Foursquare Cause Marketing Starts with Loyalty Programs

Last month during a visit to a Finagle-A-Bagel store in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts to pick up a check for $25,000 from the Finagle team and their owner, Laura Trust, we got talking about social media, specifically, location-based services. Finagle was intrigued with Foursquare and how they could use the service to connect with and reward customers at their nine area stores.

The challenge was Finagle's traditional loyalty program, the Frequent Finagler, which was expensive and it wasn't social. They were eager to replace it with something better.

With just a bit of guidance from me, Finagle developed a new program that they are testing in a couple stores. Social media, and especially Foursquare, is suddenly central to their loyalty strategy. And while it required extra work to get the program up and running, expenses beyond printing the signage for the stores has been minimal.

You may be asking, "Well, that's great, Joe. You sold them on Foursquare and helped them get a program up and running. But there's no mention of cause marketing or even your cause. How do you benefit?"

  1. My efforts help me build a stronger tie with a key partner by demonstrating my commitment to our mutual success.
  2. Finagle's new social media platform gives me a potential lab to experiment with location-based cause marketing. A lot of causes want to try social cause marketing, but adoption of some of these services, especially LBS, is very low with many small businesses. Causes need to be more proactive about educating businesses on these new tools and thus creating more initiatives for themselves.
  3. Working with Finagle gives me a case study on the opportunity of mobile loyalty programs that I can shop to other businesses. Right now I can use Finagle as an example of a business that saw the value of Foursquare when it came to savings thousands of dollars on a traditional loyalty program. Shortly, I hope to add that the change was successful and that customers are using Foursquare to reap their loyalty rewards.

Have you come up short pitching small businesses on cause marketing? Take a step back and start a dialogue about location-based services and how they could save thousands of dollars on a traditional loyalty program and make it social.

Forget hope of gain or profit. Focus on being useful. Give of yourself freely. Your loss just might be your much greater gain.