Everyone Wants To Know: Where Are You?

Since we wrote about Location-Based Services like Foursquare, Gowalla and Loopt last week, more news around these programs have been announced, potentially indicating the growing popularity with both users and brands. Here’s a recap of some of those stories, to keep you up on the news and provide some food for thought as it relates to your own business.

Twitter Announces They’ll Add Places to Its Posts:  This brings new offerings for those using Twitter for data mining.

Forsquare to Open Online Store: Foursquare users get their wishes granted for real “offline” badges and merchandise to display their status.

Forget the Major, Gowalla Focuses on Serendipitous Deals for All: Everyone gets a chance to win cool offers just for checking in where they already are.

Brightkite Launches Location-Based Photo Tips: Imagine your shoppers letting their friends know that they’re at your store, and the season’s first strawberries have arrived, proving their ripeness with a photo.

Which Startups Will Bridge the Physical and Virtual Worlds? And have the sticky-ness to provide long-term value for consumers and brands?

Frequent Foursquare Miles? Topguest Checks In: For the travel industry, Topguest allows users to gather their “check-ins” from any of the LBS services out there and trade them in to their preferred travel partner of choice for reward points.  Could TopShopper be next for grocer retailers?

PlaceBook Bets on Privacy: While the exact purpose of this yet-to-be launched application is unknown today, it’s poised to address the big hurdle facing many who’ve not yet jumped into Foursquare and other LBS apps: privacy concerns.

What’s Next for Location Marketing? And how will these apps deliver value beyond the “I’m here” announcement?

Facebook Location Features Confirmed and Coming Soon: No details yet, but watch your local twitter stream for news.

What are your thoughts on this fairly new, yet popular tool? Are you thinking about location-based marketing tactics for your brand?

Skills not Pills — A perfect storm?

I’m sitting here at ExpoWest 201o. The show is over, my feet are swollen, my back aches and my head is spinning — with new ideas on how we can help our customers. I love this show.   It’s such a great example of the imaginative power of capitalism and its ability to bring all kinds of new products and services to market.

One of the key themes that stood out was the mantra “Skills not Pills” coined by Dr. William Sears in his talk on wellness trends. He asserted that the path to get our country out of the healthcare mess is going to be led by education initiatives for self-care, not prescribing more pills. He emphasized that we need to get out of the current mode of prescribing more “silver bullet” prescriptions laden with side effects and into the mode of educating citizens (our customers) that they can lead a healthy, fulfilled, productive life through proper diet, regular exercise, and nutrition.  The science behind eating nutrient rich foods and supplements such as Omega 3′s, Vitamin D, immunity boosting anitoxidants and many others are well known.  The places where American citizens are getting recommendations such as hospitals, health care professionals, and retailers need to be teachers of lifestyle, not prescribers of pills.

I was encouraged by the amount of traffic that stopped by our booth at the show wanting to know how they can put together wellness education and marketing programs to get the word out on the great health and wellness products they carry.  What was especially exciting to hear where the many ways that retailers are thinking about trying to reach their customers.  From strengthening the resources on their website, to building social media programs, educating in-store and reaching consumers through phones, it was clear that many retailers are thinking about addressing the problem holistically, offering wellness ideas and tips in-store, on the web and on-the go through mobile applications.

A good example could be found at the standing room only seminar on social media I held.  The participation was tremendous as retailers, manufacturers and agencies were digging in on how to best leverage this new online marketing channel.  It’s clear that there is a great opportunity.  Facebook is now the #1 internet destination in the world.  Twitter has over 40 million tweets every day.  Wellness is searched on by over 65% of the US population every month.  Consumers are reaching out, interacting with their peers, looking for products and lifestyle ideas to incorporate in their daily routine.   The trend is growing.   There is a lot of opportunity.  How are you reaching out to share in the conversation?