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BlackSmith Communications attends "Bringing it Back: CES and SXSW" panel, Part I


Always keeping a sharp eye and ear out for the next big digital trends, BlackSmith Communications was thrilled to attend MITX and BIMA's "Bringing it Back: CES and SXSW" panel discussion last week. Moderated by David Shing, AOL's Digital Prophet, the panel featured Adam Kasper of Havas Digital, Mike Schneider of Allen & Gerritsen, Steven Brennan of Digital Influence Group, and Jim Barry of the Consumer Electronics Association. In this next series of blogposts, marketing intern Angelina Zhou will share her favorite social technology and creative design highlights from the event. Please share, post questions and comments, or email!

Part I: SoLoMoCo 

Earlier this year, a major flurry of Tweets, clicks, and check-ins took the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive by storm. Amidst the social media networking frenzy, Mike Schneider noted the influence of SoLoMoCo, referring to social, location, and mobile commerce.

As seen in the case of Foursquare, the popular SoLoMoCo platform allows users to "check-in" at various locations, broadcast these trails to their friends and followers, compete to achieve "mayor" status at various venues based on frequency of visits, and even receive discounts on purchases and other rewards for customer loyalty. Created by co-founders Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai in 2009, Foursquare is now available in 11 languages including Portuguese, Thai, and Indonesian. As of January 2012, the website supports more than 15 million users, and over 1.5 billion check-ins, a number increasing by millions every day. Foursquare is designed to "make the real work easier to use" whether it is trip-planning, coordinating dinner plans, or simply keeping up with the day-to-day activities of friends and others in the community.

Foursquare users are essentially creating a rich data map of daily habits and interactions via check-ins. Various other SoLoMoCo platforms are also storing enormous amounts of clicks, demographics, and other information that could prove to be highly valuable to marketers, businesses, and the like. Yet, as Schneider notes, this data has largely gone un-investigated by the experts, especially at SXSW Interactive. During the "Bringing it Back" event, he gives the example of the virtual dressing rooms that certain clothing retailers have implemented to aid shoppers in the buying experience. Schneider speculates that these virtual dressing rooms would be much more effective if the program would track a customer's previous purchases at the retail location so that returning buyers may preview how a new purchase could complement items already in his/her wardrobe. This data is a tool to help marketers understand consumers, more effectively satisfy their needs and wants, and ultimately add value to any marketing or promotional campaign.

While SoLoMoCo platforms have been generating much interest and excitement from users and businesses alike, Schneider argues that check-ins and discounts are not enough to measure ROI. Foursquare and other similar social networking websites may appear to be all fun and games, but the truth is that they hold enormous value for businesses. This industry research has largely gone unrealized, but perhaps the data mined from these location-based services will be put to more strategic use as we enter the second quarter of 2012.

As social media matures and the Internet continues to go mobile, businesses can no longer afford to overlook SoLoMoCo technologies. Thank you, Mike Schneider, for drawing this strategy to BlackSmith's attention!

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