Choose a Location-Based Marketing Platform - dummies

Choose a Location-Based Marketing Platform

By Aaron Strout, Mike Schneider, B. J. Emerson

When you first begin to venture into location-based marketing, you will experiment with one-time offers (one-offs), try out different location-based providers, and track the results. Once you’ve proven the value, you will begin to focus your location-based marketing on those platforms that are most effective for your business.

The quick, nimble, and lightweight nature of a location-based service (LBS) encourages experimentation with social media engagement and customer acquisition. One-offs are typically test runs and usually are used as a learning tool. They can give you a sense whether it’s worth creating a larger campaign offer.

Ultimately, you have to decide what is meaningful to you. If you want LBSs to be meaningful to your organization, you have to think about it as a part of every one of your campaigns. Ask what the location components are and how location fits into a campaign. For a longer-term view, consider the costs, setup time, and functionality of the platform.

Return should always outweigh your investment. After you determine the critical path for setting up a campaign, you can trim your setup costs.

Some platforms are set up to work with you long term and allow you to plug into tool kits so that you can build any campaign you can dream up. foursquare is into loyalty campaigns, SCVNGR is the backbone for a Smithsonian exploration tool, and DoubleDutch is fundamental to Cincinnati’s Porkappolis program and the University of Arizona’s exploration campaign.

Most platforms come with an application programming interface (API), which allows you to use the functionality of a platform to create new applications. Here are some APIs to look into:

  • Many companies use the foursquare API for complex campaigns.

    The API allows you quick access to users, venues, check-ins, tips, and photos.

  • The SCVNGR API comes with a fee — but it’s quite powerful, so you may find it worth the price.

    There are several tiers of service that are based on your usage per month. You can create custom challenges, treks, and rewards for between $80 (for a capacity of 15) and $1,080 (for a capacity of 100) per month. You get the ability to create 5 challenges for free.

  • Gowalla’s API is another popular choice among location-based application developers.