Smart phone apps make it easy to get “local” for start-ups, or grown-ups.

Photograph barcode, upload and perhaps win!

Have you ever used “Sticky Bits” or “Bar Code Hero” in your marketing strategy? Perhaps you should… here’s how. Offer your customers a special offer, integrate this into your bar-code. Get them to scan your bar-code (by taking a photo of it) and upload the photo to your web-site to be entered into a sweepstake to win the special offer.

Campbells Soup have a promotion at the moment to do just that and win 500 dollars. The difference with the Campbells soup campaign is that they are using their “on-can” bar-codes. But of course, it’s not just about the special offer, with the iconic Campbell’s soup can, it’s to gain awareness of their new re-design. A smart move for more consumer-awareness of the brand and a way to make interacting with the brand more fun.

Of course Foursquare is a dab-hand at this, offering its customers the opportunity to become “Mayor” of their favourite hang-outs, to collect badges as they check-in to more and more of the same places – and, in so doing, making them customer-loyal and proud to write a review of their “favourite check-ins” whether it be a restaurant, hotel, or chez quelqu’un!  This is all good news for both large or small brands, and when travelling, Foursquare can also become a handy travel-guide by reading local reviews, by local people.

For brands, Foursquare is also interesting as they can offer their “regulars” special prices, deals, loyalty offers etc. So everyone wins, and promotions are FREE of charge! Which is where phone apps become very interesting. Just before the Summer Sephora ran a campaign on Foursquare to win 100 euro shopping voucher.

Facebook’s new check-in service, called Facebook Places, should make hyper-local marketing a doddle. With Places, people can check themselves and their Facebook friends into any local business. These establishments should ultimately have pages on Facebook and be able to communicate directly to their customers. If the service catches on (many believe it’s another privacy violation too many), businesses may know exactly who their customers are, where they are, and in some cases, when they are nearby and ready to spend— and can entice them in at that given moment!

Then there’s Gowalla, similar to Foursquare. Apple recently ran a Gowalla campaign to win a free iphone case with it’s 3 million followers. Then there’s Scvngr who designs smartphone-enabled scavenger hunts and the Booyah’s MyTown app – a blend between a check-in service and a virtual game, who again has over 3 million users. Pantene recently asked it’s customers on Booyah to use the app’s bar code scanner on a Pantene product for bonus points to use on virtual goods.

So, if you want to carry out very local, very personal marketing strategies, consider what smart phone apps can offer you and your customers at a very small cost or nothing at all – very interesting for small brands and start-ups!


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