This week I am "working from home" out of an apartment in Washington D.C.

For those of you who have been here, you know that DC is an easily accessible town, and you can get to most places by simply walking or taking the metro.

You may also know that DC is a "foodie" town and there are many awesome places available to eat around every corner. I have seen or eaten at restaurants from most sovereign nations in the world, including Mozambiquan and Ghanan.

The food is very good, and each time I visit I am looking forward to a new experience.

For lunch today, I decided to hit up the food truck court at Franklin Park (13th and K streets).

A particular truck caught my attention called Basil and Thyme, which specialized in Lasagna. They had a decent sized line, so I knew it must be good!

While waiting for my lasagna, the truck operator announced to the line that your meal (up to $15) would be completely free if you signed up for a mobile payment service called LevelUp. All you had to do was download a mobile app, link your credit card and scan a QR code and lunch would be yours.

I figured "why not" and went to their site www.basilthyme.com and clicked on the link to download the LevelUp app.

The app downloaded within about 2 minutes. I entered my name, created an account, and linked a credit card within 2 more minutes.

I showed the food truck the QR code that the app generated, they scanned it and I was all paid up (intentionally blurred QR code). Notice how they have a tip slider at the bottom? That's pretty slick!

And I had some amazing lasagna to bring home with me

And a receipt showing that not only was my meal free, but I still have a discount for another round

This was a great experience all around, and I hope that LevelUp has success in many cities - makes my life easier and is a great alternative to cash for small businesses.

What does this have to do with marketing? Potentially everything. With mobile payments, you can understand immediately if your offer was redeemed, capture information about the people who made the purchase and continue to market to them. You can also have new users seek you out as a vendor that accepts mobile payments. Mobile payments can bridge the gap between online and offline marketing, and hopefully make both more accountable.

Certain businesses will benefit more from mobile payments than others, but CPG marketers and restaurants in particular should be very excited for the possibilities.

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