What does this mean for the marketer/communicator? Increasingly people can volunteer their GPS location when they are talking or using the Internet. Rather than get into the technology, it just means that you can factor in one of the most important human experience elements into anyone’s mobile Internet experience: Where they are.
Location, often the rallying cry of franchised organizations from restaurants and big box stores, is finally available to the Internet communicator. No longer does this solely rely on census data and direct mail guesses by zip code, or opt-in snail mail lists. Instead, location can be used for much more, from mobile social networking applications to offers to drop in at local venues and stores.
The mobile social networking aspect is particularly dynamic. Mashable’s coverage focused almost completely on this. Another marketing firm, U.K. based V.G. Telecom, recently issued a report, “Mobile Social Networking and User Generated Content 2009-2014″ which highlighted this dynamic trend:
The scale of mobile social networking, the number of unique visitors to the Facebook mobile site increased fivefold from 5 million per month in January 2008 to 25 million in February 2009. The latter figure represents 18 percent of Facebook’s 120 million-strong user community in February 2009.
I really wish I could tell you how to use this stuff for your communications effort. But the truth of the matter is that location-based communications has long been dreamed about and experimented with from a communications standpoint. It has never become a foundation for mass market application.
CRT/tanaka has made recommendations to create location applications to map user preferred vendors of products in their specific communities. This is an increasingly used tactic (See Absolut Vodka’s effort). From a nonprofit standpoint, there are obvious meet-up and organizational benefits. Now that location and really mobile Internet usage is finally coming to fruition, the book is open on possibilities.