Fish In a Barrel?

Fish In a Barrel?
By: Nicholas A. Dunlap, CPM

Every bad movie or nowadays, bad television show, about real estate seems to have a scene where the wiser, more mature figure informs a young, uninformed colleague that real estate is about three things: “location, location, location.” As cheesy, insignificant or irrelevant as it may seem to the dialogue or situation at hand, it is in fact the truth. And with the growing popularity of location-based, social media platforms like Foursquare, Yelp!, Gowalla, Brightkite, Loopt and Facebook Places, property owners now have the ability to harness the power of their almighty locations and thrust their mite upon unsuspecting visitors or passersby.

It’s smart, is it not? There’s a good chance if I am in a certain area at a certain time, I might be looking for a place to eat, drink, live or work. And if provided with a coupon, discount or incentive, I just might be inclined to stop into a specific establishment and see what they are all about. Restaurants are utilizing these programs through Yelp! and are quite successful. Will office or multi-family landlords experience this same response? Larger, more free-spending multifamily owners are already on this platform. Are they seeing results or just maximizing their exposure?

It’s always interesting (or creepy, depending on your thought process) to see the way technology evolves and what data becomes available to businesses or individuals. Should I feel privileged to have received a special discount or should I feel offended that my privacy has been breeched and although I have subscribed to the do not call list, I am now having offers sent to my cellular phone without my consent. It’s an interesting situation and it is upon us.

With regard to location based marketing I pose the question: in a battle of metaphors, are we shooting fish in a barrel? Or are we still leading the horse to water?