Forget about channel migration. For Dupaco Community Credit Union, mobile banking and social media are ways to actually encourage people to use traditional brick and mortar financial services.

Dupaco has introduced a new campaign that marries social media marketing with location awareness and special offers tied to branch engagement in conjunction with a membership "thank you" campaign that features incentives for new loans, checking accounts, etc. "In-branch face time with our members is very valuable to help cultivate the relationship with that member," says Jennifer Hanniford, avp of interactive marketing for the Dubuque, Iowa-based credit union. "I don't think it's fair to put someone in a box, and say if they're a mobile user, they won't step into a branch. You can do quite a bit of banking from your PC or mobile device, but you can't do it all."

The new promotion allows members and prospects with the Foursquare app on their smartphones to use the app to "check in" with the credit union's dozen branches, located in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. The first time the customer checks in, he or she gets a free can holder. Users can also register for a weekly draw for a $50 gas card.

Foursquare uses the global positioning system in a user's phone to identify the person's location and nearness to specific businesses. In the case of Dupaco, members can check in when they enter branches, and notify their followers on the social media site. Each check in awards the user points toward gifts or other offers.

The credit union benefits by having another venue to spread its brand via social networking. It's also on the Foursquare "grid" with other local retailers, popping up on users' mobile phones when they're searching for special offers while out on errands or shopping in a certain community or neighborhood.

"There's a huge benefit for users, you are able to can scan retailers around you and see what kinds of special offers are available based on your location," Hanniford says.

The carrot for users is that if they have checked in to a location more than anyone else over a two-month period (with a once-per-day limit), they become "mayor" of that location, and remain mayor until someone else checks in to the branch more often. At Dupaco, the mayor of a branch can become part of the marketing campaign via electronic billboards and branch signage.

Consumers don't necessarily have to be inside the physical retail location to "check in," they could just be near the branch, but they do have to enter a branch to pick up the gifts. Either way, the credit union's identity and the marketing of its branch-based services becomes part of the social media conversation among its current and future members.

Hanniford says Dupaco's location marketing program is user-driven and that the credit union is not planning to use GPS to "blast" special offers to passive users who happen to be near a branch at a given moment. "Banking is a commodity, and we use different ways of engaging people as differentiators," Hanniford says. "This app is another way for us to differentiate ourselves."

Other financial institutions are using similar location-based perks for branch visits. Singapore-based DBS Bank is rewarding people for check-ins at branches by using Facebook Places, which is similar to Foursquare. Users check in on Facebook Places and tell their followers where they are and what they are doing (i.e. "I'm getting a discount on jeans at 'xyz store' on Main Street").

At DBS Bank, users check in at branches in India, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong to earn points. They can also earn points by referring Facebook followers to DBS and getting them to use the social media program. The Facebook Places app joins other recently introduced DBS location-based mobile apps, including Indulge and DBS Shopper. Indulge and DBS Shopper feature location based and augmented reality abilities (a computer generated view of a location produced by GPS), providing customers instant access to participating DBS merchants and the available promotions near the consumer's location.

In an email response to a query from BTN, DBS spokesperson Fen Peh said, "Customers now expect their bank to connect with them while they are on the go as their mobile devices become more functional, powerful and offer dramatically improved usability…Imagine getting informed of the best deal on your bank's cards as you walk into a shopping complex and the ability to use mobile coupons for purchases," said Fen, adding the location-based services are mainly tied to merchants partnering with DBS. "With location-based technology, we are able to interact with our customers in a more meaningful way. It also brings greater convenience to them whether they are seeking to apply for a credit card, purchase travel insurance or paying a bill while they are on the go."