According to a post early this morning on the Wall Street Journal’s influential AllThingsD blog, flash couponing/daily deals behemoth Groupon is in talks with location-based services (LBS) innovator Foursquare, in which nearby coupons would be integrated with everyone’s new favorite pastime of checking in.
or CMO.com late last year, LBS and flash couponing were two of the trends I advised marketers to watch out for in 2011. A tie-up between the two biggest names in the business would only provide value for marketers (‘one-stop shopping’) and can drive innovation in the industry.
But the value would be for marketers of small- to medium-sized businesses – which need all the help they can get. National retail, service, and hospitality chains have largely shunned Groupon (or perhaps, it’s the other way around), but perhaps this new alliance may change the game a bit.
Both companies have attractive, funky, irreverent branding – Groupon specifically employs 425 editors, most of t
hem journalists, to craft its cheeky pitch emails — and Foursquare’s ‘Mayor’ concept and points system, and integration with social media, can definitely benefit Groupon.
Let’s face it: Groupon, while calling itself a social media play, only uses social media to partially market the coupon and nothing else (the good ole’ eblitz is still its core marketing weapon). Competitor LivingSocial lives up more to its name, as you can get your coupon free if three of your friends decide to purchase the same special.
At issue is the recently announced – last Friday, to be exact – alliance between Groupon and LBS competitor Loopt, to offer Groupon Now!, or real-time alerts that flash across the smartphone screen when a u
ser is in the vicinity. Groupon Now! is currently only available in Chicago.
How a Groupon-Foursquare tie-up will differ from a Groupon-Loopt alliance remains to be seen. It is also unclear if there is any exclusivity, and/or if Groupon will also be approaching the other LBS providers, including Gowalla or even Facebook Places. (Facebook launched its own daily deals service on Tuesday, April 26, 2011).
Oddly enough, Foursquare already approaches merchants for deals, known as Specials, and highlighted in orange on a user’s screen. An alliance with the largest provider of such deals can only accelerate this effort.