In a recent project, I’ve been trying to sign-up venues here in Chicago to be on Foursquare. It’s been a fun experiment in sales and a wake up call to the difficulties of door to door sales pitches. Below I’d like to share some of the findings of the experiment (in the last post) and some of the suggestions that I would make to the Foursquare founders all based on venue feedback. These changes may make those local business partnerships a bit easier and more valuable.
1) Simplified measurement – venues don’t have time or resources to read through hundreds of tweets to see what people are thinking or wanting in real time. Maybe after the fact, that night or the next day, they could log in to review customer comments but a rating system may serve Foursquare well. For example, if in my Foursquare shout out that would eventually read:
Getting my marriage license. Now the government knows! (@ Daley Center in Chicago) http://bit.ly/4F696n
What if I really entered:
“Getting my marriage license. Now the government knows! 8“
As in, the experience was an 8/10. Foursquare could begin to have a ranking system for all of the experiences their ‘players’ have. This could be fun for the game players for comparing experiences with friends and getting really solid ranking of venues, and also this would create super valuable data for venues, giving them even more incentive to partner.
2) Tangible rewards, putting customers to work – what if venues could put customers to work for them? Would the game be fun enough and the incentives exciting enough for the customer to consciously bringing 10 people to a venue in order to receive a free round of drinks? Every so often Chipotle will call up someone in my office who just dropped off their business card and say, “bring 15 friends, you get free burritos today”. Foursquare could handle all of that type of outreach for venues. They could collect info on who’s coming in and who they’re bringing with them. The could measure the outreach potential for each person, targeting their best evangelists, and rewarding accordingly.
3) Just like EA, it’s in the game - Create game player incentives for signing up businesses on Foursquare. Because Foursquare has such a loyal group of users they have the ability to open source the recruitment of the businesses job to a special set (or all) of game players. Similar to the way that Foursquare has given certain users the ability to edit the venues, they could also give management rights to recruit venues. This could would increase the number of venues signed up exponentially.
Just like Wikipedia is successful solely because of the millions of people that edit content for free, Foursquare will be successful by using their community to curate it’s collected venue data.