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Mark Your Calendars: BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL, March 25-27, Dallas

It’s here! We have just announced the agenda for BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL. which takes place March 25-27 in Dallas.

The NATIONAL theme is especially important this year. Local technology and services have reached a level where they have fostered major relationships with national brands and retailers. At IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting last year, we noted a poll by Operative that showed that local sales has now become the seventh most important revenue driver for CMOs. Our own BIA/Kelsey research shows that national players will spend more than $68 billion on local marketing by 2018.

We know this: Brands want to be part of this. Retailers want to be part of this. Franchisees want to be part of this. And so does local’s growing community of digital channel players and vendors. All of them will be front and center at the third edition of BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL, which we are co-chairing with 3rd Act Marketing’s Gregg Stewart (ex 15 Miles, TMP and Wahlstrom).

The agenda is now posted, with an initial slate of keynoters that includes Facebook’s Jon Czaja, whose portfolio includes the national franchise opportunity, where he leverages his experience at core national local leaders such as General Mills, eBay and Walmart; “Everything I Know about Marketing I Learned from Google” author Aaron Goldman, Kenshoo‘s CMO, who shares his irreverent and critical take on search. social and mobile; and Geary LSF President and CEO Karen Kovaleski, who is spearheading national local strategies for such key brands as Bumble Bee, WD-40, Brooks Brothers and Ashley Furniture.

The brands themselves will be well represented at the show. The initial slate of brands at the event include key local targeting leaders from Brooks Brothers, El Pollo Loco, All My Sons Moving and Storage, ServiceMaster/American Home Shield and Rooms to Go.

Other speakers come from media leaders who are providing local solutions to national players, including Dallas Morning News SVP Grant Moise and Washington Post VP Ethan Selzer.

We’ll also hear from a number of top platform providers and agencies, including BizHive Chairman Dave Walker, ReachLocal VP Travis Arthur, Where2GetIt CEO Manish Patel, Simpli.fi CEO Frost Prioleau, SpeakEasy CEO Mike Orren, LocalBizNow CEO Todd Webber and Soci CEO Afif Khoury.

Anchoring the whole show is the second edition of our GoLocal Awards, honoring the best efforts from national brands and retaillers (and their agencies) in local. We’re just getting started. Watch this space for frequent updates.

Expert Insight: Gregg Stewart on National Brands, Local Marketing

Advertising expert Gregg Stewart is the CEO of Third Act Marketing and co-chair of BIA/Kelsey’s National event March 25-27 in Dallas. He has specialized in localizing national brands since 1985 and has previously served in leadership capacities at Wahlstrom, TMP and 15 Miles. Some of the brands he has advised include FedEx, GE, Hilton Hotels, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, United Van Lines, Brooks Brothers, Farmers Insurance, Target, Bank of America, Aspen Dental, and ADT.

Local marketing used to be an after-thought for national brands and retailers. What’s changed?

In the early days, brands relied solely on their sales channels (dealers, agents, franchisees) to do local marketing for them through co-op advertising programs. Now, brands have taken a lot of the responsibility for local marketing on themselves.

Why?

The emergence of digital media has accelerated the need of brands to take control at the local level. Digital requires very specialized resources. It is also highly fragmented and nuanced. It isn’t just two or three things, like newspapers, radio, TV, Yellow Pages and direct mail. Now, there can be 25-30 media options per market.

It is definitely more complicated. But is it better?

If you do it well, it is an opportunity area. Digital certainly has a direct impact on a lot of businesses and verticals. The brands and sales channels that have not embraced digital have seen their market share fade. One example of a brand that has done it right is GEICO. Many insurance brands have a huge local infrastructure, with thousands of agents. But they have not yet leveraged local. GEICO has a centralized organization. But it has embraced the opportunities that Internet and mobile present to get very hyperlocal and target their ad messages specifically to individual markets of opportunity.

We tend to think in simplistic terms about winning the “brand” account. There are actually several aspects to local marketing for brands.

Marketing brands locally is much more complex than direct response focused brands. Many brands have multifaceted sales forces/channels including dealers, agents, franchisees or branches. Dealers tend to be multiple brand focused. Franchisees are usually single brand and are dedicated to that brand locally. Agents can be captive, or they can be independent and sell local brands for verticals such finance and insurance. And branches tend to be company owned like Starbucks and Enterprise Rent a Car. Stitching together brand advertising that is locally targeted needs to leverage these sales channel complexities.

As brands take more control of digital marketing, how will the traditional agency business be impacted?

There is a transformation occurring. Large agencies tend to do things like they have always done. They always hawk TV first; move a lot of dollars; and get paid a small percentage of these media buys which maps up to large amounts of revenue for the agency. That’s their best margin opportunity. It is very mechanized and cost efficient for them. But a $5 million digital campaign targeted locally will involve lots of legwork, with a lot of different ad sizes and overall, a lack of standardization. While the rewards are great, there is lots more “heavy lifting”, and labor costs are much higher. It is highly nuanced. Local specialists including Where2GetIt and Location 3 are focused on these aspects.

You are co-chairing BIA/Kelsey’s National event. Why should brands and marketers join BIA/Kelsey’s local community at this event?

The BIA/Kelsey events really stand out for their content and networking. You get to rub elbows with many of the leading innovators in the market. You don’t get that at the mass shows. I’m looking forward to contributing to BIA/Kelsey’s thought leadership on this one, and providing an opportunity for marketers to learn tactics to help them use digital to become more specialized and strategic.

Salesforce’s Randy Wootton at BIA/Kelsey SFO: Avoiding Local’s ‘Creepy Valley’

Marketers have lots of disparate information about consumers they are targeting, but if they don’t put it together in a consumer friendly way, it quickly becomes an offputting “Creepy Valley of Local Marketing” that is counter productive, said Salesforce VP RandyWootton in a keynote address at BIA/Kelsey’s Interactive Local Media event at San Francisco Airport.

Citing GoDaddy’s Blake Irving for inventing the “Creepy Valley” moniker, Wootton noted that “where it gets weird is when there are things that target you” and are really not consistent with good Customer Relationship management principles. It becomes especially worrisome in a mobile environment where there are no barriers.

The solution? Provide all services in the cloud, where several layers of services can be easily mediated. “The cloud is the democratization of the marketing world – although local marketers aren’t taking advantage of it yet. When you cross the creepy valley, you havea different relationship” with your customers,” says Wootton.

BIA/Kelsey SFO: Home Depot,Thumbtack, Serviz Weigh in on Home Improvement

Home improvement services is a wild new frontier that has just scratched the tip of its potential, according to segment leaders at BIA/Kelsey’s Leading in Local: Interactive Local Media event at San Francisco Airport.

“ServiceMagic/Home Advisor is (only) a couple of hundred million dollars. Angie’s has never made a profit. The market is ripe but no one is there yet,” said Home Depot Silicon Valley leader Anthony Roddio, who also serves as GM of the company’s Red Beacon contractor scheduling service. “The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is repeat business.”

Roddio noted that a real opportunity for the industry is that many millennials have moved away from DIY. “For some, their idea of a home project is upstreaming iTunes in the living room,” he said. But Home Depot is traditionally geared around DIY. The company hasn’t done enough to develop ‘Do it For Me’, said Roddio.

Serviz leader Zorik Gordon, the former ReachLocal leader, said that the void in the industry is that the segment is not transparent. Serviz will move away from unreasonable 300-500 percent upsells, and provide price charts, and reviews; it will also assign contractors, said Gordon, who says the startup will move beyond southern California, where it launched in July, and will reach 10-20 cities by the end of 2015.

Thumbtack CEO Marco Zappacosta noted that his company recently raised $100 million from Google and others. “What Google and others saw in us is that we have created a unique platform,” he said. “We have 600 unique categories.”

Thumbtack is taking a different approach than Serviz and The Home Depot’s Red Beacon in that it doesn’t assign jobs to service pros or collect money for jobs. Focusing on moving the money is “not the indicator” for the success of a transactional marketplace, he said.

Uber Tests 10 Minute Delivery Service

The big online retailers such as Amazon, eBay, Groupon and WalMart have been focusing on developing same day delivery channels. Same day delivery is an effort that that may not only boost their edge over other retailers, but also add new anchor channels such as groceries, and also boost impulse sales.

We’ve also seen other players experiment with delivery. The San Diego Union Tribune, for instance, has tested delivery of coffee beans with the morning newspaper. Newspapers have been also a channel for free CPG samples with Sunday newspapers for years.

Now along comes Uber, in the midst of an ocean of bad publicity. It is testing a 10 minute delivery program called Uber Essentials, which is an evolution of an earlier Uber delivery test. The program allows under- utilized drivers to drop off key items from Flu medicine to toothpaste to birth control. The items are roughly the same price as local stores. As with Uber car service, items(and tips) are automatically charged to Uber accounts. One possible hangup: Customers must meet their Uber driver on the street. They also cannot deliver alcohol.

The program is being launched with a free order up to $20, has a tie-in with a free sample of Dunkin Donuts packaged coffee – illustrating a potential advertising opportunity.

‘Selling Services on Amazon’ Launches Beta in Nine Markets

After months of rumors, Amazon has entered the increasingly crowded service pro referral space with a beta test in nine markets. According to a dedicated web site for the launch, service pros will pay Amazon 20 percent for services that cost $1000 or less, and 15 percent above that amount, as well as monthly subscription fees – although those fees are waived through June 2015. The 20 percent fees are comprised of 15 percent service platform fees, and 5 percent transaction fees.

The service is launching with a strong focus on consumer electronic installation and repair, fitting with sales on the Amazon site. Auto and bike services are also featured, with more categories likely to be added. All pros must undergo background checks, which will cost $50 (plus $40 per employee); have appropriate licenses, and carry insurance. All listings will also feature Yelp reviews as well.

Amazon will be competing against a number of other players in the space, including market leaders such as Angie’s List and Home Advisor; Pro.com, a new site launched by former Amazon exec Matt Williams; Serviz, a new site launched by former ReachLocal exec Zorik Gordon; and The Home Depot’s Red Beacon service.

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The BIA/Kelsey/CardLinx Survey: Momentum For Card Linked Offers

Will card-linked offers supplement coupons and advertising for national and local merchants and services? Will financial institutions such as banks and credit card companies take advantage of their access to card data to become major players in ecommerce and media as well? And will cash back remain the primary driver of the card-linked offer space?

These are some of the key questions we asked in an anonymized survey we have just completed with members of The CardLinx Association, whose roster include such companies as Microsoft, Facebook, Bank of America, MasterCard, American Express, First Data, Cardlytics, Living Social, Deem and Linkable. Some non-members also participated in the survey, which had 14 respondents in total.

One key finding: this space appears to have momentum. While some startup publishers have ceased their operations, others have dug in. And more merchants and consumers are participating in card-linked offers than last year. Respondents also noted that card-linked offers have gone from representing “experimental” marketing budgets to – in some cases — seven figure contracts.

Survey results will have their public debut at BIA/Kelsey’s Leading in Local: Interactive Local Media Conference Dec. 3-5 in San Francisco. The session also includes interviews with CardLinx Association CEO Silvio Tavares and Cardlytics CMO Kasey Byrne.