Mobile Marketing on the Move

So you are walking by your favorite store on any random day, and your phone receives a message giving you a 25% off coupon for your entire purchase today. Companies have been thinking about this geo-targeting strategy for about a decade now. However, it seems that this idea, which was once a dream, is finally going to become a reality with the aid of technology. Loopt, a mobile social networking website, is teaming up with CBS in order to execute its first location-based marketing experiment.

Since phones already allow people access to the internet, how is this going to be different?

Loopt & CBS will allow people to get advertisements specific to their location. If you are walking past Starbucks, trying to determine whether or not you want the Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino and a message on your phone informs you it will be 50 cents cheaper, it is quite likely that you will go and buy that Frappuccino. So it sounds good, so far.

How does this work? A Loopt subscriber needs to first turn on the phone’s locator, thus broadcasting the phone’s location. When the subscriber is checking the mobile version of CBS News, Market Watch or Sportsline, the page will feature an ad targeted specifically to the subscriber’s location.

What about privacy? They addressed that too. According to Roeding, the VP-CBS Mobile exec, the consumer has the option to turn this feature on and off at his or her own luxury, and does not clutter inboxes, spam text messages, or interrupt with unwanted rings.

Currently, Loopt has a limited subscriber base with only Boost & Sprint customers. Will their advertisements really drive customers to stores that are in close proximity?