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Marketing Goes Mobile Businesses Use Location-Based Technology to Market to Consumers


Ross Gordon

n a rainy Saturday night in Evanston, Chris Morales checked in to Buffalo Wild Wings using a location-based services (LBS) application on his phone. “I check in so it looks like I’m doing something,” said Morales who attends Mather High School in Chicago and was at Buffalo Wild Wings for the UFC watch party. Morales did not redeem any discounts for checking in. However, he could have had a free Coke Zero or six free wings simply by a few clicks on his mobile device. Businesses are shifting marketing strategies to put emphasis on mobile devices — a way of responding to a rising consumer market: individuals who are always on the go. In just the last year, smartphone use among 13 to 34-year-olds rose about 20 percentage points, according to a recent Nielsen study. Discounts Move to Your Mobile Device The use of mobile marketing has increased over 40 percentage points in the last two years, according to an Association of National Advertisers study. “It now becomes possible for marketers to say how can I be relevant knowing where you are,” said Tom Collinger, the executive director of the Medill IMC Spiegel Digital & Database Research Initiative. “That’s not a question that was really all that relevant until this.” “The way that media was planned, bought and sold was not so much where you are, but what you are interested in.” Location, Location, Location Today, location plays a huge role in marketing efforts to entice consumers. At LuLu’s in Evanston, consumers who check in on Four-

The Struggle Between Noise and Knowledge Alec Schulman

The solution is engagement Here are three steps crucial to any firm’s success in online and offline markets.

square and spend more than $15 can get a free brownie desert. Through 55 days, the reward was unlocked 139 times, according to William Guth, the web project manager of the North Shore Media Company and manager of LuLu’s mobile marketing strategy. “The brownie did surprisingly well,” Guth said. “It is a good motivator to get people to come in.” INFORMATION FROM THE ASSOCIATION OF NATIONAL ADVERTISERS LuLu’s also offers a loyalty reward on Foursquare where if Mobile marketing use increased 43 percentage points from 2009. customers check in three times months ago when her friends ager Pablo Zayas said “no more before Dec. 31, they can get $10 told her it had deals at local than five” rewards have been rerestaurants, she said. Bronk, a deemed. off their next bill. Privacy vs. Commerce “The number of customers senior in the Weinberg College As businesses begin to ofwe do a day… the number of re- of Arts and Sciences, has only redemptions we get… it’s a very deemed one reward at a McDon- fer more LBS focused deals on mobile applications, the chalsmall amount,” said Owner Dan- ald’s in Chicago. Like Bronk, many consum- lenge arises for the business to iel Kelch. Buffalo Wild Wings uses ers do not seem to be using be more relevant than intrusive. these deals “We are on the very front SCVNGR — r e g u l a r l y . end of this wonderful, wonderful a mobile Desai Clay, sea change of making it possible application a part-time for people to get what they want, that allows associate at when they want it, where they customers RadioShack are,” Collinger said. “The probto check in, in Evanston, lem is that, from the consumer post photos said people side, if it really isn’t seen as cool, or complete challenges –Tom Collinger “don’t have if it’s seen as an invasion, they the incentive [businesses] have started to kill at locations their golden goose.” to receive points. Customers can to check in here by themselves.” “A year ago we had 20 perEddie Lakin, the owner of get $5 off of their purchase of $25 or more for 35 points and a cent off if you checked in and we Edzo’s Burger Shop in Evanston, all mentioned it at the counter,” does not use mobile marketing free Coke Zero for seven. However, Sheridan Foster, Clay said. “People were checking because it is “too crowded and confusing.” the manager of the Buffalo Wild in left and right.” However, RadioShack em“I’m ‘anti’ all of that,” Lakin Wings in Evanston, said she only redeems two SCVNGR deals a ployees were not supposed to said. “It’s just too much informention this deal to customers. mation. I can’t wrap my brain week. “I’m not seeing many people When they stopped prompting around it.” But like Lakin, some condo challenges,” Foster, 32, said. customers to check in, Clay said “It surprises me when they do he noticed the number of people sumers feel the same way. Carlos who check in on Foursquare dip Agrelo, a banker from Chicago, have it.” to roughly two people per week. does not use those applications Consumer Skepticism But the modest number of because they “seem a little silly” As of now, only 5 percent of cell phone owners, 12 percent unlocked LBS rewards does not and invade his privacy, he said. “Those coupons are geared for smartphone owners, use stop at consumer electronics as their devices to check in, accord- Red Mango has seen a modest if you have expendable income ing to a 2011 Pew Internet sur- number of unlocked rewards at not for staples of the household,” its Evanston location. The frozen Agrelo said. “People aren’t eating vey. Mackenzie Bronk started yogurt chain offers one deal on out every day. Let me check in to using Foursquare about two Foursquare and Assistant Man- Trader Joe’s for some hummus.”

It now becomes possible for marketers to say how can I be relevant knowing where you are.


CREATION The concept must be clear and concise; easily modifiable and has the ability to be revised and tweaked, because all content on the web is both looked over by the mass and scrutinized by the few. Its purpose must be stated strongly to reach out to the skimmers and intelligent enough to attract the critics.


NETWORK DEMOGRAPHICS One of the Internet’s most powerful innovations is behavioral targeting — the ability to document every click, purchase and comment. Collating this information into a database promotes logical advertising of thoughts and products to the groups that seek it.

January 2012



INSPIRING CONVERSATION The more relevant content becomes to a network, the more likely it is to be spread among others. If condition is not satisfied, the concept will be nothing more than noise — a cacophony that enters the ear but never makes it into the brain of the audience.



NBR Winter 2012 Newsletter  
NBR Winter 2012 Newsletter