Reality of Location-Based Cause Marketing - dummies

Reality of Location-Based Cause Marketing

By Joe Waters, Joanna MacDonald

Experts tend to agree that, over time, location-based marketing will be a big part of consumer marketing (and with it cause marketing). But you wouldn’t know that based on the current number of users. Consider this reality: Facebook is 85 times bigger than the largest location-based service, Foursquare. Heck, the Earth is only 49 times bigger than the moon! Imagine if the Earth was a big as Facebook.

Moreover, most LBS users are well-educated young men, and not the shopping moms that marketers love. But with the convenience and couponing that comes with location-based marketing, moms may very well be the next big adopters. Moms are already eager smartphone users.

A recent study by BabyCenter found that having kids is a trigger for women to adopt smartphones, and with good reason. Smartphones are super-portable, and you can use them one-handed when you have baby in the other.

Key features of the smartphone for moms are the camera and apps for staying organized and keeping the kids entertained. Sixty-eight percent of moms said that they use their phones for shopping, with nearly half saying that they took an action (unspecified) after they saw an ad on their phone.

Location-based marketing won’t take hold overnight, but hesitation has always preceded major cultural and technological shifts.

Take some of these shifts surmised from history:

Steel swords will never work. Besides, iron is nonstick.

— King of the Gauls, 1 B.C.

Printing press? But what will we do with all the monks?

— Pope Sixtus IV, 1501

I bet I can shoot this arrow faster than you can shoot that gun.

— Dead Wompanoag Chief, 1676

And don’t forget the automobile. In 1900, there were just over 4,000 built in the United States. At the time, the United States had a population of 76 million. That’s well less than 1 percent with cars.

Few drivers. Mostly male. Educated mavens. Are they talking about the users of cars in 1900 or the early adopters of location-based services in 2011?

The turn of the century probably didn’t seem like a great time to jump into the car business. But smart people like Henry Ford recognized the opportunity of the Tin Lizzie, the nickname for his signature Model T and the important societal shift that was about to occur.

While not as dramatic as the emergence of the automobile, plane, or electricity, location-based marketing will nonetheless change marketing, advertising, and cause marketing — forever. Now isn’t the time to let the future drive by you, especially when change in 2012 is moving a lot faster than the Model T, which had a top speed of just 45 miles per hour!