Local Market Launch Pushes on Discovery for National Brands, Local Markets

National brands, franchises and multi-location outlets often lose business by only providing standard name/address/phone number information, instead of focusing more on discovery search, says Local Market Launch CMO Gideon Rubin. “Name, address, phone information only represents 15 percent of searches. If you know ‘Subway,’ you can look it up,” he says.

But the real market opportunity is in the discovery market, which constitutes 85 percent of searches. “What we do is add keywords and categories that increases the likelihood of showing up in non-branded searches,” he says. “We’ll add the name of the sandwich or other menu details. That creates additional revenues for merchants. It is a really large opportunity.”

Listings, LAT/long information, pictures and reviews are other key data points that national brands must keep up to date across all the search engines, adds Rubin.

Local Market Launch primarily works with digital agencies and certified marketing reps that have national brand accounts. It wins accounts after finding missing information for national brands during search audits of local locations. It all comes down to “completing the process of delivering products,” Rubin says.

The company also does a lot of work helping large, multi-location businesses claim listings. Many have locations that never show up, says Rubin. LML will work on them individually, adding them to sites such as Yelp, Bing and Google.

LML has just raised a new $1 million round led by former ValueClick execs Jim Zarley and Steve Umberger, adds Rubin. The revenue will help fund the Santa Barbara company’s expansion effort.

Rubin is speaking on search issues, along with LocalVox CEO Trevor Sumner and YP VP Chuck Lee at LIL: The National Impact May 7-9 in Atlanta. Register here

‘National Brands, Local Marketing’: BIA/Kelsey’s Spring Event is May 7-9 in Atlanta

BIA/Kelsey, forecasting $52.9 Billion in national local spending by 2017, has unveiled its new Leading in Local: The National Impact conference, which will take place in Atlanta May 7-9.

The 2 ½ Day event is expected to be the largest gathering of national brands and local marketing players that has ever taken place. Brands, franchises, multi-location stores and others will be the focus.

We’re ready with national local’s top leaders, including Weather Company Global Revenue Officer Curt Hecht; Gannett/G/O Digital SVP Mark Marinacci; Foursquare VP of Sales Rob Wilks; Living Social SVP Mitch Spolan; AutoTrader Founder Chip Perry; YP SVP David Lebow; ReachLocal SVP John Gould; Yodle VP Corey O’Donnell; MediaVest EVP Maribeth Papuga; and many other leading innovators.

A number of speakers will be accompanied by top brands they are working with. The list already includes marketing leaders at brands such as Scion, Two Men and a Truck, Genghis Grill and PostNet. BIA/Kelsey is also holding The GoLocal Awards for brands, which will include an on stage presentation at the end of Day 2.

This isn’t your typical “local” event. It’s all new, it’s all important. And it’s all here. Register.

Hyperlocal Lives! Chris Jennewein On ‘Times of San Diego’

Chris Jennewein

The layoffs at Patch have been met around the industry as the latest sign that hyperlocal can’t work because of the difficulties in scaling content and ad sales locally while attracting a reasonable quorum of local readers. Hale Global, the new owners at Patch, don’t believe it. And neither do the hundreds of people who make up an extended hyperlocal community, including a number of ex- Patchers who remain at least personally committed to making hyperlocal work.

Chris Jennewein has been pushing the envelope in hyperlocal since the early days of Videotex at The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Since then, we’ve followed him as he lead a series of major initiatives at Knight Ridder Digital, The San Diego Union Tribune, The San Diego News Network, The Las Vegas Sun and most recently, as Southern California’s editorial leader for Patch.

Today, Jennewein launched The Times of San Diego. Is he The Man of LaMancha, chasing the Impossible Dream? I asked him a few questions via email.

Q: People think hyperlocal will never work. What did you learn about what does work?

The challenge with hyperlocal is to match the market size with the economic opportunity. Bigger markets simply have more opportunity. We think the San Diego metropolitan area, with a population of 3.2 million, is a sufficiently large opportunity and yet still local. In fact, in today’s world regional is probably local because people commute long distances and their personal and professional networks stretch far beyond individual communities.

Q: What have you learned about San Diego as a media market in terms of hyperlocal? Pros and cons?

San Diego may be farther along in regionalization that some older markets in America. San Diegans think they live in the entire metro area, not just La Jolla or Chula Vista or Carlsbad. So a regional news source is more likely to succeed here.

Q: Is this a model you can take to other markets?

I think this is a model that would definitely work in other markets, especially in the West, but our focus is solely San Diego right now.

Q: Do you think you are directly competing with other media properties at this point? Which ones?

We’re not competing with other media but instead going after what we call “unaffiliated local news consumers.” These are people who get news from a wide variety of sources on an almost serendipitous basis. Our goal is to provide this audience with essential local news and information in an easy-to-consume manner.

BIA/Kelsey Presents ‘Enlisting SMBs for Card Linked Offers’ at CardlinX Forum April 7

Local marketing has increasingly been about non-advertising channels, including Web sites, reputation management, social media, prepaid promotions and big data analytics. In recent months, much of our attention has been on the leveraging of card payment information before, during and after transactions – especially for promotions and analytics.

Card-linked offers and transaction marketing will only get more impactful as commerce transitions to mobile. As they say: “You are not what you search for, you are what you buy.”

With this in mind, a wide range of companies banded together last October in The Cardlinx Association to develop common standards and awareness for the space. Cardlinx is now set to launch a one day event April 7 at The Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas (before The Electronic Transactions Association conference.)

Cardlinx has developed a great lineup, including many industry leaders — some of whom you’ll recognize from BIA/Kelsey events. Some of the more familar “names” include Erik Jorgenson, Microsoft; Dom Morea, First Data; John Bax, Living Social;Eckart Walter, CardSpring; Patrick Grady, Deem; and Schwark Satyavolu, MasterCard.

BIA/Kelsey is also involved: we’re running a session entitled “Enlisting SMBs for Card Linked Offers.” We’ll pair some brand new BIA/Kelsey research with presentations from Ed Braswell, CEO, Edo Interactive; Doron Friedman, CEO, SpotOn; and Kevin Lewis, Director, Strategic Solutions, First Data.

Cardlinx is giving BIA/Kelsey community members $100 off registration prices. Just write “BIA/Kelsey” in the comments section when you register,and it will be taken off the fee.

Radius Intelligence Raises $13 Million Round; Eyes D&B’s SMB Business

Watch out Dun & Bradstreet. Radius Intelligence is coming.

Radius, a five year old, San Francisco based firm formerly known as FWIX, is gunning for D&B’s SMB data business by scraping the Web for insights into how users find and engage SMBs, and then providing leads for them. Today, Radius announced that it has raised $13 Million in new financing. The new amount comes on top of $15.2 Million raised in prior rounds.

The new round is led by Formation8 Partners, which has been joined in this round by prior investor Blue Run Ventures and CEO Darian Shirazi. American Express, Western Technology Investment, Stanford University and Comcast Ventures participated in earlier rounds.

Speaking at BIA/Kelsey’s Interactive Local Media event in December, Shirazi said the company is committed to “empowering people to make good decisions around big data.” Radius scrapes the Web and uses additional sources to provide a rich picture of SMB engagement with customers and comparing that data with their competitors. Social media, news, listings, neighborhood information and other sources are all indexed.

Radius says it accurately categorizes firms based on such usage, and provides leads based on the types of customers it sees by looking at SMBs and their competitors. Leads programs begin at $99 a month, and the company is already pulling in “millions of dollars in annual recurring revenue,” according to figures cited by The Wall Street Journal’s Venture Capital blog. The blog quoted Shirazi as saying that Radius’ goal is to reach $10 million in annual recurring revenue this year.

At our ILM conference, Shirazi argued that his firm’s cloud-based approach has become much more relevant than the “antiquated,” “spreadsheet” approach taken by traditional data leaders, such as D&B and others. Historically, a good chunk of their business intelligence comes from SMB suppliers, said Shirazi. But SMBs have “moved from checks to credit,” making it more difficult to get an accurate snapshot about a business from their purchase data (i.e. how many cups have been ordered by a restaurant, etc.)

Radius Intelligence CEO Darian Shirazi

More Exec Changes at ReachLocal Amidst Advertiser Growth

We’re watching ReachLocal closely, and note some changes at the company. Reach has been pushing the envelope as it transitions from a company that is largely dependent on reselling search and display to one that has a deeper relationship with SMBs via a wide range of platform services – and a direct relationship with consumers as well via service leads, placement and transactions.

Today, during its 3rd quarter earnings call, Reach announced the departure of President (and SMB Digital Marketing Keynoter) Nathan Hanks. Hanks follows founder Zorik Gordon out the door and will be replaced by CRO Josh Claman, who joined the company in August 2012 from Dell and NCR. Interim CEO (and DoubleClick Cofounder) David Carlick remains in place.

The announcement was made during the company’s Third Quarter earnings, which emphasized that the company has expanded its advertiser base 11 percent from a year ago, to 24,600. It also grew its advertiser campaigns 11 percent , and now has 34,600 active campaigns.

Additionally, international operations in 16 countries have become increasingly important to the company’s revenue mix, with 34 percent of its revenue now coming from international, up from 29 percent in 2012.

JD Power Auto Roundtable: Digital Auto Ecosystem Shifts

With the majority of U.S. auto buyers now using online and mobile in their research, the auto sites are clarifying their individual roles in the auto ecosystem – and making adjustments where necessary.

This week, a panel of car site leaders at the JD Power Auto Roundtable in Las Vegas – including Cars.com, Edmunds.com, Kelley Blue Book and TrueCar.com — suggested there were two extremes among them. On one side, you have the national verticals that are the successors to the classifieds industry and provide rich information about cars and the buying journey, lead by AutoTrader.com and Cars.com. On the other side, you have sites focused more on providing price estimates for autos, such as Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book and TrueCar.com.

Finding a balance between pricing and dealer engagement has been the industry’s challenge.

“Price, while important, is not the sole principal,” said Cars.com SVP Alex Vetter. Most people want to know who to buy from and the quality of the service department. Taking care of customers post sale means a lot to them and they will pay more than the lowest price.

Indeed, a focus on price is seen as a “race to the bottom. “As marketers, we are touting unique value propositions, product quality and things we want to promote.” Vetter notes that Cars.com’s deep editorial content, and growing mobile channel, provides context and relevance for the site’s network of 20,000 dealers.

Edmunds.com President and COO Seth Berkowitz , however, suggested that the presentation of price really is important – so long as it is provided in a rich context. By providing price points that have been paid by other customers, along with price quotes by the dealers, better trust is fostered with consumers. When dealers make promises and keep them, we’ve seen a 10% bump in satisfaction ratings, said Berkowitz – an important boost, as dealer profits are often made less from sales as loyalty efforts such as car trade ins and service.

Berkowitz said that the site now works with 6,000 dealers and is becoming more dealer-centric, rather than relying so much on advertising from the manufacturers. The site’s revenue split is currently 60 percent advertising, 40 percent dealers. By next year, it should be 50/50.