How should you treat a mayor?

Geo-Social leader Foursquare has co-opted the term mayor to refer to someone who ‘checks-in’ the most on Foursquare. In other words, the establishment’s most loyal customer. Some big brands are using Foursquare to reward mayor’s with discounts, but is that truly the best way to treat your best customer?

The downside to discounts – Coupon Conditioning

Ask anyone ordering pizza these days, we have been conditioned to look for discounts before we order. We feel like we are missing something if we order a pizza without a coupon! The internet has been great for finding discounts on everything from clothes to flowers. Coupon sites such as RetailMeNot and DealCatcher are regular stops for me just before checking out. For certain sites, I won’t purchase until I can find a coupon. I simply KNOW there is one out there. Paying full price is considered paying a ‘sucker tax’

Couponing is a great way to get people to trial your products, but it can also reduce profits if it is used by people who are already going to buy your stuff anyway. Worse yet, this ‘coupon conditioning’ affects all your customers…and your bottom line.

What does a mayor want

The mayor of your establishment isn’t your most frequent visitor. The mayor is your most -frequent mayor who is:

  • tech savvy
  • a smart phone user
  • motivated by the gaming aspect
  • proud of the association with your brand
  • wishing to tell everyone else

What wasn’t mentioned in the above list was ‘discounts’. Sure we all would love discounts, but the mayor wasn’t particularly looking for one when s/he made the decision to check-in.

Putting your mayor to work

In our book, Engage Your Brand, we talk of different ways to deliver value. One of the biggies is to make your audience feel special. Give the mayor early access to new products, private tours, meet the owner, naming a menu item after the mayor, etc. Make a spectacle of the mayor’s visit, as if it was the real mayor. Have fun with it.

Create opportunities for the mayor to share the special title with his or her friends. After all, the mayor chose a very public display of affection for your brand. Leverage that PDA for your brand by encouraging the mayor to share the benefits with others. These public displays will also show others the value in returning with the hopes of also becoming the mayor to bask in the affection.

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