Corporate Eye

Walmart Launches Local Marketing Push via Facebook App

Walmart might put an end to the debate as to whether or not Facebook is effective for local marketing by global companies with its new store-level messaging Facebook campaign.

According to AdAge, Walmart will launch a new Facebook app that will allow the company to customize messaging for each of its 3,600 brick-and-mortar locations. The app will deliver more relevant information about local deals, promotions, events, limited-distribution products, and more.

Walmart already has over 9 million Facebook fans, so the local messaging the new app will provide (assuming it works correctly) should be a welcomed addition to Walmart’s Facebook presence as far as customers are concerned. For example, Walmart expects to tie local events (like sporting events) and weather-related news and trends (like upcoming snowstorms) to the messages published through the new Facebook app. The app will also integrate with mobile devices, so consumers can find real-time deals at stores near their current locations.

Walmart claims the new app is being launched based on customer input and feedback, but messages will only be published twice per week to ensure consumers aren’t overloaded with local Walmart messages.

There is no doubt that this is an important step in localized and personalized social media and mobile marketing. Marketers are clamoring to tie localization and personalization to brand campaigns, but we’re still very much in the experimental phase. The Walmart Facebook app is drawing a lot of attention and should deliver some interesting learnings for marketers considering similar approaches to reaching the social web audience in a way that’s customized to their individual wants, needs, and location.

For global brands like Walmart, this type of localization via the most popular social networking site represents a significant opportunity to turn a one-to-millions conversation into a one-to-few or even a one-to-one conversation. That’s the real trick of successful social media and mobile marketing — connecting the brand to individuals in a way that could never happen through traditional mass media marketing 20 years ago. It’s an exciting time to be a marketer!

What do you think about the new Walmart Facebook app? Could you do something similar to promote your brand and business?

Image: Walmart Stores

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as MSNBC.com, BusinessWeek.com, TodayShow.com, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.
 
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