Those of you old enough may recognise my borrowing of a Talking Heads song for the subject line of this post : )

Of course I’m talking about location-based social networking platforms. The likes of FourSquare, GowalaLoopt, etc. It’s not the first, or the last, time I’ll write about this, because it’s a big and interesting happening. It will change how marketers market, and how we will consume. When you incentives people to ‘log into’ new places, or to ‘check in’ to the same place as many times as you can, that begins to change behaviour. It’s a wonderful trend to watch.

The New York Times recently posted an article, Turning Consumer Loyalty into a Cell Phone Game, focussing on how to use these platforms as an alternative to loyalty cards. At long last! Do we really need the number of loyalty cards that are offered to us? Do retailers really think we want them? I guess some of us do, otherwise they wouldn’t keep churning them out, but it’s a pain to have to carry an extra bag just to move your loyalty cards around with you.

For retailers, these games and apps offer a new form of mobile marketing that goes well beyond a minibanner ad by rewarding consumers, individually, for their loyalty. And unlike paper cards, stores can use the data they collect from people’s cellphones to learn more about who their customers are and how they behave.

In the UK Domino’s Pizza is using FourSquare in a creative way. On Wednesday nights, the mayor of each of their restaurants is offered a free small pizza. Mashable covers the concept if you’re looking for some more detail in ‘Domino’s UK Rewards FourSquare Mayors with a Free Pizza‘.

The promotion could easily help the corporation drum up more sales. On Foursquare, users receive notifications when their friends check in at venues. Pizza checkin notifications from friends could certainly work to convince hungry Foursquare users to order or pick up Domino’s pizza.

In South Africa Global Wraps is a great FourSquare example. You can see how they’re using FourSquare here.

This is only going to get more interesting as more and more companies begin to apply their minds as to how they can tap into our interesting openness with where we’re going and where we’ve been.

TomorrowToday Global