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Retailers own the local experience with customers. But the brands they sell have a stake in local targeting, too, typically supporting it via coop advertising. Other methods to get in front of local customers are less dependent on their retailers.

Brands can work with sales-related promotional media that rely in part on feeds, such as ShopLocal; they can pay to rise the top of search ratings in Google Shopping; or they can support companies that track local inventory, such as eBay’s, Retailigence and Wishpond.

How about simply highlighting them in retailer listings? UBL, which might be thought of as an enhanced listings company, is bent on matching brands with the retailers that carry them. It sees this effort as an extension of their coop support for local advertising. For example, a swimming pool owner may know what kind of chemicals he wants, but needs to know where the local pool supplies outlet is that carries them, suggests UBL President Chris Travers.

It applies to any search that is more brand dependent on brand names than SKUs. You don’t look up John Deere tractors based on the latest model number, suggests Travers. Similarly, a search for Carnival Cruise lines may be more relevant than a search for a local travel agent.

Coupons and other promotions-based media for brands also benefit: the brands are known, but the retailer is not. Consumers need to know where to pick up an item that they’ve printed out a coupon for.

UBL’s effort isn’t the first time that listing companies have sought to extend their lines of business. But the rise of social trends, mobile search and other channels may have made them more timely. “Business listings are more dynamic than they used to be,” notes Travers, citing innovators such as Constant Contact’s Single Platform. “Other data fields represent an opportunity as well.”

Travers suggests that the money may already be there to extend such efforts. Roughly $1.7 Billion of coop spending goes unspent, he says.

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