Location based marketing vs. location based services


What’s the difference between location based marketing and location based services? Other than spelling, location based services is a subset of location based marketing. I’ll give two examples to help spell out the difference.

Location based marketing – A person checks into Foursquare and sees and offer for that business such as 15% off for the next week. They find the products they’re looking for, take them to the counter and show the clerk the offer on their phone. The clerk honors discount and customer is happy.

Location based services – A person has opted in to receive mobile offers from a business such Sonic whenever they’re close to a Sonic location. This person is out running errands and they’re starting to get hungry. They drive by an area with a Sonic they didn’t know existed and receive an alert for a discounted meal. The person goes to the Sonic and places their order after showing the clerk the offer on their phone. The clerk honors the discount and the customer is happy. Placecast’s video is below for a more colorful (literally) explanation of their service.

Both of these methodologies have their strengths and challenges but I think it’s safe to say, both could provide some amazing brand experiences.


  • Both location based marketing and location based services can provide great results if used correctly and executed strategically. They are great tools and used in conjunction with each other and other marketing efforts can be quite successful.