I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel at Social Media Week in NYC with Foursquare, Mashable, GoldRUN and JWT executives. Our discussion was about the present and future state of Location Based Marketing & Services. Here is a quick review of the Panel discussion. You can also watch the panel discussion by clicking on this link below:
Check In or Check Out: Avoiding Location-Based Nothingness, Hosted by JWT
Summary: Location-based platforms have captured many consumers and marketers attention. But now that we have got their attention, how can we take this engagement to the next level? Our speakers will discuss where location-base platforms are today and what the next direction will be.
– Moderator: Todd Wasserman, Business and Marketing Editor, Mashable
– Peter Nicholson, CCO, JWT New York
– Evan Cohen, General Manager, Foursquare
– Vivian Rosenthal, CEO of GoldRUN
– Warren Raisch, Executive Vice- President Digitaria
Is Location Based Networking bringing people together with live personal “Meet-Ups” ?
I think technology is a fantastic disruptor and enabler. Technology has allowed us to become more empowered and independent and in some cases more isolated than ever before. I do believe that people are seeking real life connections and there is a move away from the isolation, companies such as foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook “Places” are working to empower people to step away from their computers and have real life human connection beyond the social networks virtual connections.
Personally, I think it is a great movement when people start to connect in person again and I hope to see more people taking “Technology Time-Outs” I am a high-tech guy and I love all of the gadgets, apps and advances we have made but I am also finding that I treasure the moments when I am un-plugged from technology and connected to conversations with real people. Whether it is spending time with my friends, my kids, fishing or boating (although I would be lost without my GPS on the boat) , the time away from being plugged into technology is very refreshing. I believe in 2011 we will start to see more people unplugging for periods of time and reconnecting on a personal level. I least I hope so.
Mobile, Social & Location Based Services are Intertwined
The desire to connect with others is a core part of what makes us human. Once again, technology is empowering us through Mobile apps and GPS technology coupled with social networking and it is becoming one of the key drivers for the growth of popular Location-Based Services (LBS) such as Foursquare. New Location Based platforms are emerging and existing platforms are adding Location aware features that connect us such as Facebook Places and Google Places enabling new functions such as friend finders, local search, and geo-tagging. The new Location aware platforms and features are allowing users to share real-life experiences by “Checking -in”, through geo-tagged user-generated content, to locate where their friends are and then find places to meet up with them, and of course, while they are there they can receive targeted advertising based on their location. This panel discussion explored trends, drivers, and the overall location-based social networking ecosystem.
Checking-In to What?
The current state of the industry, being driven by leaders such as Foursquare is the idea of “checking-in” to locations, wherever you go either to connect with friends or to get special promotions, or to participate in mobile gaming or for loyalty points etc. I believe that the check-in concept will move beyond just a location and become a way for people to connect with other things such as Checking-In to your home, Office, car or “Content Check-ins” such as checking into sporting events, TV programs, movies, books you are reading etc. So that the action of
“Checking-in” can connect you to new capabilities or to like-minded people not only on a location level but on an activity or content level. The possibilities are endless if you expand your definition of a check-in. Think about checking into your home at night with your phone and having a link to your security system, home entertainment, temperature controls etc. Also as a parent I always thought it would be great if I could have my kids Check-in when they got to certain places and I’d know they arrived safely. I know they would probably hate the idea but I’d like it. Today when we leave home in the morning we take our car keys, wallet and mobile phones. I can see a day when we would only need one of those items, namely the mobile phone or device that would have all of our credit/debit/loyalty card info as well as remote car key access and of course the multitude of mobile apps that we need to get through our busy day. If we lose our phone we are done for but it is the same as having to find your keys when you leave the house. Until we all get implanted with chips we are going to have to carry something. At least with a mobile device you can back it up on a server in the cloud and access the information from almost anywhere.
Will Marketers Mess it Up?
One thing I worry about is how marketers will handle this new location-based capability. It is surely a great opportunity for us to deliver highly targeted contextual ads, offers and services. But it is also a big responsibility that we have to respect a persons privacy. If you look at the history of email marketing for example in its early days the whole SPAM movement almost killed the channel until the industry got some internal governance and we saved this highly powerful communication channel from having marketers locked out by people opting out of our email programs. We will need to have the same type of thoughtful use of the location aware aspect of our marketing efforts so that we stay timely, relevant, contextual and of value. If someone is at a restaurant at 11:00 AM they may be on a business lunch while that same person may be out at the same location at 11:00 PM and be out with friends. We need to make sure our communication is in context and welcome to the person receiving it. A person who gives a company their exact location is extending a higher level of trust then simply providing an email address for example. So I caution my marketing brethren to step carefully into this new location-based frontier.
What do you think about Location Based Services?
Posted February 22, 2011 by Warren Raisch