In this coming year, technology is going to make the greatest impact with tweets that are geotagged. A lot of excitement surfaced recently over Tasti D-Lite's new loyalty program that rewards its patrons while simultaneously promotes their product via automated tweets on Twitter and Foursquare. However, while appearing to put a whole new spin on CRM, is this new type of viral communication with the brand's end user going to sell more desserts, or does it need a location-based component to really make it successful?
How it works
Participants register for their loyalty program "Treat Cards" online, given the option of allowing Tasti D-Lite to send an alert out on their behalf whenever points are earned or redeemed - for example at their New Rochelle location.
When cards are swiped at the New Rochelle's point-of-sale register, the user's Twitter or Foursquare followers immediately are sent a tweet that says: "I just earned 11 TastiRewards points at Tasti D-Lite New Rochelle."
Of Tasti’s 47 locations, the Scottsdale, Arizona and Nashville, Tennessee stores were the first to offer the new promotion. Eight others are slated to be up and running soon, with the full roll-out to be completed by the spring.
Fly In The Ointment
As innovative as this viral campaign appears, to become truly effective it needs to be geotagged to become a social media tool of consequence. As it stands presently, it can be perceived as an intrusion by individuals who are turned off by branded chatter promoting another's interaction with a product. In essence, what value does it present to one's followers? Yes, it's great you're enjoying your icecream and earning points simultaneously - but it doesn't present the receiver of your tweets with any insight or incentive to retweet that message.
Shotgun versus Rifle Approach
Since the Twitterverse is vast, geolocation tagging needs to be added to this campaign to make it more robust and appealing to both the sender and the receiver. On a strategic level, a brand's loyalty programs needs to impress the masses. This is the shotgun approach that can get the attention of a large number of people. However, attention is only the first step in the selling process. To promote a specific product for sale, a brand needs a rifle approach, and this is accomplished by targeting smaller numbers of people based on demographics or in Tasti D-Lite's case...geographics.
Localized promotions like Tasti D-Lite would have greater success if Twitter's new "geotagged" functionality was used to specifically target a user's local following versus his or her's total following.
To make this happen, users need to opt-in to Twitter's new "geotagged" feature, which at present is underutilized by most because it is only available on certain Twitter 3rd party APIs such as Seesmic Web, Birdfeed, Foursquare, Gowalla, Twidroid, Twittelator Pro and a few others.
Twitter geotagging option
As I have written in previous blogs, Twitter is on its way to building its own Location-based social network (LBS) and their "Local Trends" feature is their first entree into that arena.
Twitter local trends
As they grow their geolocation component (currently under development by Twitter's newly acquired GeoAPI), you are going to see some remarkable things roll out in the next six months. Services such as "tweets as place of check-in, (a la Foursquare)" "local ads" and "local business services" are just a few on the drawing boards. (also see "Twitter & GeoAPI's Great Land Rush Of 2010" to learn how 3rd party API developers are pushing this envelope).
So while marketing budgets are thin, and Tasti DLite is trying to take advantage of the cost benefits of using Twitter it needs to differentiate its messages to make its loyalty program truly effective. While their brand message can coincide with their product message, their consumers need to know to utilize the "geolocation" component that is now available to make the difference.
This is an evolutionary process and we are all fairly new at the "location" game, but as this year progresses, it's companies like Tasti DLite that are pioneering the path and creating the model for other brands to follow. At this juncture however, we have be cognizant that the axiom "being all things to all people," is not going to work in the new "geolocation" marketing space.