This article also appeared in the July/August edition of B2B Marketing mag and can also be found here

SpaceNot sure if anyone noticed the new 7eleven campaign, checkin at their stores and you could win a trip to space. An offer quite literally out of this world and unfortunately as far out of reach as geo-location or checkins are to providing true value in the B2B marketplace. Geo-location in my mind still has not broken through into B2B, mind you it still has quite a way to go to hit mainstream in the B2C world regardless of the fact Foursqaure just hit 10million users (I’m sure someone will argue that point).

I have heard of some good case studies for B2B and geo-location based around events where there have been benefits for both attendees and the client, attendees were rewarded for their participation efforts in a fun “gaming” way and the business was able to broaden awareness and drive traffic to different on site activities and to different social media channels for the daily game clues. But even this feels a little fluffy to me … I tend to bleat on about the social conversion funnel and how we can get a potential client, from awareness to conversation to engagement and finally to action or conversion.

Perhaps what’s needed is something a little more collaborative, creative and lighter touch to actual build some true value, welcome to the revolution of localised and interest based P2P (peer to peer) networks I have heard of a few start-ups taking this approach to help business, more importantly to help people within business collaborate and find opportunities.

Zerply.com launched just last week and has had some very positive press. It’s aim is to take on the likes of Linkedin (a bold move) but with more personality, it wants to provide more of a discovery aspect so that you aren’t just reliant on locating people based on job titles or company names or colleague-of-a-colleague type introductions. You can connect with people professionally by interests, and locations not just by employment history. I think Zerply is deliverying a method of connecting people by being more light touch in a similar way that twitter is reduced blogging to 140 characters, it’s creating a network, where you can find out about people quickly and get directly in contact, with no “inMail” barriers and much more open. While they still have a little way to go with the engagement aspect of the network, this is a great start for them. Where this separates the men from the boys in the location based world, is they have made it incredibly easy for you to find like minded individuals working in businesses that you can quickly contact and start up a relationship, and by leaving it very light touch, it’s up to you how you connect with them.

ruyn.com is a network where perhaps location and checkins take more president, I was lucky enough to speak to the founder Laurence Williams (Right Under Your Nose (RUYN)), a Start-up yet to be launched that will take a similar format to instagram in that the network will primarily be delivered over a mobile device. RUYN’s aim is to bring the business community back together at a local level. Laurence describes a couple of scenarios where he feels RUYN will be invaluable “think of a large corporation where many people do not know what the person in the next office does, there is definitely a missed opportunity of collaboration for the business or think of the advantages of making your presence known at events where many opportunities could be missed, not only by loosing out on face-to-face time, but not even knowing they are there in the first place!” While this may sound a little vague right now, due to NDA’s from RUYN this could be the contender to look out for in the B2B checkin space. Seems like we may be getting closer to delivering value in geo-location but it’s still early days. linkedin.com/brandjoe

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