At BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL: Embrace the Omni-Channel Mindset

Karen Traversi Kovalesi, President & CEO, Geary LSF, a San Francisco integrated digital marketing agency, told BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL that marketers and brands must think across media and organizational boundaries to bring customers to a transaction decision.

“You get business results, not just business tactics,” she said. “Omni-Channel is a mindset, not just a business practice.” Geary LSF must work to create unique combinations of digital messaging and engagements to bridge he national/local marketing challenge, Taversi Kovaleski told the audience, sharing examples from three industries, professional placement, healthcare and consumer products.

“Local reigns supreme,” she said. “Brands get people to the door, but once they are engaged they are looking for something personal about the purchase — these are local decisions.” Even in B2B purchases, which many believe are fairly cut-and-dried standardized decisions, the individual wants to be informed very early in the process, which requires multiple messaging options to address the lead. In the consumer space, too, there are many touchpoint along the way rather than a single monolithic campaign “But many of our clients, we find, are not doing that,” she said.

She pointed to three clients: Kelly Services; MedStar Washington Hospital Center, BumbleBee, the seafood company.

Kelly is a global leader in workforce solutions. Over the past few years, the workforce Kelly supports has changed to emphasize skills over location — work can now be performed anywhere. Hiring companies no longer need to see Kelly reps. It allows Kelly to reach more potential business partner/customers through digital, which opens an engagement process that can be fulfilled largely online. Individuals doing the work, however, do like to talk to someone, to get the personal touch, so Kelly must balance its hiring company-facing messaging with local opportunities for business talent to connect and learn about the opportunities with Kelly.

Read More

At BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL: Franchises Go Loco

Today at BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL, real life national brands stressed the importance of social media and local reviews in any location-based ad strategy. This is an always-welcome perspective, given that the BIA/Kelsey stage is usually filled with media companies (sellers) rather…

Read More

At BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL: Talking to Brands From Different Verticals

Brand advertisers find that striking a balance between traditional and digital media advertising is key to their success at the local level.

During a panel at BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL in Dallas today, brand marketers from across different business categories described on how they manage their localized marketing and advertising activities. The conversation focused on the unique challenges that emerge when blending efforts to gain new customers with promoting brand awareness. In Short: customer acquisition is a common theme for service-oriented businesses, brand awareness is a secondary concern.

Driving more customers to local businesses is the most important goal, said Dave Moody, Director of Field Marketing at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. Online marketing is only as useful as the actual revenue it drives back to local service branches, he said. “A click doesn’t mean much to me. The end goal for us is to get into a customer’s home, and we’ve worked on our SEO and search marketing efforts to drive more calls and requests for appointments.”

Service Experts has shifted their online strategy from search marketing (SEM) spending to direct-response offerings.

“We’re not paying for a lot of ads, we’re more invested in a pay-per-call advertising, including yellow pages and direct mail,” Moody said. That sentiment was echoed by Keith Dailey, Director of Internet Marketing for UniGroup, the parent company of United Van Lines. He added that in addition to creating a channel for driving more leads to local locations, an objective that guides marketing strategy for UniGroup is ensuring that location listings are consistently maintained and always accurate.

Read More

At BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL: Television and Newspapers Go Rogue

Stacey Sedbrook and Peter Krasilovsky of BIA/Kelsey led a SuperForum to end Day One of BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL. Panelists included:

Steve Lanzano, President & CEO, TVB Local Media Marketing Solutions
Grant Moise, Sr. VP, Business Development, The Dallas Morning News
Ethan Selzer, Vice President, Retail & Regional Advertising, The Washington Post
Pam Taylor, Corporate Director of Digital Sales, Meredith Corp.

All this is paraphrased reportage, except for passages in quotes, which are verbatim.

Peter Krasilovsky: Many people don’t understand the national reach of a newspaper. How do you explain your papers’ national reach?

Grant Moise: The Dallas Morning News benefits from the Dallas Cowboys. Fifty-percent of visitors come from outside the market, and they visit for the Cowboys.

Ethan Selzer: The Washington Post is a national political publication. The company is organizing candidate-based packages to support voter decision-making. It’s a myth that newspaper readers have already decided who they will vote for — they read to learn and decide.

Since Jeff Bezos bought the Post, it has added 10 million regular readers, compared to 38 million before the acquisition 18 months ago. He cares about audience growth.

Native Advertising started as a corporate initiative. It started with a mattress company, Mattress Warehouse, where decisions are high consideration and infrequent. Native campaigns can help people understand complex things the media would not cover. The articles were about the value of sleep and quality of sleep for the individual. It was “shared massively.”

Stacey Sedbrook: How has the SpeakEasy relationship at The Dallas Morning News?

Read More

At BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL: The Smart Numbers on Franchises

This is a paraphrased report, quotes indicate what was actually said.

Over half of U.S. businesses spend over $1,000 without any predefined customer acquisition goals. Platform providers, agencies and advertisers can be part of the solution, according to AdMall CEO C. Lee Smith who spoke today at BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL.

Franchises, according to BIA/Kelsey, spend 27 percent more than other SMBs. It’s better to reach people who count than to count how many people you reach. This kind of targeting is possible with digital marketing. So, define your audience to get started in ad improvements.

Franchise marketers should consider using Purchase Intent as a defining criteria for audiences. Not everyone is going to buy — one may not read a boating magazine because the want to buy a boat. For example, in furniture, audiences often are looking for inspiration, which doesn’t have to be the cheapest furniture. Thirty-seven percent of furniture buyers have Pinterest accounts. Two-thirds have a particular store in mind before they start surfing — so branding is critical.

61 percent of shoppers showroom when shopping at furniture stores, looking for a better price.

Another type of buying intent: Heavy Frequency Purchasers spend 5x more on fast-food. Their digital use revolves around convenient sharing with friends and finding new things to try. Frequent fast-food eaters are 3.5x more likely to use FourSquare, 88 percent more likely to take action on a promotional email, and 37 percent will try new things they discover through social. They are enrolled in 23 percent more loyalty programs as the typical American.

Read More

At BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL: Racing to Close the Loop on the Offline Transaction

Jon Czaja, Director, Small Business (North America), Facebook, talks with Abid Chaudhry, Senior Director of Strategy at BIA/Kelsey. This is a paraphrased report, quotes indicate verbatim comments.

Beginning with a walkthrough of what Facebook is doing to help brands connect with local consumers. Facebook has evolved dramatically. Gone are the days of focus on things like page likes and we’ve made a transition to providing a robust marketing platform.

30 million businesses have active pages on Facebook; 2 million are actively advertising on Facebook. There is a huge diversity in these businesses, from small to large and across all verticals that find value on this platform. The obvious reason is reach. More than 1 billion use Facebook every day, the vast majority on their mobile phone. Facebook Mobile users spend an average of 41 minutes a day consuming content on their phone.

Targeting is more accurate than the average online platform: 38 percent of targets are accurate on average, while Facebook is 89 percent accurate. “We’re talking about real people and not cookies.”

Example business: Divas SnowGear. They use Facebook to market cold weather gear to women.

Businesses can also enhance their targeting by “bringing their own data onto Facebook” to narrow and retarget messaging on Facebook. Additionally, Facebook can show “lookalike” customers who have similar characteristics to your existing customers.

Read More

At BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL: Location Services Will Kill Traditional Display Advertising

To kick-off BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL, the analyst team sits down to review 2015 – 2019 local advertising across 12 different channels and 94 industries, summarizing key issues for marketers over the next half decade.

Michael Boland, Chief Analyst and Vice President of Content, BIA/Kelsey
Peter Krasilovsky, Vice President, BIA/Kelsey
Steve Marshall, Research Director, BIA/Kelsey
Stacey Sedbrook, Vice President of Strategic Sales Consulting

Steve Marshall opens with our Local Commerce Monitor results on franchisees. They send $87K-plus, the highest level of marketing spend among the SMBs BIA/Kelsey tracks. They are highly engaged in digital — 42.9 percent of 2015 spending will be on digital; again, far ahead of the average SMB.

Franchises also spend at least 10 hours a week on social networks. About 85 percent maintain customer lists (compared to only about half of SMBs have customer lists in digital form). Seventy-one percent of franchises will have a loyalty program this year. This is a vindication of loyalty programs. Hand in hand with these loyalty programs, franchises are driving huge investments in discounting — 50.7 percent of revenue will be due to discount sales tied to loyalty programs.

This is the wave — loyalty and discounting — that will sweep the local space. There will be a much deeper, more committed relationship between the franchises and customers.

Franchises tend to favor buying through on-premise sales reps (feet on the street), even though many have national agency relationships. The franchises buy most through agencies and are extremely satisfied. Sixty-three percent are extremely satisfied with their agency relationships, though they prefer making individual purchases with assistance (expertise) from the agency. “They like a partner for these activities versus doing it themselves.”

Co-op advertising represents about $50 billion in U.S. spend annually and franchisees are the most prevalent users of co-op (more than 50 percent of all co-op monies flow through franchises). As a result, they want more analytics and analysis for their planning and assessment of campaigns.

Next up, Mike Boland discusses technology, particularly mobile.

Read More

At BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL: Gregg Stewart on Solving the Talent Vacuum

“The industry is changing right around us,” Peter Kravilovsky. We’ll be unveiling several new mergers and acquisitions in local media during the week.

At the intersection of national and local marketing, we face an accelerated speed of change, lack of experience talent in interactive, structural changes in the market that challenge traditional marketing practices. The move from push to pull communication is changing who is in control of the messaging. Gregg Stewart, CEO of 3rd Act Marketing began by framing the week’s discussion. The agency, formerly the commander of local marketing, is now just another partner at the table.

The pace of change has disrupted media planning, Stewart said. We need to be “agile,” even if that is an over-used term these days. Now planning must take place in mini-bursts throughout the year rather than all at once at the beginning of the year. We need to do more testing of channels and techniques, throwing out what doesn’t work fast.

Stewart says the talent vacuum is our biggest challenge as an industry. Organizations must understand opportunities to bring talent together for specific projects: Buy experience with a group of star digital talent, but the salaries often are often outsized compared to actual experience. It takes about 18 months to get a return from these investments in human resources, and that’s the current average length of tenure in the industry. Do more training and develop people from scratch, but there the agency has to defend the talent from poachers. Continuous development of talent is essential.

A hybrid model for human resources also can be an asset, as your people spread through the industry. Identify networks of relationships and build on those relationships. This points to the question of whether we are organized correctly as an industry. (We’ll be covering this question at BIA/Kelsey NOW in June). Early efforts to blend digital and traditional made the different media types enemies. Now we need to integrate and train across traditional and digital, especially as we go to mobile.

Read More

At BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL: Weather's Local Nature

In a talk this afternoon at BIA/Kelsey's National conference, Ryan Davis, who runs the local business for the Weather Channel, described the Weather Channel as a collection of local sites with really scalable content. Davis talked about Weather's partnerships with local television…

Read More

Will Tesla's Elon Musk Kill Uber? Thinking Demand-side Economics This Week

Leading up to the BIA/Kelsey NOW Conference, which will debut in San Francisco this June, we’re kicking off a regular series of blog postings on the Local On-Demand Economy (see our white paper). Twice per week, we’ll wrap notable news, fundings and executive moves in the LODE world.

(Click below for full stories)

Does Elon Musk’s Future Include a Place for Uber?
Uber may be the “greatest job creator” in the world right now, adding 50,000 drivers a month since the beginning of the year. But consider Tesla Founder & CEO Elon Musk’s vision of a world without drivers. In an interview at an NVIDIA conference this week, Musk said: “”In the distant future, I think people may outlaw driving cars because it’s too dangerous. You can’t have a person driving a two-ton death machine.” He predicts driving will eventually be illegal.

Bus rides, by contrast, may not be good LODE targets
Leap Transit launched its high-end bus service in San Francisco this week. A roughly 15-minute ride costs $6 and includes coffee, wi-fi and techie luxuries including an onboard concierge of sorts, according to this entertaining article from The Atlantic’s CityLab. This very unLODE model requires a steep capital investment in buses that appear to include reclaimed wood walls and Starbucks-like seating.

FundBox tackles the accounts receivable space
Accounts receivables delays cost small business significant lost opportunity the longer they drag on. If they can get paid faster, the revenue can be redeployed for growth, marketing and other purposes. FundBox, a San Francisco startup announced a $17.5 million round of financing from Khosla Ventures, Ron Conway’s SV Angel and other individual investors, to address this painful business problem.

Meanwhile, is syndication working magic for BuzzFeed?
At South by SouthWest in Austin, Texas, this week BuzzFeed founder Johan Peretti explained that he has effectively outsourced his site hosting to social networks where his company’s content is shared by users. While BuzzFeed.com attracts approximately 200 million users each month, its syndication network, which includes Facebook and Twitter, generates 18.5 billion impressions a month.

Read More