Jan 31, 2011

Foursquare, Foursquare, in My Palm, What is the Fairest Way of Them All?

Edelman Digital writer, Jim Kopeny, brought up a good point in a recent blog about Foursquare mayorships and how businesses need to evolve their Foursquare rewards strategy. The Foursquare mobile application is used by millions of people every single day but its users experience either an abundance of reward or virtually none at all.

Much like Kopeny, my experience shows most businesses offer perks only to the Mayor – “If you’re the Mayor of Smoothie Queen, receive a free medium smoothie!” Unfortunately, if you’re not a compulsive user or visitor of a place with special offers, you’re not going to ever reap the benefits of using Foursquare for that location.

When I was at the pique of my obsession with the Foursquare mobile application, I used a nifty little website called WhenWillIBeMayor.com – after syncing it to your account, you can see who the current mayor is and how many more check-ins you need to oust ‘em. My competitive drive was on overload for a couple of weeks.

Alas, there were some people I was just never going to beat out. As a user, my desires to build my check-ins quickly faded when the realization that I would never be mayor was finally clear. In essence, where the stores sought to build my customer loyalty, they actually hindered it.

Maybe because they were employees, as Kopeny points out, or maybe because I simply didn’t go there enough. In either case, Kopeny’s advice to mobile marketers about needing more strategic, thoughtful rewards programs is very well expressed. Here are other ways merchants can use Foursquare for mobile marketing:

  • Frequency Specials: Receive a free appetizer (with purchase of entrée) on every 5th visit!
  • Count Specials: Free tanning in bed of your choice for first-time clients!
  • Venue Regulars Specials: During the month of October, check-in at Helga’s Haus of Brews 3 times and receive a free pint!
  • Custom Specials: If 10 or more people are checked in to this store, receive 10% off any CD of your choice.


[Post contributed by Emily Carroll]