Location-Based Marketing for Dummies. Gutenberg Edition.

August 25, 2011

You might be looking around the house right now – more likely the Internet – to find out why I used the word Gutenberg in the headline of this review. I’ll save you the trouble. It’s because I just got the PRINT edition of Aaron Strout and Mike Schneider’s new book, Location-Based Marketing for Dummies from Wiley Publishing.

Let’s be clear right from the top that…

1 – this book is not only for dummies, smart people can also continue to learn well into their 30s and 40s

2 – writing a book – as Aaron says in the acknowledgments – is “hard”. I assure you that reading books is also hard, but worth it.

3 – “No matter where you go, there you are” was in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension and has also been uttered by thousands of people before and since. Regardless, this book will help you define your location and perhaps even make some money off that knowledge. Let’s get into the book…

As a writer, I like the way the book was done. I like the navigation and the section headers and chapters. And I like the illustrations. As a reader, I really like that it’s written in a manner that anyone can understand, but neither Strout nor Schneider speak down to folks who might never have been on THE Twitter or have no inkling what a check-in is. That might be the real power of this book – that it educates easily.

Take the chart on pages 26-27. It breaks down all the current location-based services (LBS) by category so that you can make a choice more easily when thinking about integrating one of these into your business operations. Once you’ve taken a quick look there – after the comprehensive definitions at the beginning of the book – you can really get a feel for how the tools break down into particular business and functional uses.

As is mentioned inside, photos are a big part of sharing in LBS and therefore few of the big players have ignored that functionality. Further, most tools also give users the ability to share tips, converse with other users, add friends into their LBS networks and more. But this is really a book made for someone running a business, so the direction shifts after the intro to determining how you might use LBS in your organization.

Sections include Understanding LBS; Location-Based Marketing in Action; Integrating Location into Other Channels; Measuring ROI; and finally The Part of Tens (a section that gives some fun chapters – made up of approximately ten items each – on other services, how LBS will affect the future of the universe, and how to promote your particular programs).

What I also liked about it is that the tone – as I mentioned online when I heard that Wiley was going to send me a copy to review – is conversational. What fun is a book if you can’t connect with the authors? Both Aaron and Mike talk as if they’re taking you by the hand and showing you how to really use these tools.

What is a challenge is that the tools change. Two days before the book landed on my porch, Facebook announced that it was doing away with Places – its attempt to integrate LBS into its social network. But that’s the nature of any social business application. Social media tools – even the ones based on where you are and what you’re doing – are going to change.

Bearing that last statement in mind, if you spend a few hours with this book you will learn more than the basics about LBS and will be able to make informed decisions about integrating whatever tools are available into your business communications and marketing strategy. This book is a valuable resource for anyone trying to navigate their way to and from location-based services.