At the Mobile World Congress Google’s Eric Schmidt talked with reporters about the potential he sees in mobile phones enabled with near-field communications (NFC) technology. This is actually not a new technology — if you wave an electronic “key” at a door to unlock it, or at a gasoline pump or convenience store to pay for your purchases, you’re using NFC.
The big news is that Android phones will soon be equipped with it. Schmidt thinks Google “could work with advertisers to ‘extend offers to phones with NFC chips.’ Advertisers, he said, were interested in combining an ad and an offer, presumably at the point of sale.” Yet another way local advertising is being disrupted away from non-digital formats.
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GigaOm has a nice synthesis from the Mobile World Congress (where news organizations should have been but many probably weren’t) about how location will soon be part of every mobile app. Charlene Li from Altimeter Group talks in these slides about what that might mean for local businesses (see the Shop 2.0 slides).
This is important for local news organizations because it’s a key way to connect their local business clients (please notice I did not call them “advertisers,” even though they might also be) with potential customers while they’re in the vicinity. Most local businesses are putting their marketing dollars into social media, and in particular into Facebook Places. Mobile location-awareness allows those businesses to run promotions and contests, and to push information to willing receivers. And here’s the key: Most local businesses don’t have the time or the expertise to do this well. So which news organizations are training their revenue departments to take advantage of the opportunity?
Not a rhetorical question. Let’s start a list.
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