Building A Brand with Cellphone Fans

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We here at Brandsplat aren’t big on patting ourselves on the back, but I’ll go ahead and do it anyway. I predicted a while ago that mobile marketing would catch on thanks to geolocation applications like Gowalla, Foursquare and Shopkick. We even talked about how the Brits were using cell phone marketing to achieve smashing success in this very blog. So it is with great satisfaction that I can say “told you so.”

The New York Times published this informative story online recently which happily confirms our suspicions: Many businesses are ditching the old loyalty card concept in favor of a new mobile version. Customers are jumping at the chance to ditch little plastic cards and hard-to-find pieces of paper. Instead, the new breed of customer loyalty employs mobile devices, things shoppers always carry with them in the first place. The wave of the future, as per the Times, is cards that can be scanned on your phone – including pre-existing loyalty cards. Fresh-faced startups like CardStar and CardBank are employing the latest smart phone technology to get customers to spend and rack up points at their favorite establishments. Geolocation apps, on the other hand, turn the whole you’re-spending-money thing into a game. Whee!

As we’ve discussed in prior blogs, the whole badge-and-checking-in thing is rather goofy but, hey, if people love it and it encourages them to support businesses of all sizes, then so be it. The coolest thing about the whole trend, though, is that mobile marketing is getting closer to nailing “real time marketing” which can speak to consumers right here and now. Gap, Burger King and Starbucks have jumped on board Loopt’s geolocation train. This allows them to offer deals and track loyalty as it happens.

Good-natured boasting aside, we’re happy mobile marketing is taking off. Smart phones add a spontaneous and fun shot in the arm to traditional marketing.

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