"Paying the bills" ultimately *is* the bottom line, isn't it? I was curious to hear more about what directions mobile related mediums were looking towards in this still-evolving landscape, from a marketing perspective.
I was especially curious as to what Dennis Crowley had to say about how Foursquare intends to maximize their growing success. It was both exciting and a touch endearing to hear him compare where Foursquare was last year at SXSW to where they are now, with his own awe of it plain to see.
I found it particularly interesting when he expressed how Foursquare users inadvertently act as an ad hoc outreach to businesses and brands. Oftentimes a they won't have heard of Foursquare before but then a customer becomes Mayor and inquires as to what "they get" for holding that title. Foursquare has "viral" nailed down from so many angles that it's fascinating to me as a case study.
The overall impression I got was that each of the panelists are brainstorming, experimenting, and evolving their strategies through trial and error within their given applications potentials. Every individual application will have it's own "best way" to monetize itself, and it's own path to discovering what works with your audience and what doesn't.
A point of note that stood out was the importance of collecting data as early as possible from your users. Information such as date of birth will come in handy if you plan on working with any alcohol or tobacco brands, and other data can help you assess your demographics with as much accuracy as possible. This kind of information will prove to be invaluable later and might be difficult to obtain once a user is settled in.
Some of my own thoughts:
Mobile advertising could benefit from a model similar to what Facebook offers, where *anyone* can allocate a dollar amount they wish to spend advertising and choose the demographics they wish to target. This would open up *so* many doors. Yes, there are the Big Brands with the Big Bucks that we would all love to have throwing their money our way... but those brands have smaller budgets than they used to. There's less to go around and even less to splurge on "newfangled 2.0 trends" that they are still struggling to understand in most cases. A down economy has brought forth a tidal wave of entrepreneurs and the 2.0 world has given birth to more personal brands and given the opportunity for artists of a variety of mediums to skip the middle man and bring their offering directly to the consumers. With a flexible, set-your-own-budget type of program for these audiences, you create an opportunity for exponential profit potential.
Dennis Crowley runs one of the hottest social networking applications, Foursquare, and Justin Siegel runs the one of the largest mobile social networks. Both of these mobile social veterans have unique ways of incorporating advertising into their platforms. Come and listen to real case studies with local businesses and big brands that break established conventions of mobile advertising and that leverage elements of gaming and virtual currency, demo targeting and user generated content. And stay to hear what the future holds for both Foursquare and MocoSpace.