TransLink originally created its Foursquare badge for the Olympics as people would be using the system a lot, so it thought it would be another thing people could do while on transit to make it more fun and for the agency to offer tips practical to where the riders were.
As the Super Bowl comes to Fort Worth, The T is going to partner with downtown Fort Worth in the area where ESPN will be set up, Sundance Square. “They will be set up for a week,” says Maxwell. “We’re going to use Foursquare and when people check in at our stations, we’re going to start giving them points.
“When they get enough points, we’ll give them the Sundance Square gift card and vice versa; when people shop at the merchants downtown, they can get prizes, free passes.”
Maxwell says, “As far as I can tell about Foursquare, the business model’s about figuring out how to get people to come to your establishment and you have to give them some type of award.
“Here we have a whole shopping district, plenty of people who could check in, they’re already in to it. What we want to do is to get their people to come to the train station and get our people to go to their retail locations.”
QR Codes Create Instant Connections
Another way that agencies are connecting the real world to the online world is through the use of QR codes, quick read codes. QR codes are the little square, black-and-white barcodes that are starting to pop up in print ads, on TV ads and on various signs or billboads. You scan the code with your smart phone (once you have the scanning app, you scan the code as you would take a picture) and then you are directed to a website.
At Sound Transit it has been using the code on an ad on its vehicles for a call for developers to help develop mobile apps for the agency.
Vogt says, “We launched a developer site earlier this year, it’s still pretty sparse, with the goal being that the more of our data that we make public, the more we can leverage the local development community to develop trip-planning tools for our riders.” She adds, “We don’t have the in-house ability to develop specialized apps for each device.
“We wanted to market this new site, but we knew it was a very limited audience that would be interested in it, so we just targeted our software development centers and we wanted to have a dominant image that would maybe only “speak” to that subgroup, so we put just a blank ad with a QR code that would lead developers to the new site.”
Healy adds that they’ve also been experimenting with QR codes with construction signage when expanding the light rail system. “Project people want us to tell the entire life of the project on the sign, so we’ve been experimenting using the codes for more information.
“Someone can just take a picture with their smart phone and it takes them to the project page on our website and they can get that information without putting it all on the signage.”
Measuring Success with New Media
The majority of marketers has already shifted focus and knows that measuring success of online marketing is less about all of the numeric indicators and more about the engagement, reach and influence.
When it comes to measuring ROI, BART’s Moore laughs, “Yeah, I think that’s the million-dollar question, really.
“Everyone is really looking at how to measure efficacy of the potential.” He asks rhetorically, “How do you measure the ROI on your telephone system?
“Because you can’t apply traditional cost-benefit metrics, doesn’t mean that there isn’t value.”
At Sound Transit, one story that came up was someone mentioning on Facebook that they got the transit card a couple of months ago and they were excited to use it for the first time when they went to the airport. Vogt says, “Us on this side knew that the card probably went into hibernation mode, so we were able to warn that person that their card probably wasn’t going to work and to avoid missing their flight, they would want to call this number and reactive it.”