Social location, marketing and media darlings Foursquare (news, site) and Groupon (news, site) are planning a deal to leverage their strengths and to offer customers the best deals in town.

Join, Conquer

There are already so many players in the check-in and deal markets that it makes sense for them to start working together. And, without much surprise, here come two of the biggest to tie up and offer customers offers via their mobile apps.

The in-progress deal -- expect something official soon -- will see the deals that Groupon usually offers sent to Foursquare users when they check in somewhere suitable, or in the vicinity of an offer. This will help Groupon provide more timely and relevant deals, and add more value to people who currently only use Foursquare for checking in.

The deal should encourage users of both services to intermingle and use their apps more, and if existing social media users get their friends involved in location-based deals, all the better.

Learning Opportunities

Keeping Tabs on People

With not far off 15 million combined users, the two companies are among the bigger players in their fields, but need to scale dramatically to reach the sort of mass market needed to appeal beyond geeks and app-addicts. Any progress in that direction will see a great deal of marketing interest from the largest advertisers, and encourage more stores to offer deals.

Groupon has made a number of offer/content deals recently and will look to spread its offers as far and wide as possible, while Foursquare will need better reasons for users to check in once they've become mayor of everywhere they usually visit.

Other players in the market will need to start looking at who they can get together with to counter this move. While it might signal the start of a closer relationship between the two companies, it's unlikely to see a merger, unless there is major compression in the space (or unless a bigger buyer comes calling).