Facebook, check. Twitter, check. RSS feeds, absolutely. Mobile, heck yes. In short, email marketing and marketing automation vendor Silverpop has been steadily adding the social and mobile channels to its range of offerings.
Now it is pulling the “check-in” channel into the mix with its acquisition of PlacePunch, a location-based services marketing platform.
A Small Category With Huge Potential
While location-based marketing campaigns tend to be glitzy attention grabbers, they are still relatively small compared to other online marketing initiatives, acknowledged Loren McDonald, vice president of industry relations at Silverpop.
Still, industry projections call for location-based marketing to be a significant component of online communications within a few years — especially as more firms begin to integrate location-based initiatives with their loyalty programs.
“We see the whole location-based marketing and check-in concept as huge,” McDonald told CRM Buyer. “Look, when I joined Twitter just a few years ago, it had maybe 9 million users. Now it has more than 200 million.”
Companies cannot afford to ignore emerging technologies, especially given how rapid the adoption cycle has become, he said.
Also, there is something about location-based marketing that makes it seem as though it is everywhere, McDonald pointed out — perhaps because implementation is relatively easy for even small firms to do.
“When I was in Amsterdam recently, the river cruise we booked at had a giant Foursquare sign for customers to check in,” he recalled.
Silverpop has already made inroads into geolocation technology. It recently launched a FourSquare “To Do” button. This allows marketers to create location-based marketing messages that can be added to recipients’ FourSquare accounts.
The PlacePunch acquisition broadens Silverpop’s capabilities in this niche considerably. In particular, its toolset will make it much easier for companies to integrate check-in messages with loyalty programs and even multichannel initiatives, said McDonald.
Features include a rewards programs that offers special incentives to customers who check in to a particular location, check-in contests functionality, location-based offers, and check-in messaging. It works across all of the major location-based social networks. It also has reporting and analytics to evaluate the campaigns.
Perhaps the biggest value-add that the integration of location-based marketing will bring to the table will be data collection, according to McDonald.
“You have one user that checks into a downtown eatery for lunch four times a week and another that checks in to a nice restaurant on the weekend. That tells you volumes about their lifestyle and what services or goods they might want,” he said.
Another reason to adopt location-based marketing is that customers often wind up doing a bit of marketing on behalf of the location, added McDonald. “There is a distinct social aspect to this, with people leaving reviews about a restaurant for their friends to read.”