With the introduction of Facebook Places, geolocation-based services are about to hit the mainstream. Rather than focus on the news or consumer uses, I want to look at the potential of such services for business-to-business customer marketing.
MarketingSherpa recently wrote about an iPhone app developed by Morrison & Foerster LLP (subscription required shortly). This app allows you to browse bios, get directions to a local office, get news and even play a game. I suspect that one of the main objectives for the company’s “MoFo2Go” is to increase customer loyalty and referrals.
Now imagine if you take this type of app to the next level, enabling customers and employees to proactively share their geographic locations with one another. You’ve created a mobile community where customers and prospects can search, find and connect with others located near them.
And if they are able to preview information, such as company title or industry, they can reach out to your subject matter experts to resolve an issue or get feedback on the company and products. Almost anytime, anywhere.
The potential benefits of such services are:
- Customer retention: Provides an alternative channel for customers to resolve issues, leading to happier customers
- Customer referrals: With happy customers, they will be open to sharing the app to their colleagues and industry peers
- Customer engagement: With the potential for real-time feedback and support, you are increasing engagement not only with your company brand but also with evangelists within your company
While the potential for geolocation-based services is just being uncovered, I anticipate that early adopters like Morrison & Foerster will demonstrate that the risk is worth it to increase customer retention, loyalty and ultimately engagement.
What other ways can geolocation be used?
UPDATE: Received comment from Ann Taylor that indicates that this may be a viral email that is being passed around. If someone has any information on this, let me know and I will update accordingly. As such, I am taking Ann Taylor’s name off the list. Let’s see if other retailers will respond to their online reputation…
UPDATE: 11/24/08 Wilson Leathers has responded in the comments below so I’m striking their name from the list. Will be posting an update shortly.
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My cousin just sent me an email about gift cards, especially from companies that have filed for bankruptcy this year. Per her email:
Stores that are planning to close after Christmas are still selling the cards through the holidays even though the cards will be worthless January 1. There is no law preventing them from doing this. On the contrary, it is referred to as ‘Bankrupcy Planning). Below is a partial list of stores that you need to be
The list includes (I cannot verify the accuracy of this as this list was forwarded to me. Please feel free to clarify in the comments if there are additions or deletions to be made):
Circuit City (filed Chapter 11)
Ann Taylor- 117 stores nationwide closing
Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug ,and Catherine’s to close 150 stores nationwide
Eddie Bauer to close stores 27 stores and more after January
Cache will close all stores
Talbots closing down specialty stores
J. Jill closing all stores (owned by Talbots)
Pacific Sunwear (also owned by Talbots)
GAP closing 85 stores
Footlocker closing 140 stores mo re to close after January
Wickes Furniture closing down
Levitz closing down remaining stores
Bombay closing remaining stores
Zales closing down 82 stores and 105 after January
Whitehall closing all stores
Piercing Pagoda closing all stores
Disney closing 98 stores and will close more after January.
Home Depot closing 15 stores 1 in NJ ( New Brunswick )
Macys to close 9 stores after January
Linens and Things closing all stores
Movie Galley Closing all stores
Pep Boys Closing 33 stores
Sprint/Nextel closing 133 stores
JC Penney closing a number of stores after January
Ethan Allen closing down 12 stores.
Wilson Leather closing down all stores
Sharper Image closing down all stor~s
K B Toys closing 356 stores
Loews to close down some stores
Dillard’s to close some stores
Personally, I think this is a deceptive practice by these companies. I suppose, if you’re in bankruptcy with little options to come out of it, you’re not worried about customer loyalty. I can imagine a huge uproar as folks drop by on Jan. 1 and find their cards worthless.
All content copyright Cece Salomon-Lee, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, with the attribution: By Cece Salomon-Lee, PR Meets Marketing, and a link to the post.
Here is this week’s summary of articles. You can click on the Weekly Articles tag for previous issues or subscribe to the Weekly Articles Feed.
Building Relationships –
Valerie Valeria Maltoni of Conversation Agent discusses how revealing yourself is a key part of building relationships. As part of this post, Valerie provides her 4 good and bad things to do when pitching her.
Reinventing Journalism – Though written last week, I found Scott Karp’s post on Feb. 20th about reinventing journalism interesting. If more publications move to including links from other sources, how does this impact PR? And from a press room perspective, what is the value of creating a useful resource that also links to “competitive” coverage?
One Chair Creates Conversation -The Lonely Marketer had an interesting post about how a person created internal conversation at her company. All you need is two chairs, a sign and a person willing to listen. IMO, the last part is sometimes the most difficult thing to find.
The Emperor Has No Clothes – I frankly couldn’t improve on the title of this post by Michelle Golden of Golden Practices. In this post, Michelle discussed how her brutal honesty in reviewing CPA websites has won her fans. This wasn’t done with “marketing” in mind, but rather to share her expertise and provide counsel. This positions her as a thought leader and expert. And isn’t that what PR and marketing is all about?
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