Yearly Archives: 2012’s Expert Panel: 2013 All About ‘Better Data’ and ‘Better Content’

At this time of year, a lot of us in the analysis and strategic research world are thinking about our predictions for 2013. Some of our predictions will be based on data trends; other predictions will be based on gut instinct vis a vis the relationships between marketing developments, tech developments, and the players that can execute on them.

A warm up for our own work has come from’s survey of 86 digital thinkers. It’s quite a survey, focusing exclusively on the “détente” that Chief Marketing Officers are finally enjoying with CIOs, as Forrester’s David Cooperstein points out.

The proper and useful application of big data is the focus of many of the predictions (including mine.) Acxiom CMO Tim Suther says that “if 2012 was the year of big data, 2013 will be the year of better data.” Motorola Solutions CMO Eduardo Conrado notes the use of big data will all lead to “a tighter link between sales and marketing systems in 2013.”

But CMOs also need to look beyond technology, too. Brands have been extended beyond single click ads by social media and other channels. So much so that several of’s predictors suggest that the real focus will be on differentiated content….again.

“In the last two to three years, the pendulum has swung from brand marketing to an overt focus on analytical marketing to acquire, convert, and retain new customers,” suggests Russell Reynolds Associates’ Deborah Op den Kamp. But “In the coming year, successful CMOs will figure out how to reintegrate great brand storytelling (a priority of old) with innovative analytical marketing to provide an emotional connection that resonates with consumers.”

Content’s importance is also stressed by Society of Digital Agencies’ Tony Quin, who notes “The rise of social media means that brands must now produce a constant stream of compelling content that attracts attention and becomes the basis for an ongoing connection with the consumer.”

Finally, CMG Partners’ Doug Holroyd suggests that marketers have been too heavily focused on the “science side” of marketing. “It’s not the tools that matter, it’s the experience that they have. In 2013, when the savvy lead marketer sets his or her marketing strategy, it will be critical to prioritize the art of marketing.”

Here’s mine: ‘Marketplaces’ Environment

“The biggest marketing issues and trends in 2013 include use of big data for better targeting of consumers, and matching between consumers and merchants; more personalized offers and services; and better use of social media for recommendations and referrals. All three of these trends are interrelated as part of the new “marketplaces” environment that will boost yield and begin to shift resources (dollars, people and time) away from ad budgets. Mostly, however, they will complement advertising efforts.”

— Peter Krasilovsky, Vice President, BIA/Kelsey

Chase Buys Bloomspot; Banks Continue Invasion of Deals Space

Another bank has telegraphed its strategy in the offers and loyalty space. JP Morgan Chase, the nation’s second largest bank after Bank of America, announced today that it had purchased Bloomspot.

The acquisition follows MasterCard’s recent purchase of TruAxis and BarclayCard’s purchase of Analog Analytics. Other banks have partnered with transaction marketing vendors, which include Cardlytics (Bank of America), Cartera and Edo Interactive.

Bloomspot is an interesting choice for Chase, which has previously done low key trials of deals in several markets with different vendors. Co-founded by ex-Yahoo Local execs Jasper Malcolmson, Frazier Miller and Ashish Baidua, the 100 person, San Francisco-based company had raised $46.1 Million, but apparently needed to make a deal – it has been cutting back on expenses in recent months.

What it brings to the table for Chase is a presence in 11 major markets, and a loyalty focus. Rather than directing its attention on building a giant consumer list a la Groupon and Living Social, it has instead worked with merchants to reach their best customers. It reports that 62 percent of its subscribers opt in to its loyalty program, and 92 percent spend above the deal value, compared to 59 percent for other deal sites.

Bloomspot has not, however, built a card -linked solution — which might be considered a strategic necessity for a major credit card vendor like Chase. This means that Chase may still be in the market to work with one of the key vendors (or build its own.)

Spending-Based Loyalty Programs: Perka Gets Beyond ‘Buy 10, Get 1’

“Buy 10, Get 1” loyalty programs are directly descended from paper punchcard programs and serve a general purpose. They are especially effective for transactions that are always about the same (i.e. coffee, pizza and the movies).

But how do you spur more buying and more frequent buying when transactions are highly variable? This was a question posed last year by Southwest Airlines when it shifted its loyalty program from trips to dollars spent.

Now Perka, a 28 person, national loyalty provider based in Portland, OR and New York, is adding a “Flex Card” option for its loyalty efforts as well. Perka’s Flex Card program enables local merchants to not only tally different kinds of spending, but it also enables them to set a variety of thresholds for rewards (i.e. 50 points to a shirt, 500 points to a birthday party, etc.)

Co-Founder Robert Bethge tells us the Flex card program was soft launched in October, and costs merchants $50 per month, as opposed to $35 for the standard electronic punchcard. Currently, 50 merchants are on the flex card option, while 450 take the punchcard.

Bethge adds that a key advantage of the Flex card program, he notes, is that it leverages the company’s ability to read directly off Point of Sales systems, adding many additional “closed loop” verification capabilities.

Mobile Loco Keynote: Groupon CEO Andrew Mason

Appearing at a time of rumors that Google is in talks to purchase a slumping Groupon on the cheap, Groupon CEO Andrew Mason told The Mobile-Loco conference in San Francisco that the four-year -old, 12,000 employee company remains focused on developing “the first real, local commerce system” for merchants.”

The timing of the company’s ascent is perfectly aligned with the rise of mobile, noted Mason. “We have 40 million active customers. We acquired our customers at a time when mobile is paving the way for local commerce,” he said. Mason added that mobile customers spend more than purely desktop customers.

Groupon is still pegged in many circles as a daily deal company, but Mason says it is a broader play now. The company “extends the reach of local customers by enabling dynamic pricing,” he said. Whatever is ultimately included in its suite of services, there will be “some kind of customer dial and deal management tools” that level the playing field for SMBs with large corporations.

Offers are also highly targeted, boosting yield. “We don’t get complaints about sending pole dancer Groupons anymore because we are only sending them to pole dancers,” said Mason.


ILM West: Former TicketMaster CEO Sean Moriarty

The best companies in local to invest in are those that are in a big category, where usage patterns are consistent and where is possible to aggregate supply, notes former TicketMaster CEO Sean Moriarty, who was speaking last week at ILM West in Los Angeles. “They need to be useful for consumers and monetize with advertising.”

AirBnB is a perfect example of “Demand Aggregation,” notes Moriarty, who is now involved in several investments in the space. So is EventBrite, a ticketing service that is one of his investments.

EventBrite provides its users with self service tools that level the playing field and makes its users the equal of “top of the market organizers,” he notes. “They are available to Yoga Classes or wine making classes or to a spoken word series. It is a huge opportunity with a global long tail.”

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ILM West: CityGrid CEO Jason Finger

In order to scale, local online businesses are ideally a nix of consumer and B2B, notes Jason Finger, the new CEO at IAC’s CityGrid Media, which includes the CityGrid Media ad network, Citysearch, Urban Spoon and Insider Pages.

“Every successful business is immersed in crm or operating flow,” notes Finger, who was the founder of Seamless Web. Services such as Open Table, Seamless, ZocDoc and Demand Force integrate with practice management tools and “almost become the operating system for the local merchant.” It is more than just making a local cut. Verticalization is key, also.

“Most companies haven’t cracked the code. Those that have have verticalized. “At CityGrid, we have 40 million uniques and 350 million impressions every month,” says Finger. But that’s not the relevant information. The relevant information is that CityGrid can provide “14 million in ‘category a,’ 19 million in ‘category b’ and 20 million in ‘category c.’ We overlay against people who have commoditized.”

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ILM West: Facebook SMB Global Marketing Head Dan Levy

Facebook is a hugely powerful platform, with 12.8 Million SMB Pages. The number of local business pages advertising has nearly doubled since January. Over 300,,000 pages have promoted 2.5 million posts in just the past six month. Mobile has been especially picking up among SMBs: Over 3 million page owners are using the mobile apps. But Facebook has been relatively laissez faire in promoting SMB use of its platform.

Keynoting at ILM West in Los Angeles last week, SMB head Dan Levy acknowledged “We have been slow in this space.” In fact, he notes, it has been up to third parties such as Main Street Hub and to provide Facebook related services. Often, they must do it “without any cooperation” from Facebook. “What if you are a plumber? What do you post on Facebook? We have failed this business,” he says.

But “we are starting to listen,” Levy notes. “How can we lean in and support all of your clients on Facebook?” One thing that Facebook has already done is set up a preferred marketing developer program. Another is to reintroduce an offers program.

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