Monday, July 26, 2010

Where Are Your Customers and Why Geolocation Applications Matter

Geolocation. Say the word and expect a puzzled look, stunned silence, and the question “Who would ever need to know about such a thing?”

Simply answered: everyone.

The speed at which internet-technology-created opportunity presents itself is stunning…and it isn’t letting up or slowing down. The latest trend is geolocation applications for mobile devices like the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. Because the need to understand and engage this platform is so critical, Durham News Service will feature several articles helping Durham businesses understand these tools in addition to learning how to “claim” one’s online real estate.

These applications are simultaneously social media and wildly powerful business tools. They allow a business to deliver and target messages to people who want to receive them AND to those close by in real-time. Think of it like this – as a geolocation application user gets physically closer to a business, a notification (and possibly an ad) for that business pops up on the user’s phone or mobile device. This is coming – soon.

These applications also permit users to see where their friends are in real-time so long as they “check in” using the application. Doing so earns users points and wins them badges. Scvngr, a relatively new mobile app, has created games where players earn points by checking in and completing tasks. Savvy businesses that befriend their patrons on these services can see who is close by – which opens the door to a host of marketing possibilities.

These services are all part of the so called “online real estate” spectrum. Business owners need to stake their claim on these by ensuring posted information is correct, by loading tips and images, and by utilizing other features that permit further personalization.

DCVB will host a series of seminars this fall on how to engage services like these. Additional information will be forthcoming soon.

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