Thoughtful research genius Tom Webster wrote an interesting post a couple weeks ago about where the location-based business could head, moving beyond the momentary check-in toward more nuanced and relevant customer interactions, using location data as the raw materials.
His example was his local watering hole, where he figures by the time he’s checked in 10 times, the offer they make on Foursquare should encourage his evangelism, not just offer a discount on an item he doesn’t order.
And he’s absolutely right. Businesses could – and should – be doing so much more with location-based services like Foursquare, unified social log-ins like Janrain, custom landing tabs on Facebook, video, Google Analytics, mobile, ad retargeting with Fetchback, multi-variate testing, and about 100 other things. But you know why they aren’t? Because they are trying to run their core business, not maximize the value of Foursquare.
Pointing the Finger in the Wrong Direction
I think Tom (and others) are misplacing the blame. We have all the tools we need to do amazing digital and social marketing right now. The problem with advanced social marketing isn’t the wand, it’s the wizards.
We have so much crazy and amazing stuff at our disposal that it’s hard to fathom the days of not-so-long-ago when the big corporate decision was what size to make the direct mail piece.
Businesspeople (especially small business), and even professional marketers cannot possibly keep up with the pace of social media innovation. It’s wholly and completely unsustainable, and instead of learning to swim in this river of invention, it’s making people scared of getting in the water.
Whose fault is it that Klout is widely misused? Klout’s or the companies that use it? Whose fault is it that most companies utilize about 10% of Google Analytics’ capabilities? Google’s or the companies that don’t have time to learn how to use it better? Whose fault is it that for many companies Twitter is still just a tiny press release machine? Twitter’s, or the companies that use it that way?
We don’t have a technology and tools problem. We have an understanding and adoption problem, which is driven primarily by confusion and lack of time. In fact, I think we genuinely would be better off as marketers if we had a six month moratorium on EVERYTHING. No new Facebook features. No new social networks. No new YouTube functionality. No new Instagram or Foursquare or Viddy or mobile apps or near field communications or QR codes or the hot new skywriting app somebody is cooking up as I write this.
I am fortunate enough to do social marketing for a living, and it’s still challenging to keep up with it all. I can’t imagine how somebody with a “real job” doesn’t feel constantly overwhelmed.
Let’s focus on doing just a few things better, and worry less about doing everything that’s possible.