Understanding the Location-Based Engagement Stack

Editor’s note: The term “SoLoMo” (shorthand for the intersection of Social, Mobile, and Local media), was coined by KPCB’s John Doerr last year to describe companies like Foursquare, SCVNGR, Facebook and others that combine aspects of the three. The below is a guest post from MomentFeed CEO, Rob Reed, outlining some of the ideas included in his recently published “The SoLoMo Manifesto,” which looks at how companies in this space are interacting and how the ecosystem works. If you would like to submit a guest post, click here.

The central premise of The SoLoMo Manifesto is what we term the Location-Based Engagement (LBE) Stack. Below is a cutaway view of the SoLoMo ecosystem. The layers are as follows:

1. Location Data-as-a-Service (L-Daas) Platforms

2. Location-Based Engagement Platforms

3. Location-Based Engagement Applications

4. Distribution & Awareness

5. Point of Sale (POS) Data

In the following, I’d like to expand on how the LBE Stack functions holistically. To be clear, the goal of this is the very top of the pyramid: driving sales, revenue, and profits. This is the ultimate measure of success. With that in mind, we can work our way through the stack in an effort to ring that register and realize value.

We devote the largest portion of the stack to the LBE Platforms: Facebook, Foursquare, Google, and Twitter. Why? Quite simply, it’s because they have global scale and dominate consumer attention on mobile. In addition to email and SMS, these four players account for the vast majority of our collective smartphone obsession. If you want to connect with consumers on mobile, you start here. Brands should also approach them as a whole because consumers are engaging across each of them with minimal overlap.

It also happens that each of the LBE Platforms is social, which means that consumer engagements are shared with friends and followers. Every time an engagement is sent to Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook, and/or Google, it generates the most valuable form of advertising: word of mouth. This is essentially earned media. Until recently, however, this wasn’t measurable or quantifiable. Thanks to advancements in the platforms (and MomentFeed), it is now. But this is only where the value begins.

The specifics vary from platform to platform, but the result is that a brand can learn more about its customers at the local, regional, and global level than was ever possible before.

When a consumer engages via these platforms, they naturally (and willfully) share data about themselves.The specifics vary from platform to platform, but the result is that a brand can learn more about its customers at the local, regional, and global level than was ever possible before. And if I might pose a rhetorical question, how much do brands want to know about their customers?

In the LBE Application layer, we find a broad range of apps that facilitate consumer engagement at the point of sale. Many of these are niche applications for restaurants or retail. Others are specific to media types like photos and videos. And then you have the branded applications. Any comprehensive location-based marketing strategy will include several of these apps, but only after the brand has embraced the platforms.

The Distribution & Awareness layer includes mobile ad networks, coupon/deal aggregators, and Facebook itself. This layer is designed to answer the following questions: 1. How do I get loyal customers to engage? 2. How do I get new customers to engage? If you’re running a Foursquare Special or Facebook Check-in Deal, how do you get the word out? Because if you’re going to offer some type of coupon or deal, you (a) want to reach the most people and (b) want to get the most in return. Part of getting the most in return is the ability to measure it.

When a customer redeems a Foursquare Special, for example, you know what they bought and how much they spent. It’s also possible to know if this is a new or returning customer. If you’ve bought media to promote the Special, you can measure its effectiveness in terms of earned media, customer insight, and sales that were generated. This is ROI in the truest sense of the term.

Lastly, the data provided by the L-Daas Platforms offer numerous ways to optimize efforts up and down the stack by understanding the local context for each individual location as well as the context in which consumers are engaging.

As you might conclude from the graphic, the MomentFeed platform is designed to enable brands to leverage this entire stack of technologies, including POS systems and proprietary data, as an integrated marketing solution with analytics, campaign management, CRM, venue management, and competitive intelligence.

Rob Reed is Founder and CEO of MomentFeed, a location-based marketing solution that enables large brands to efficiently manage Facebook, Foursquare, and Twitter from a central resource. The company recently published The SoLoMo Manifesto, an in-depth whitepaper on the convergence of social, local, and mobile.