LBS Marketing: Why the Federal Government Cares and What You Can Do About It

Monica Desai, Greg Louer, Ryan King and Maria Wolvin


With explosive growth of mobile broadband technology and consumer adoption of applications optimized for that technology, government interest and scrutiny of mobile marketing practices has never been stronger. In particular, Congress, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have developed a special interest in location-based services (LBS) and the marketing practices that LBS providers employ. Despite the enormous potential benefits of LBS, it may nevertheless be tempting for executives to recoil when faced with the converging trends of lawmaker and regulatory interest. However, risk of government intervention can and should be mitigated by three critical strategic decisions: (1) understanding of and strict compliance with existing laws and regulations governing mobile marketing; (2) adopting appropriate best practices established by leading trade organizations; and (3) engaging decision-makers in Congress and key regulators in the Administration, with a particular emphasis on the FTC and the FCC, to actively shape the terms of debate. This article identifies the key issues executives must consider while adapting these three strategic goals, and explains that by managing regulatory risk and engaging government leaders now, innovators in the mobile broadband space need not fear the federal government.