Digital Marketing Exec Says Foursquare Should Start Over: Street Fight Summit

Duncan McCall, CEO of PlaceIQ, thinks Foursquare should tear everything up and start from scratch.

Duncan McCall, CEO of PlaceIQ, thinks Foursquare should tear everything up and start from scratch.
This was part of his message in the panel “Building an Offline Metric for Mobile Marketing” Oct. 24 at Street Fight Summit, a conference in New York City focused on hyperlocal marketing and publishing.

“Foursquare, while they were a tremendous early innovator in the space getting people to think about location and mobile together, checking in to places is a very singular use of location. I think at Foursquare it’s very challenging to grow a consumer ad business. At the same time, they are aggressively pursuing that,” he said. Foursquare recently rolled out advertising for small businesses.

McCall went on to say that he thinks Foursquare should “go back to their roots and rethink the thing that set them on fire originally, which was a new paradigm for location and mobile looking outside in, re-launch it, use that brand to get started in a new way.” The panel also discussed the importance of context and relevance in mobile marketing.

Carolyn Eckhaus of MapQuest, Duncan McCall of Place IQ, Lee Karchawer of Placecast, and AdMonsters U.S. editor Gavin Dunaway (moderator) discuss mobile marketing at Street Fight Summit 2013 on Oct. 24 in New York City. Photo by Tim Sohn.

Gavin Dunaway, U.S. editor for AdMonsters and moderator, asked the panel about the future of digital coupons.

McCall said, “I’m sure there are some outfits being very successful, but I think the industry has evolved tremendously.”

He elaborated that people are constantly checking their devices, which are location-aware. And, he said, the Web is even location-aware now, too.

“There’s nothing wrong with couponing and location, but we’re in the beginning of this fundamental transformation whereby location and location context is going to make people’s lives better and smarter,” McCall said.

Lee Karchawer, national mobile sales director at Placecast, said his company launched a campaign for “Got Milk?” urging people to drink chocolate milk after you exercise. PlaceCast created geofences around gyms, parks, basketball courts, etc., to target potential customers. In addition, it did a mobile video campaign through which pro athletes talked about the health benefits of chocolate milk.

McCall said his company uses the location signal but does not target people through personal information.

Carolyn Eckhaus, head of data management and analytics for MapQuest, said at her company, people opt-in, and they have the option to opt-out.

McCall said people think marketers are out there stealing their data, but that’s not true, and the industry needs to do a better job of talking to the media to clarify.

He asked, when was the last time somebody was harmed because of data?