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Forget Foursquare; how marketers are obsessed by shiny new things

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 3rd August 2010

Yesterday, I blogged about our fear of change. Today, I want to talk about an issue that may, at first, seem contradictory. Because, while the world in general dislikes change as much as my cat likes having her nails clipped, many marketers simply love the chance to jump on a new technology and hail it as the best thing since sliced bread.

Latest case in point: Foursquare. If I had a pound for every time I’ve seen a fellow marketer on Twitter talk about ‘an amazing new Foursquare case study’ or asked fellow pros about their ‘best tips for getting the most out of Foursquare’, I’d be a rich man.

Foursquare only used by 4% of US adults

I was therefore doubly interested to read research last week, which finds that only 4% of US adults use location-based services and only 1% update them once per week (or more). 84% of Americans said they had no idea what these types of app even were.

It is no surprise that these early adopter technologies get a very small, loyal following, which then grows over time. It is also understandable that forward-thinking marketers are quick to get to grips with these new platforms and join the early adopter crowd. But, this is where things should stop.

At Wildfire we are fascinated by shiny new technologies, but when it comes to running campaigns and devising strategies for clients, our approach is 100% audience centric. The marketing media might lap up the latest Foursquare campaign, but your target audience likely won’t.

So, next time an agency tries to sell you a fantastic Foursquare strategy, just ask yourself whether the 1% really constitutes the majority of your target audience and, if not, be really suspicious about whether this is just attempt for your agency to get a bit of PR in NMA…

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