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Forget Retail: The B2B Applications of Foursquare

foursquare badges Foursquare is hot. The location-based social network has generated a lot of buzz in recent months and is adding thousands of users each day. Examples of businesses using this new platform have largely been limited to retail industry staples like coffee shops and restaurants . For retail businesses, location-based social networks such as Foursquare serve as a public loyalty program, providing business owners with valuable information about its customers while making it simple for customers to share their favorite places with their friends.

What About Foursquare for B2B?

While retail is important, how do other businesses take advantage of the rise in location-based social network usage? If you sell sheet metal, corn seed or software why should you care about location?

Foursquare Is A New Layer For Google - We have discussed in the past that location is changing search engine optimization . Regardless of industry it is likely that your customers and prospects are using search engines like Google to find important business information. As search engines evolve location information is an important new layer of information that will provide users with a more contextual experience. Businesses that succeed in the next generation of organic search engine marketing will have a content strategy that works with elements of location as well as social connections as a method of increasing search engine relevancy. 

Making Events Work Better - For B2B companies it is likely that as adoption of Foursquare increases, that trade show marketing will change. One of the important results of using online location-based networks is that they facilitate offline interaction.  Trade show marketing success is predicated on the ability to connect and build relationships with potential customers. Foursquare and other location-based services will only help to facilitate this connection. Additionally creative businesses will replace or augment their event sponsorships with promotions and activities on Foursquare.

A New Layer To CRM - Location-based applications like FourSquare are the precursor to enterprise-level location-based applications. As location-based technology begins to work its way into the enterprise, one of the key uses will be to manage sales teams and add richer data to CRM platforms. B2B companies may have private location-based networks for their sales staff. Using the GPS functionality in most smartphones used by sales staff, smart sales teams will automate locations of sales visits into the CRM system for a more accurate log of sales and nurturing activity. Additionally, it will make it easier for executives to change a sales person’s schedule to go talk with a “hot lead” because they will be able to do it on physical proximity in near real-time.

Identifying Prospects and Facilitating Lead Generation – Sales and marketing teams for B2B companies traditionally have profiles and personas for their customers. They have an idea about their personality, what motivates them, the types of activities they like to do. A significant part of who a person is, are the places they go and the people they spend time with. If you are in the business of selling software to engineers, then you can find the places in your sales area that engineers are likely to frequent and use location-based applications as a way to connect with them.

Do you agree with these opportunities? Has you business begun examining the marketing implications of location-based applications? 

Interested to see how you compare to other Foursquare users? Check out our new free tool: Foursquare Grader . Also checkout this Foursquare badges blog .

Photo Credit: MariSheibley

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