Understand Features Available Through Location-based Service Providers - dummies

Understand Features Available Through Location-based Service Providers

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

If you are venturing into location-based marketing, you need to understand the features available through location-based service providers. Armed with this information, you can begin to determine the features you want to apply to grow your business. Here is a discussion of the features and a list of companies that provide them.

  • Mobile: Mobile location-based services give you the ability to reach just about anybody with a mobile phone in the place that they are at the time that they need the information. All location-based services are mobile. This opens location-based services to every mobile handset user, as long as the company is willing to maintain device-specific versions of applications.

  • Check-in: One of the most common application types is the check-in — the ability to announce “I am here.” The check-in can deliver a lot of highly standard data for you to analyze and begin to build profiles of users who check in to your business.

  • Social: Social applications allow users to maintain a list of trusted friends they can share with. A location-based application might plug into a social network like Twitter or Facebook. As a marketer, you want to encourage your customers to tap into these networks to spread the word about your business.

  • Discovery: When you talk about location, you have to talk about discovery, or manufactured serendipity. Serendipity is accidental discovery, which is one of the driving forces behind the popularity of LBSs.

  • Engagement: Engagement is a more personal sort of conversation than just blasting “here I am”, allowing you to carry on a dialogue or group conversation. Think of Twitter and Facebook as the ultimate engagement platforms. Some location-based services have built in some of those communication tools.

  • Ambient: Ambient networks allow users to interact with each other based on proximity. They use chat rooms and text messaging to form temporary networks of people in a particular place. The full extent of opportunities with ambient networks is still unknown, but the possibilities are exciting.

  • Future and Intent: Sometimes you know what you’re going to do and you want to let people know, so that you can connect with them or solicit their opinions about what you should do. People like recommendations from people they trust. They also like to know who’s going to be at an event so that they can decide with whom they’ll spend their time.

  • Platform: You can use platforms to build your own application to cater to your specific purposes. Location-based platforms provide places databases, check-in functionality, tips and recommendations, authentication, and much more.

  • Content network: Some location-based systems have both user-generated and professional content. Some of these platforms allow you to tailor your content to be placed right next to user-generated content.

  • Analysis: A series of tools allow you to build campaigns and measure their impact. Some of them are location-specific and provide a look at what’s happening in check-in spaces. Others require you to have the data, but provide strong tools for visualizing the impact.

  • Offers: Many platforms let you offer specials and deals to people who check in at your place. The idea is that location adds contextual relevance — sending the ideal offer exactly when someone needs it.

Services by Category
Category Location-Based Services
Mobile Almost all
Check-in Almost all
Social Almost all
Discovery Almost all
Future/Intent Ditto
Platform foursquare
Content Network Bing for Business
Google Places
Ambient / Proximity Color
Analysis Geotoko
Private Geoloqi
Offer foursquare
Google Latitude