Geo-Loco@ad:tech – Session 3

As we all carry smartphone around in our pockets, we embrace technology that is local, social, and mobile.  So, what’s the opportunity that arises from being always connected?  The potential exists for deeper engagement and easier transportation of online presence into offline transactions.  Local advertisements are more effective and certainly more relevant.  Checking into location-based services has moved from being just about physical places to be about brand engagement.

Location-Based Advertising—Here, Now and on the Go (Foursquare, Gowalla and Beyond)

Greg Sterling, Founding Principal of Sterling Market Intelligence (moderator)

Casey Petersen, Internet Business Director at Murphy USA

John Kim, VP of Product Management and Marketing at Perlago

Kristin Frank, General Manager of and

Andy Ellwood, Director of Business Development at Gowalla

Petersen and Kim described how Murphy USA sought to used location based social media to reinvent its brand.  They saw an opportunity to build a social loyalty program to make the business of cheap gas more social and more fun.  They looked to build on prizes to drive community and virality, as well as activating customers at the pump.  By creating a campaign on Whrrl that offered customers points, status, and the chance to win free tanks of gas, Murphy was able to get customers to visit stations more often, spend more, and recommend the station to their friends.

Frank talked about how MTV and VH1 have used the local and social spaces, from their early use of Twitter for VMAs to their current partnership with Foursquare.  They have used both talent and the brand for tips.  While the former compels interest, participation is a challenge.  Looking to the future, MTV and VH1 see opportunities with other partners in the LBS space (offering Facebook places as an example of a platform to look forward to.)

Ellwood wrapped up the session discussing Gowalla.  He believes that a check-in on a location-based service is an endorsement by an individual that a place is worth their time.  Similarly, the business at which people check-in see this and want to thank them, even if that thank you is just a virtual reward.  Gowalla embraces the idea of a digital passport and celebrating the experience of visiting locations.

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