A smartphone is like a personal GPS and marketers are starting to explore ways to tap your potential whether you are sitting on your family room couch or driving into their store parking lot.
A retailer has a home field advantage by recognizing where you are located. If a customer is browsing online, the retailer may offer an incentive to convince the customer to stop by. If the customer is about ready to enter the store, the offer may differ and seek to persuade the customer to look at a wider array of products.
Smartphone users have employed apps such as Foursquare to let friends know where they are hanging out or if a party is brewing. Marketers can take the same localized information and turn it into customized pitches contained in a Facebook link or QR code.
Some retailers stop short of offering discounts or other incentives and simply use customer GPS information to stimulate online interaction. For these retailers, Foursquare is a social media platform to check in or follow-up to ensure customer satisfaction. Positive comments resulting from the interaction can become lead generators, as well as reminders to past customers.
The bottom line is that marketing is going mobile. But marketers want mobile outreach to blend with other channels so customers feel surrounded, but not suffocated. There is a huge qualitative leap between a billboard you drive by and an online connection generated by a smartphone app that lets a retailer know your whereabouts.
Expect to see more mobile marketing innovations that go where you go.