But FourSquare was smart. By wooing the early adopters with a competitive, one-up game of "Mayor," FourSquare got cool in the right places -- among techies -- real quick.
Today, the social game is poised for a higher paying purpose: commerce.
Now that Near Field Communications are getting closer, Four Square can easily graduate from game to get-down-to-business. As blogger Caitlyn Mayers sees it, there's lots of opportunity for location-based marketing to eat through the landscape. "Think about how this could change your experience at a concert or at a movie. You could purchase tickets for reserved seats, order food and drinks, and pay for it all without having to use more that just your cell phone."
How can a business leverage FourSquare and other location-based apps? In July, business people in Charlotte, North Carolina, were invited to a session titled "The Evolution of FourSquare Marketing." The panel suggested eight fundamentals to help business people think through the possibilities:
• Ask the right questions before leveraging FourSquare for your business.
• Experiment with FourSquare as a user first.
• Listen through FourSquare.
• Understand the basic marketing tactics of FourSquare (tips, specials, badges).
• Build offline community through FourSquare.
• Integrate FourSquare marketing efforts with your full marketing campaign.
• Train your staff to keep them "in the know."
• Promote your FourSquare marketing/specials.
The same month, American Express launched Go Social, a tool that enables retailers to integrate offers to consumers with Foursquare and Facebook.
Clearly, the potential is here -- and when American Express buys-in, the potential is hot.
-- scrubbed by Marketing Brillo