an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) within arms reach. To be effective, the AED needs to reach the patient within minutes. The Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in Holland teamed up with Layar to create an augmented reality app that showcases the AEDs within your vicinity and which is closest to you. Their objective was to reduce searching time and provide users with a quick and easy app that could save lives. If you ever find yourself walking through LAX and someone drops beside you, then pull out this app and it’ll guide the way. Hopefully it lets you know to use the AED, too!

MTVs Get Yourself Tested Badge

There is an outstanding statistic that every one in two people will contract an STD by the time they’re 25. To help young people become more aware of STDs, MTV teamed up with Foursquare to develop a badge that users would receive after checking into clinics to get a STD test performed. The campaign was called Get Yourself Tested and was endorsed by an overwhelming number of celebrities through the MTV website. During a month of the campaign, if users checked in to a clinic they would be entered in a contest with the chance to win a free trip to NYC to be on MTV.  Although an extremely mortifying place to check into on Foursquare, MTV was a milestone for cause-related and healthcare-related badges. Next time you go for a colonoscopy, check if there’s a badge. Everyone deserves a badge for that appointment!

UCSF launches Social Media Fundraiser

UCSF Challenge for the Children kicked off an 8-week campaign designed to reach out through social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. This encouraged people to contribute as individuals or become team leaders to support the hospital. Some team leaders included celebrities like Aston Kutcher. They successfully reached their fundraising goal and broke into a space that hospitals have yet to frequent.

For location based marketing, hospitals and other health care related fields have yet to be explored in serious depth. Recently the FCC and FDA signed an agreement to collaborate on the development of technology for wireless enabled medical devices and services, which opens the doors to possibilities. What will come next? Will hospitals use augmented reality to help patients navigate through their maze-like walls? Will Facebook Places allow patients to locate and critique their local OBGYN or GP? Will hospitals use RFID to pin point all of their MDs on a map? Really the opportunities for this space are endless and can really make the healthcare industry more appealing, approachable and up-to-date. In the future when you are feeling under the weather, tweet about it and maybe a nearby doc will make a house call or in the least Dr. Oz re-tweets you.

Checking In To HTML5

June 22nd, 2011

Hey, you there on your iPad 2 with the nifty magnetic Smart Cover! Check out the Apollo 11 Lunar take off . Oh wait, you can’t because you don’t have Adobe Flash. Before you give up hope, double check in Apple App Store to be sure you can’t access it. This matter has led marketers to an ongoing parley of whether to create an app or a mobile web browser.

Mobile App vs. Mobile Web

As soon as your company is ready to go mobile you are faced with the question: To App or not to App? This is a question that has stumped marketers for some time now considering that mobile browsers are just as useful. What makes one better than the other? Mobile Apps are great for using offline, can be developed for each platform, and extremely effective for a large, dedicated user base. Whereas, web browsers are cross-platform, can be discovered through any search engine and are always up to date but cannot be used offline. This debate is ongoing and circular but if you add HTML5 into the mix it becomes apparent that web browsing is quickly becoming the way to go.

HTML5, what are you?

HTML5 is a coding language developed to structure pages on the World Wide Web. In simpler terms, it is the backbone of the Internet. While still in the developmental phase, so far, it combines visual, audio, canvas and interactive elements into one without the addition of processor intensive proprietary plugins, such as Adobe Flash, and APIs. In the mobile world, providers, such as Apple with iPad and iPhone, aim to create the best user experience with maximum battery life. In doing so, they dropped the plugins and are in search of the solution (i.e. HTML5).

Although an extremely complex and intricate code that you may not understand, chances are you have already been exposed to it. Safari, Google Chrome and Firefox 3.6 are supporting elements of HTML5. Or even in the smallest form like drag-and-drop in Gmail are created through the interactive element of HTML5. Want to dig a little deeper? Give it a try and join the HTML5 trial on YouTube.

Geolocation & Marketing Possibilities

In the past, Internet marketing has always been executed in the most primal fashion with basic banners and images with little video. As bandwidth and Internet usage is growing, the options are being more diverse with more extravagant videos, changing images and even utilizing IP address from desktops to market based on location or interests. But now, HTML5 is challenging marketers to ask, “What can’t we do?” with our Internet advertisements. For example, images can be moved around the screen in real time, videos can be sent in emails, interactive sketchpads and so much more. Thinking mobile? Considering that people aren’t carrying around their desktops with them, mobile compatibility is essential when developing new software and HTML5 is all over that. Determine location is possible as HTML5 (and JavaScript) will be able to access the positioning hardware in a mobile device from a browser. Thus, users will not have to go through the hassle of downloading the apps and companies will not have to pay to develop cross-platform apps to determine geolocation.

With so much of the location-based attention on GPS-enabled mobile applications, we should all pause for a moment to reflect upon the promise of HTML5 in this area.  Companies like Yellow Pages are already testing location-based ad delivery.  An example of this can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJLn6XX8oCI

As most devices with web capabilities are already compatible with HTML5, this transition is relatively simple. Which can already be seen with New York Times, CNN and CBC who have made their sites “iPad Ready” and have pledged to be using HTML5 for videos in place of Flash. Furthermore, the cost for development is minimal compared to creating an App for BlackBerry, iPhone and Android. The web browsers are easily discoverable and can be kept up to date so users are always using the latest version. HTML5 is even showing signs of allowing some offline usage! Now if you need to decide between the mobile App and mobile web, just think HTML5.

If you are a Flash game junkie, do not fret because Flash isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Most games are unable to be developed in HTML5, although Mozilla is sure trying through their multiple demos. So, next time you hear HTML5 being tossed around in a conversation they are not referring to someone’s BBM pin, they are discussing the future of the Internet. Don’t miss the bandwagon. Is your company “iPad Ready”?

Making The Unsocial Social

May 31st, 2011

When A Place Is Not A Place

The New Directions are heading to nationals in NYC on Glee and a group of girls are comically preparing for the wedding of the decade in Bridesmaids. Popping bubble wrap and hitting green lights in row are amongst 1000 pleasures in life described in Neil Pasricha’s The Book of Awesome. Love songs and ballads are penetrating the ears of listeners as British gem, Adele, hits the top on global music charts. Seems like a lot is going on in the entertainment industry, but do we have all the stickers to prove it?

Traditionally, paperbacks in comfy chairs or classic films on the couch while wrapped in blankets accompany rainy days. TV has been a mindless pass time for as long as Bob Barker hosted the Price as Right. Now all the activities that your introverted side associated with have gone online and become social. No need to panic and hide in the closet clutching your weathered collection of Harry Potter, platforms are now available for you to discuss your potion concoctions and Quidditch tactics with other muggles online.

Platforms like GetGlue, Miso and Philo provide viewers with enhanced interaction with their favourite forms of entertainment. This allows networks, publishers and film studios to build relationships with their consumers by rewarding them with stickers or other tangible prizes and encourage further usage. TV studios utilize these platforms to encourage live viewing and consistency as certain episodes unlock other rewards.  GetGlue has evolved into the leader of this booming space with users surpassing 1M and check-ins exceeding 12M. Users can check-in through their website or mobile Apps (available on iPhone and Android, sorry BB users!) to identify that they are watching, reading or listening to items. In doing so, users will receive stickers or badges and sometimes be entered to win tangible prices. Furthermore, there is the option for users to comment and like pieces as they would over crumpets at their book club.

As marketers within the entertainment industry, how can we use this to reach our target audience or even just to have one of those nifty stickers? Networks have already launched successful (and somewhat adhesive) campaigns.

CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Gets Glue’d

For Canadians (like myself), hockey is part of the culture and suits worn by Don Cherry had become socially accepted and respected. CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada teamed up with GetGlue to make exclusive stickers that are available to users when they check in at games. This campaign was launched during game 7 of Montreal vs. Boston with exclusive sports-related stickers. Now onto the semifinals, let’s just hope that Canada comes out strong to make these stickers worth it. Go Canucks!

Miso let’s Viewers Pick ‘Em

Although Donald Trump is a leading business magnate, his luscious blond locks don’t always allow him to make the right decisions on Apprentice. Seeing as reality shows are something that cannot be missed because of the fear of overhearing the outcome during your commute to work the following day. Miso is allowing viewers to participate during the living viewing, to step in and make the decision for Mr. Trump. Unfortunately, this poll will have no bearing on the results of the show but it does encourage user engagement and allows viewers to interact with each other in real time. So, next time you’re watching Dancing with the Stars, log on to Miso and share who you think should move on: Kirstie Alley or the Situation. “None of the above” isn’t an option.

You Again, Philo!

Prior to the premiere of the movie, You Again, Philo launched a campaign offering the chance to win a $500 spa package grand prize among smaller prices like memorabilia and free tickets. To be entered in the draw, users had to check in a minimum of 3 different times to shows that aired a You Again commercial. If the user went on to comment “you again” on any of the qualifying shows they would be entered to win the grand prize. Not bad for a lazy Sunday on the couch.

GetGlue and others have broken ground in a whole new space. They have developed a platform that works like Foursquare but the users don’t have to leave the comfort of their own home. ‘Checking In’ is no longer limited to actual places, but virtual ones too. In doing so, GetGlue has reached an entirely new market, formally known as the couch potatoes and bookworms. Going forward, you should remove the tarnished pins from your old canvas rucksack because it’s all about stickers now!

Fashion & Foursquare

May 10th, 2011

Moving from Sears catalogues being delivered in the mail to email blasts being sent directly to your handheld, the fashion industry has evolved into one of the fastest moving industries in the market. As soon as a trend becomes popular it is already obsolete in the eyes of any style maven. To ordinary folk keeping up to date on  “what’s hot” in the fashion world is a daunting task and can be extremely costly. To marketers, this is a budding segment that needs immediate attention and wit to overcome the already overbearing noise.

While fashion is moving fast, technology is moving faster. Major retailers, such as BestBuy and Macy’s, have teamed up with companies like Shopkick Inc. to deploy location-based Smartphone Apps. The Apps utilize cell phones location capabilities to target customers within a designated area around their retail store. The App will send them promotions; coupons or other marketing offers which will appeal to the customer when they are in the position to buy.  As BestBuy and Macy’s are tracking their customers, Gap Stylemixer is building wardrobes, Ralph Lauren is designing customized rugby shirts and Chanel is showcasing their fashion show all on the mobile platform. Shop ‘til you drop is the past. Shop ‘til your cell phone dies is the present.

Location-based apps are successfully communicating with consumers and are a “hot” trend within the marketing world. Ultimately, the surplus of Apps depreciates any given brand’s cool factor. Like every trend, they become overdone and fall into the “everyone is doing it” category similar to what was seen with bell-bottom jeans in the 70’s. Unsurprisingly enough as fashionistas are always one step ahead, icons such as Marc Jacobs, Jimmy Choo and Diesel have taken location-based marketing to the next level, or as some could say, the next runway.

Marc Jacobs in NYC Fashion Week

Marc Jacobs has embraced social media and digital technology to develop marketing ideas that go against the traditional marketing employed by other fashion brands.

Prior to fashion week in NYC, Marc teamed up with FourSquare to develop a “Fashion Victim” badge that enthusiasts acquired after “checking-in” to Marc Jacob locations throughout the Big Apple and other states.  Randomly four individuals who unlocked the badge in New York were invited to the Marc Jacobs fashion show. In doing so, both Marc Jacobs and FourSquare became the subject of chatter for days leading up to the show.

Jimmy Choo’s CatchAChoo

Jimmy Choo launched the CatchAChoo event in London via Twitter, Facebook and FourSquare to connect the digital world to the real world by inviting shoe fanatics to participate in the game. All they had to do was follow the clues posted online by a representative and approach them and say “I’ve been following you.” The winner gets a free pair of trainers and bragging rights to the remaining cyber losers.

Be Stupid with Diesel

Originally, Diesel worked with Iced Media (digital marketing agency) to develop a successful online campaign called “Be Stupid” which encouraged individuals to upload photos via Twitter, Facebook and Flckr. Decidedly, Diesel teamed up with FourSquare to drive their online traffic into their retail locations by allowing customers to “check-in” and receive a prize. Additionally, customers will receive a sticker with the Be Stupid slogan on it that they are encouraged to bring home, photograph and email for a chance to win bigger, better and more stupid prizes.

These campaigns were initial forays into the capabilities of location-based marketing. Although FourSquare is America’s Next Top Model, similar platforms, such as SCVNGR, Gowalla, and Goldrun, are climbing the ranks and developing unique opportunities for brands to reach (and wardrobe) their consumers. But with every marketing fad, Louis Vitton comes up with a new bag. Keep your fingers busy on those sites and eventually you will “check- in” at the right time!

Why Media & Entertainment Companies Need LBS

June 14th, 2010

As I sit at the beautiful Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel attending the NextMedia/Banff World Television Festival, I can’t help but think about the huge opportunity in front of media and entertainment companies when it comes to location-based services.

Already, we are seeing early signs of deals with companies like MyTown, FourSquare and GoWalla.

The Travel Channel has found early success with its MyTown application to the tune of 17 million check-ins in one month, while FourSquare has struck partnerships with media companies such as HBO, Warner Brothers, MTV and Bravo.

And the phenomenon is not limited to just television,

Concert promoters are jumping on board as well, as events such as Bonnaroo, Coachella and Lollapalooza are all using mobile apps to enhance the concert experience for attendees as part of a broader new-media push that also includes social media, LBS and other broad Internet initiatives to co-exist.

Many of these apps are also integrated with Twitter and Facebook.  In the music business, it’s all about improving the fan experience while at the event, and then finding ways to extend the experience into an ongoing relationship long after the event or concert is over.

At the recent forum hosted by Future of Local Media during Internet Week NY, several questions around the concept of the value of geo-location and LBS were explored.

Ian Spalter, Executive Creative Director of Mobile & Emerging Platforms at R/GA, believes that this opportunity forces brands to consider not only how they are relevant to a consumer’s life, but also when and where they are relevant.  Mark Ghuneim, CEO of WiredSet/Trendrr, encourages brands to enable an experience for a customer.  The value to the marketer is the emergence of the real-place web.  Whereas the real-time web gave marketers an understanding of how consumers interacted online, the real-place web offers an understanding of how people live their lives on the move.

So, how do media and entertainment companies leverage the real-place web to reach consumers? Well, I see two immediate possibilities.

The first is to trade sponsorship of Free WiFi or some other value-add in-venue service, for consumer input on everything from pilot episodes, to ad campaigns, to television commercials.  In other words, no need to bring the focus group in and feed them Smarties and popcorn.  Push the focus group out to the public and crowdsource the answers in exchange for something they want, in the place they’re already at.

The second is to go further down the road of gaming and/or product integration. This time however, we change the venue from the home to the place people are at – while out of home.

Several television shows have attempted over the last few years to engage fans on both the digital and broadcast channels simultaneously.   A recent example is the relationship between NBC’s Chuck and Subway.

When the show sat on the bubble for renewal, engaged fans stepped up through the show’s Fansite, Facebook and Twitter, asking them to buy a $5 dollar foot-long sub during the finale episode.

At one point, The Hollywood Reporter called Chuck the “most discussed bubble show online”

It worked, and the show was renewed with further support from Subway and others.

But, what if the drive to renew the show actually happened based on check-ins and/or mobile couponing at actual Subway stores?  The value to the advertiser would have likely been enormous in getting people to their stores and of course in driving incremental sales.

As a final thought, I come home to a Canadian icon in Tim Horton’s.  Now here is a company that is focused on one brand and one brand only – their own.  So how can a media company use the largest chain in Canada to connect with patrons of Tim Horton’s?

Give them what they already have.  On any given day, you can walk into a coffee shop and find copies of the Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, and the like all over the tables.  So why not embrace that?  Why not reward the natural synergy between a newspaper and our morning coffee, with free at home delivery subscriptions based on the number of check-ins at a coffee shop or gas station?

The opportunities for media and entertainment companies are limitless.  The real place web is here and together as consumers, technology providers, content producers and distributors, we must find ways to cross platforms and work together to embrace the power of LBS in engaging people at the right place in the right time.