For the past few weeks, this guy has been standing at a busy intersection I pass on my way home from work holding a picket sign announcing the closing of the K-Mart store just down the road. “Discounts of 70%-80%!” “Final Days!” Each year around tax time, without fail, there is a different man dressed up in a Statue of Liberty costume that waves like a maniac to passing cars while pointing to the small Liberty Tax office nestled in the strip mall behind him. These are examples of proximity marketing in its most rudimentary form. And believe it or not, it works.
New geotagging capabilities with Twitter essentially allow marketers to put a person on the corner wearing a sandwich board all day. When Twitter announced that its geotagging API was available, my head started spinning with the possibilities this would have for marketing. This technology is also hitting at a perfect time. More retailers are testing deals and coupon codes through social media, holiday shopping is in full swing, and more people are using smart phones than ever before.
Recent statistics published by Deloitte Services and the National Retail Federation show that 60 percent of consumers will use social media to locate coupons and discounts, and 59 percent of retailers will boost Twitter use.
Small businesses and franchisees will capitalize on geotagging first. By following local Twitter conversations, neighborhood shops will likely get people following them as well. As “tweepstakes” and offers are shared, a crop of local followers is cultivated through real-time discussions and custom offers built on the fly from trending topics.
Youth marketers should also be taking notice of the recent research from Pew Internet & American Life Project showing that the 18- to 24 year-old-demographic now accounts for 37% of Twitter users. That figure is up considerably from 2008. Instead of analyzing if this is an anomaly, wouldn’t you rather spend time cutting your teeth now on strategies for connecting with this demographic using Tweets?
Geolocation of tweets are just the beginning. Soon, I expect everything to have geotagging capabilities and tie back into social media. That means the GPS unit on your dash will tweet where you are driving, and fast-food chains or gas stations will tweet deals to lure you in. Facebook will follow suit, opening the door for marketers to deliver coupons and real-time offers while you update your status from your phone. Smartphone usage with youth will become ubiquitous in short order as data plans get cheaper and cell phone carriers start playing nice with each other. This has already led to more app development with a prerequisite that they include social media and geolocation utility. Target has an iPhone app that allows shoppers to check store inventory based on their location, get a store map, and even pinpoint the aisle in which the item is located.
How will you use geotagging in your marketing? Will youth notice and respond to offers from brands using this technology?