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Foursquare DYM: Defend Your Mayorship Specials

By September 14, 2010Professional, Strategy

Foursquare product and business development managers listen up; I’ve got a great idea for you!

Idea: Restaurants and retail locations should partner with Foursquare to offer DYM “Defend Your Mayorship” time-boxed discounts

Ideation Background:
Foursquare released a feature in late August 2010 that shows users how many days away they are from becoming mayor of a venue upon checking in. While this provided motivation for the mayor-seeking user (intrinsic competition motivation is powerful) it left me wondering what could be used to motivate the current mayor to visit the venue again, quickly, to protect their mayorship. Foursquare’s mayor specials (more below) offer incentives to current mayors to visit the venue; however, they lack the sense of urgency needed to retain a mayorship.

Foursquare mayor specials are becoming more commonplace as brands adopt the platform as a marketing and engagement tool. Starbucks was the first to offer a such a promotion by offering a $1 discount on the purchase of a Frappucino to the mayor of that specific Starbucks in May 2010. Since then many other brands have followed (a simple Google search will show many results). The problem with these mayor specials is that while they do drive brand loyalty they do not drive immediate and time-boxed sales for the venue.

The solution: “Defend Your Mayorship” specials!
Simple premise: if a user is within X days (assume 1) of becoming mayor upon check in then Foursquare sends an email and push alert to the current mayor advising them of the potential mayoral threat and offering them an instant X% (assume 10%) discount to visit the venue within X hours (assume 24).

The DYM concept would conceivably shorten the revenue cycle time for mayor purchases since they would feel compelled to defend their mayorship by visiting again quickly (it would be interesting to see the data around mayor checkin cycles for specific venues). This is a potential double-win for the venue as the mayor-seeking user will be compelled to visit quickly in order to capture the mayor title and the current mayor, while potentially loyal to multiple similar venues, would visit the in-danger venue first to maintain their mayorship. The time-boxed coupon offering adds a sense of urgency and reward to the DYM concept.

What do you think of this idea? Let me know in the comments!

Corey Rawdon

Corey Rawdon

About Corey Rawdon

Prolific stick-figure artist ideating methods and mechanisms to change the world—or at least make a small dent.


  • Corey:

    I think this could be a double-edged sword. While it could serve as an incentive for heavily-valued mayorships where competition is fierce (like my $200+ / mo. bill at Starbucks), it might actually have a reverse effect on less-frequented venues – like a car wash for example. I may not revisit somewhere I am a mayor until I get that notification – whereas not knowing who is creeping up on me… well, that keeps me going back! Just food for thought there. I think that a great solution would be for the venues to control the notifications – some of our clients actually like the back-and-forth as it keeps them both coming in. I know for a while I ate a lot more salad than I used to because of someone that worked nearby ‘my’ salad place 😉

  • Corey Rawdon says:


    I believe the current mayorship of ‘my’ salad place belongs to me! 🙂

    Agree that venues should control the special which is why I outlined it as a partnership offering versus a blanket offering for all check-ins. I would envision this working well for venues like Starbucks, Chipotle, etc; however, as you point out for other venues the use-case is decidedly less appealing.

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