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Location-based Services (LBS) Focused on Capturing Consumer Intention

Several location-based services focus on where the user is going to be instead of checking-in to where the user already is. In other words, your potential customers announce their intentions to go somewhere and do something. Knowing a prospective customer’s intentions provides a host of location-based marketing opportunities. Here are a few of the LBSs that capture user intention:

  • Ditto: Ditto’s CEO describes it as “future foursquare.” Users announce what they want to do and can find others who want to do the same — say drink coffee or watch a particular movie. Ditto is even smart enough to pull in a list of all the local movies that are playing and then leave room for color commentary.

    The user can type his intentions and the app provides a link to suggested venues based on keywords in his post. The user can make the announcement public or private and, if it’s public, cross-post to Twitter and Facebook.

    Here’s where this becomes really interesting from a marketing perspective: Ditto’s technology is highly semantic, which means that it’s particularly easy to tell exactly what someone intends. Unlike Twitter, where data is unstructured, it’s easy to figure out the exact wants and needs of a user who has announced his need and location. If your business can service that need, you can act.

    The ability to interact with a person who you know wants exactly what you’re providing is really exciting! It’s then up to you as a marketer to provide the right offer to that person to see if you can get him to spend his time with your business.

    Jyri announces on Ditto that he wants to have seafood.
    Jyri announces on Ditto that he wants to have seafood.
  • CrowdBeacon: Like Ditto, CrowdBeacon allows you to express what you want to do and gives people around you the opportunity to respond and help you find something that suits your preference. You start by choosing a category. The categories include Active Life, Arts & Entertainment, Beauty, Home Services, Local Services, Nightlife, Restaurants, Shopping, Mingle, and Deals.

    This application is built on an interesting premise, but the user experience lacks polish. You could monitor CrowdBeacon for opportunities to provide an experience to a person at decision point. It is a good idea currently in need of a facelift.

  • Forecast: From the makers of Hurricane Party, Forecast is a free mobile app that leverages foursquare’s API and lets users share where they are going with their friends. This service has the potential to allow you to reach new customers by knowing who visits your venue along with those of your competitors.

    When a customer “forecasts” an intent to visit a competitor, you can provide offers to influence those potential customers. You also benefit from your customers broadcasting their intent to friends-and-family to visit your establishment. Forecast might be a way to have your most loyal customers serve as your social media marketing team.

  • Loqly: Loqly helps you find relevant information by asking local experts. What differentiates this service from others is the metadata (or links, images, phone numbers, and so on) that Loqly sends along with its answers, making it easy to drill down into whatever it is you’re looking for. One of the best things about Loqly is that you, the user, are notified as soon as someone answers your question.

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