History Channel on Four Square

Is anyone still convinced that location based services like Four Square have little application for marketers?  While the correct way to use the services most effectively may not be completely worked out, the potential is promising.  Time and greater use of the applications will go a long way in determining exactly how and to what extent they will be used to promote products and services going forward.

The History Channel is engaging viewers through Four Square as a way of promoting their April 25th, twelve hour television event, featuring the story of “how America was invented”.   Four Square users around the United States are encouraged to ‘check in’ to historical landmarks in their cities to unlock free tips (historical facts) and to earn a limited edition History Channel badge.  Those that participate are also entered into weekly draws to win history channel prize packages.

While it is still clearly a learning process as companies try to integrate location based services into their promotional offerings, those that work out the kinks early will more quickly determine how to connect best with their customers and reach wider audiences around the world.

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Patience is a Virtue

They say patience is a virtue, but as technological advancements spark new product development quicker than ever before, patience becomes an even more important characteristic, particularly for those that truly support an idea from the beginning.

In many cases, technology is moving faster than the level of consumer comfort required for the mass adoption of new product or service models that people simply aren’t used to. Innovators and entrepreneurs must be careful not to mistaken slow adoption for product failure.

Four Square, for example, has been slow to catch on – but it’s potential is huge and supporters continue to believe that with time usages levels will improve. Some believe that GPS enabled products have been slower to popularize because the average consumer is not yet comfortable revealing their location. Just as the masses have grown comfortable with the privacy concerns that were raised regarding access to personal information on Facebook, I expect similar consumer tolerance of location based services over time.

According to this source, Four Square and Gowalla both had an impact at the SXSW this year, to me, a strong indication of things to come.