Today's mobile-toting customers are not only communicating with brands wherever they are and at all times of the day, but they're also giving the companies they do business with important information about where they are on different days of the week and at different times of the day. This information, when used properly, can allow businesses to communicate with their customers in an extremely relevant and personalized way. For example, a person who checks into a coffee shop regularly in the morning might appreciate a coupon for a sandwich from that particular business and could increase his spend at that store.
However, organizations need to be extremely careful not to cross the line and start sending their customers messages that aren't relevant to them. When I caught up with Steve Rosenblatt, Foursquare's chief revenue officer, at last week's National Retail Federation conference, he highlighted the need to remain relevant. "Relevance and content is what it all boils down to," he stressed.
With five million check-ins every day, Foursquare has a huge amount of information about its users and is helping organizations connect with customers based on their proximity and preferences. "The more you check in, the more data [we have] and the more relevant information we can send," he said.
Although Rosenblatt pointed out that the organization doesn't give clients information about its competitors, the social media company uses data to direct members to venues that are relevant to them. For example, through regular check-ins a person might have shown that he likes Mexican restaurants. Therefore, when he uses Foursquare to search for an eatery in the vicinity of where he is, Foursquare will prioritize Mexican eateries, even if there are no restaurants that he's previously been to in that area. Rosenblatt stressed that the company's aim is to be relevant to its members, adding that it won't serve content just because companies are paying clients. "If you serve users information that isn't relevant it's a horrible experience," he noted.
Just because a customer is close to a particular business doesn't mean that he's interested in going there. Therefore, companies shouldn't use Geolocation services simply to communicate with every person who is close to their store or catering establishment. Instead, companies need to use the data they have to target customers to whom that information will be relevant. Otherwise, outreaches will be considered spam and forgotten as quickly as they're received.