Focus your mobile strategy on content not badges

by Carl Natale on December 13, 2010

Badges! We don't need no stinkin' badges!

What do you think your customers want? A badge or information on a good deal?

So far, here’s what location-based apps can do for your customers:

  • Foursquare lets you tell your “friends” where you are and become mayor of a business. (Does Gowalla do anything different?)
  • Google Places and Yelp let you review the businesses you check into.
  • SCVNGR rewards you for completing task at specific places.
  • Shopkick gives you discounts and rewards when you complete a virtual treasure hunt.

There are more services but this list covers the basic rewards of location-based apps. So what’s the big deal? Are your customers really going to use these apps? Here’s an interesting take on it all:

What we’ve known for a long time is that what consumers really crave is control over the shopping experience and with it, the information required to make informed and satisfying buying decisions.

via Mobile Apps: “We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges” | Retail Prophet.

Doug Stephens specifically points to ShopSavvy for showing shoppers where they can get the best deal on what they want. Stephens says consumers want to learn something. I agree. In the long run, successful location-based apps and campaigns will answer any of these questions:

  • Where can I find something to eat/drink/buy near me now?
  • Can anyone tell me if this is a good place to eat/drink/buy?
  • Is there a better price for this?
  • Is this the best solution for me?

The first question is a key question for businesses who cater to tourists. Because a tourist is a customer who doesn’t know where to spend money. You need a location-based campaign that will explain to tourists why they should spend their money at your business.

Anything that makes customer reviews available to a consumer on the road will be relevant to your business.

Now consider what Nicki Hicks says about Foursquare vs. Yelp:

What Yelp has that Foursquare doesn’t

  • Quick tips
  • Reviews
  • Reviews that will be pulled into Google Maps, and other local directories
  • Add information about a business (that isn’t necessarily yours)
  • Add photos for a business (that isn’t necessarily yours)

via The Differences Between Yelp and Foursquare (and Why Yelp Will Outshine Foursquare) | Maine SEO Blog.

I have to agree with her. Especially considering that Yelp has a huge database of reviews. That goes a long way toward answering my first two questions.

If Foursquare is going to stay relevant, it needs to push its tips function. It can become a micro-review site.

What does this mean for your business?

No matter what, your customers are going to have more opportunity to talk about your business in mobile platforms. You need a strategy that encourages them to say good things and publish your content.

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