Discussion: What is the future landing place for location-based marketing?

Location-based marketing is here to stay, in some form or another. The ability to connect and market based on immediacy and location is extremely powerful and we’ve only just started playing in the space (Foursquare, Gowalla, etc).

I think we can all agree that the current state of having many services to check-in on and having your friends scattered across them is not the end game.

What I’d love for us to discuss is where it eventually falls out. 4 examples:

1) There is a winner. An app emerges that beats out everyone else and becomes the service we use to “check in” to a location. This could be Foursquare.

2) A larger platform gobbles up the feature and in the aftermath the little guys die off. Facebook or Twitter launch their own (Twitter just did something similar and Facebook is promising to). Or they buy one of the little guys.

3) Companies/brands/locations embed this feature into their mobile apps and make it a part of the experience. Example: you go to the Corner Bakery (where I’m writing this post actually, props to their free wifi) and you check-in on their app and immediately you see the coffees they are serving, recent reviews of their sandwich special and directions on how to connect to their wifi.

4) Something completely different.

How do YOU think this all ends? And try not to be wishy washy down the middle about this, saying it’s a combination of everything is too easy ;)


  1. Raghu Kakarala on April 20, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    there are two things that need to be nailed to win at this. one is YOU and the other is WHERE – so people who own the most YOU's (Facebook currently) who can check-in to the most WHERE's (actual places, and google owns the most places right now, though bing might be a nice second place right now).

    Right now the full story of location based marketing doesnt exist, the location based startups dont have nearly enough users and also have poor lists of places. So they have to nail both YOU's and WHERE's – google and facebook each have half of the story already so one of those two will win and the other will be a solid second place.

  2. Michelle Batten on April 20, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Jeff –

    Thanks for your kind comments about my post. Glad you are continuing the conversation on your blog – its sorely needed!

    Hmmm…all your scenarios are plausible to some degree. However, I'm going to place my bet on #2 4Sq and others get gobbled up or die off. Reason: Facebook has done a pretty amazing job at becoming a true social platform and not just a burgeoning network of users. In order to achieve the utility and scale that I mentioned in my last blog post, I think it will require a more robust backbone than what most of these services probably enjoy. Time will tell.

  3. Raghu Kakarala on April 20, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    also the phone guys could do this well – apple or google or RIMM – but google will use their platform and allow others to use it or innovate on it, RIMM is still clueless about their platform's extended uses but has great marketshare and APPLE will do some proprietary thing a year from now with iAd and tell everyone its awesome and innovative. So one or more of the phone guys could do a good solid job with LBM as well.

  4. Pete Reilly on April 21, 2010 at 1:52 am


    Great question. Absolutely #3. Hope all is well.

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