Turning “Check-Ins” Into “Checkouts”: The New Holy Grail For Social Marketing?

I do not use foursquare, in fact I am even a little mystified by the craze around the whole “check-in” concept that has even stirred Facebook to create its “places” feature.

But the fact is, whether we’re targeting using mobile phones, check-in data, Facebook places information, or whatever, geo-location is here to stay. Now, the question becomes – “do we become hyper-personal or hyper-local as social marketers?”

In my opinion, hyper-local presents more opportunity. (And in some cases, hyper-local is almost a subset of hyper-personal – but I digress…) In a B2C word, it is in my mind more important to catch consumers “where they are” rather than with “the right message.”

Sound confusing? Let me explain…

For example, if I am sitting at home and I am hit with a great deal on a particular food item from, say, Taco Bell – I may say “that’s a great deal” and probably forget about it next time I am out and thinking of a good lunch spot. But if I were to get a text or Facebook message or @reply on Twitter while I am within 50 feet of a Taco Bell at 1PM – I am probably more likely to say “hey, I think I will try their new bacon and bubblegum Gordita Supreme for lunch!”

(Now, the “relevancy” of something like fast food here is going to be different than say that of a shoe company where I might be inclined to purchase online etc.)

We are beginning to enter an age where B2C brands can easily collect and store tons of geographical data on customers – freely given up by the use of social media. Coupling the location data with other freely given up data – around product preferences (what I “like” on Facebook for example) can create a dossier on individuals. Marketers could create rules to send mildly personalized offers at logical times to consumers performing trigger events like a check-in.

And thus by getting a somewhat mass-produced message to someone at the right time may be more effective than trying so hard to craft highly individualized messages that have less temporal relevancy because of the medium (my desktop PC rather than my phone) and the location (stuck at work versus being able to actually go grab a half-price margarita at Chili’s after 5PM).

Martin Schneider is Director of Product Marketing at SugarCRM. In his role, Martin handles competitive intelligence, marketing positioning and analyst relations. Prior to joining SugarCRM, Martin held the position of senior analyst with technology industry research firm the 451 Group, headquartered in NYC. Martin covered the CRM landscape for the 451, analysing and consulting on such topics as Software-as-a-Service, business intelligence and open source applications. Martin also covered the CRM space as news editor with CRM Magazine in New York.