Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley Says the Future of Loyalty Marketing is Mobile


Foursquare Co-Founder Dennis Crowley says his location-based social network has more than 5 million active users checking into places on their mobile devices. 

Social media influencers call Foursquare, which released a new API, the next big thing. But Dennis Crowley, who also says he’s logging 5 thousand new registrations daily, calls Foursquare the future of loyalty marketing.

The concept of rewarding consumers for coming back is nothing new. Digital marketing agencies and email marketing firms have been doing this for decades now.

But providing rewards in online public spaces brings a public relations visibility and credibility component to a marketing tactic that up until now, has always been one-to-one. The one-to-many aspect of checking in on social networks brings a third party endorsement component into play.

Offering rewards on a service like Foursquare brings a one-to-many component to relationship marketing because by providing incentives online, marketers can motivate entire communities.

Global consumer research suggests people in mature markets are more concerned about protecting their personal privacy than people in emerging and developing markets. But in the US, privacy concerns appear to be waning in nearly all age brackets, according to Pew Internet. 

Crowley didn’t offer a breakdown of Foursquare users by country, but he did report the majority of check-ins are being made on social networks bu consumers outside the US.
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There are rumors that Facebook is working on a Facebook phone, which, if true, could pose a severe challenge to Foursquare.  But concerning Foursquare’s strategy for competing with Facebook Places, Crowley says his service is different because it focuses on game mechanics, social media dynamics, and inspiring adventure.

The first differentiator is fair.  Foursquare is more like a game than Facebook Places, but when it comes to social dynamics, Facebook’s indeed a much bigger party.

So, are game mechanics enough of a differentiator to sustain Foursquare’s momentum?  Time will tell, but until then, the location-based social networking leader will continue mapping the new models for executing digital loyalty marketing programs online.

The source material for this blog post was an interview with Dennis Crowley by Loic LeMeur at Le Web in Paris.

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