Customer Stealing: Use Location Based Marketing To Your Advantage

If you are a business owner with a brick-and-mortar location, location-based marketing is a quick and easy way to pick up customers.

From your competition.

Call it customer stealing, if you will.

And it isn’t difficult to pull off.

Let’s pretend for a moment that I worked for a local car dealer and I was in charge of getting more customers in the door. Still pretending, let’s say that I have 10 stores all across Utah and each store is in a different location with different businesses around it.

At least a few of my stores are located in “auto malls” where many of my competitors have stores in the immediate vicinity. Because of the cluster of auto dealers, the area is full of consumers who are looking to buy a car — right now. It’s easy to see that this is a target-rich-environment for marketers.

And with location-based marketing, you can now offer those customers in the area a compelling reason to come to your store — right now.

Enter Foursquare.

When a consumer who is in the area “checks in” on Foursquare at one of your competitors stores, you simply offer them $2,500 in cash (or whatever you want your offer to be) to be used toward the purchase of a new or used vehicle if they come and check in at your store — within the next 10 minutes.

And then you watch people walk into your competition, check-in and immediately leave and come to your store. It really isn’t all that hard to tell what will happen over time, assuming that the offer is compelling enough to attract interest: The store that offers the best specials to buyers in the immediate area will be the busiest.

So if you happen to be an auto dealer in Utah and you notice that customers are walking out of your store and into the one across the street …

It might be time to start thinking about using Foursquare specials.

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  1. Ben Mosbarger says

    Justin is spot on with this post and the use of location based social media. Foursquare focuses a lot of attention on discounts and special offers for the Mayor. Treating the Mayor to discounts and specials is awesome and works best in retail, restaurant or people service type businesses. But, buying a car isn’t going to happen every day and this scenario exemplifies an effective way to get the most out of location based social media.

  2. Jesse says

    This sounds good in theory but I see some problems. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, most people are much more selective with who they’ll friend on location-based networks like Foursquare. Personally I only friend people I know reasonably well (either online or in real-life) because I don’t feel like broadcasting my location to people (or companies) I don’t know.

    Just the other day, Larry H Miller Honda friended me on Foursquare. What would be the value in me accepting their friend request? I don’t want to be marketed to on Foursquare. Foursquare is for keeping track of where my friends are at and learning about new places to check out through friends’ checkins.

    Instead of trying to stalk potential customers for the off chance that one of the people you follow may end up stopping by one of your competitors in the near future and you’ll happen to notice them checking in there… why not try something like Joe Sorge did (
    ) where he used Foursquare in a way that made him come across as hip rather than a stalker marketeer.

    Side note – your article on Foursquare Specials is spot on. I just think you missed the mark slightly on this one.

  3. says


    Sorry I wasn’t more clear in the post…

    What I think is a huge opportunity is not for a brand to follow a customer – in fact my first thought is that is potentially a big mistake.

    So I think we agree there.

    But where I see a huge opportunity for a brand is when someone is in the immediate vicinity of your store, you can advertise on Foursquare that there is a “Special Nearby” and then have a compelling offer.

    So no following, just a good compelling Foursquare special to anyone who is in the immediate area (including your competition across the street) and you give yourself a real opportunity to increase business.

    Oh, and I am still in search of a Swarm badge… I will have to keep my eye open for the next Swarm party!

    Thanks for the comment.


    • Jesse says

      Sorry for the late reply. But yeah you are correct. The “Specials Nearby” Foursquare feature gives businesses incredible potential to grab the attention of customers who are in the area. Since your article didn’t specifically mention Specials Nearby I think I misunderstood what you were trying to say. I apologize for the rant :-) I think the concept of businesses acting as users on Foursquare was fresh in my mind because of the LHM experience I had. And if you hear of a swarm party going on, let me know! I don’t have the swarm badge yet either.

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