Street Fight’s Local Data Summit: The Impact of Data on Local

The impact of data on local marketing was Topic #1 during Street Fight’s Local Data Summit today in Denver. Speakers addressed the wide range of data issues that have begun to enhance local marketing and shift local marketing – and even diminish the spending and influence of marketing.

Mobile is the real driver of the new environment. The new era of big data is largely spurred by the technology in the phone, especially radios, said Qualcomm’s Aidoo Osei. In the near future, it will be further driven by sensors in stores , such as Apple’s iBeacon. The combination of in phone tech and in store sensors will create a “continuous user experience,” added Intel’s Greg Turetsky.

Turetsky said the data environment will be greatly impacted by the growing role of indoor intelligence, such as the sensors, which can react to consumers as they walk by with personalized promotions. Just last week, indoor got a huge boost when the FCC mandated that the e911 system should be upgraded to include indoor as well as outdoor. Commercial applications for indoor sensors should follow, he said.

But technologists can’t get too far ahead of themselves. Even at the Local Data Summit…not a single member of the audience said they had yet used iBeacon.

Other views focused on the nascent efforts to leverage location. Major progress has been made since some of the technology began rolling out in 2012, said Placed’s David Shim. It used to be entirely experimental, said Shim. But now brands are coming in with predefined problems. “They ask: can you solve the problem for me?”

Many data issues directly relate to mobile marketing – especially in terms of audience measurement. It used to be all about projecting audiences based on panels, said PlaceIQ’s Drew Breunig. But now—thanks to the influx of mobile users – “ we have populations. And we have the computing resources to deal with the data coming off the populations.” Breunig noted the new environment is enormously richer to today’s focus on geofencing, which tends to underdeliver.

Media Execs: ‘Local’ Sales Are 7th Most Impactful Revenue Issue

Localizing ad campaigns via geo targeting and local sales is increasingly important. At BIA/Kelsey, of course, the importance of localization for digital ad sales is an article of faith.

Local Sales are not, however, part of the “A” list of impactful issues for media executives. In a poll of media executives attending Operative‘s Op/Ed 2014 event last week in Palm Desert, Local Sales ranked 7th out of 11 features that impact revenues.

It ranked as less impactful than Effectively Scaling Ad Ops; Changes in buying/RFPs; Consultative Selling; Mobile Monetization; Ineffective Technology; and Cross-platform Selling. Video Monetization; Third-party Data; Buy/Sell Automation; and Real-Time Bidding ranked lower than local.

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ForwardLine: Taking a Big Data Approach to SMB Marketing (and Capital)


Small business marketing management and back office operations haven’t had much cross over. Perhaps Intuit has worked to marry them together; so have Microsoft and Web.com. Until recently, that was the extent of it.

Now we’re seeing a new batch of companies volunteering to work with SMBs as both marketing helpers and business managers. The rise of online scheduling has made such a marriage much more logical. So has the extension of web site presence management, and leads management.

ReachLocal and GoDaddy, for instance, have crossed the line – in different ways – to eliminate the silos separating marketing and back office ops. Another approach is being taken via ForwardLine. The ten-year old, 60-person company is primarily known for short-term SMB loans and payment processing – and has cleverly linked the two businesses for many customers. Roughly one quarter of ForwardLine’s customers are restaurants. Other large categories include salons, dentists and drycleaners.

CRO David Teichner tells us that ForwardLine is a natural partner because “capital is a key ingredient for SMB growth.” Furthermore, many SMBs renew their relationship with ForwardLine when they need money for new equipment; a new ad campaign; or other reasons. “More than eighty percent of our customers come back for additional funds when a new opportunity comes their way,” says Teichner.

Recently, ForwardLine began structuring strategic partnerships with companies offering services to SMBs. ForwardLine offers its partners data on credit card sales volume and other sales data to give insight into what makes SMB owners tick. This allows ForwardLine’s partners to offer up tailored services for SMBs and demonstrate the ROI.

Teichner, who came to ForwardLine in 2013 from Yowza, a mobile coupons company, adds that “small business owners want to grow their business. They need capital, which ForwardLine provides, but they also want effective marketing services that they can measure. We provide a convenient source of client-side visibility, so that SMB marketers and other service companies can demonstrate the value they are adding.”

IAB Leadership Meeting: Facebook, NY Times Defend Native Advertising

Native advertising — the insertion of contextually relevant advertising amidst other content — is viewed with suspicion by much of the ad community, which sees it as unscaleable, and perhaps the opposite of its drive towards programmatic (automated) sales.

During the Summary Panel today at the IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting in Palm Desert, one hypothesis by moderator Terry Kawaja, CEO, LUMA Partners, playing devil’s advocate, was that “agencies cannot create the volume and quality of native content necessary to populate every native ad.”

New York Times Executive VP of Advertising Meredith Levien, rising to the bait, strongly disagreed. “Good native advertising puts the onus on the reader to decide whether to engage or not,” she said, noting that The Times, Buzzfeed, Forbes (her former employer) and others have set up native ad areas that are clearly differentiated from other content, and highly successful. “It’s not like we have (columnist) Thomas Friedman writing for Pepsi,” she said.

Facebook VP of Ad Products, Monetization and Atlas Brian Boland, a keynoter at BIA/Kelsey’s ILM show in December, vigorously defended native advertising – not surprisingly, since Facebook is banking heavily on it. Native advertising, when combined with personalization, provides unprecedented value, he said. “People are going to a place where they want to discover what is important to them. It creates an opportunity for people to be excited about what they see.”

Boland noted that Facebook has recently been criticized for pushing the envelope with native advertising by having video ads. But critics should have done their homework, like Facebook has, Boland said. He noted that it did reams of testing and research, and the feedback has shown that the video ads are totally engaging viewers.

Going forward, Facebook is developing a set of formats to enable people and advertisers to express themselves via native advertising on every platform – especially mobile. Boland acknowledged, however, that such formats are better suited towards larger media concerns. A handful of publishers will similarly see how things evolve, he said. But it remains “a challenge for midsized publishers.”

IAB Leadership Meeting: CMOs Discuss Internal Impact of ‘Digital First’

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Digital change comes as much from inside the marketing organization as from end users, noted two leading CMOs, who were interviewed at the IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting today in Palm Desert. The CMOs were Wells Fargo‘s Jamie Moldafsky and Adobe‘s Ann Lewnes.

Moldafsky said that the key to digitizing the staid Well Fargo culture and the company’s 370,000 employees is “to ground everyone in customer insight.” With six billion transactions a year, Wells Fargo has really had to focus on the most important aspect of the digital era: “how real time we need to be thinking,” says Moldafsky.”The hardest part for us is that notion of speed.” The emergence of digital –especially omnichannel – has enabled marketing to “take some risks in the spirit of learning,” she added.

Lewnes said that Adobe made the decision five or six years ago to move as much of our money as possible to digital. “We now spend seventy-four percent of our marketing on digital,” she noted. “Every marketing employee has a ‘digital first’ mentality with no excuses.”

The change over has coincided with the company’s move to an all digital, subscription-based business model. But “the biggest need was the amount of change needed inside the organization,” she said. The data constitutes “a think tank of Web analysis — and is “the “single point of truth” for the whole company. It has lead to making more changes in the last two yearas than the prior 50 years combined. “The only thing I can convince people is that the quantifiable side of marketing is what people want to see.”

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IAB Leadership Meeting: Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman

Clear Channel Entertainment CEO Bob Pittman, speaking today at IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting in Palm Desert, said that radio has been able to leverage its undiminshed strength with digital providing a new channel and new listeners for the medium.

Pittman, a legenday industry figure who was one of the early leaders at MTV and then a leader at Six Flags over America, Century 21, AOL and Time Warner (and a BIA/Kelsey keynoter at ILM 2011), noted that “digital was the obvious way to go” for reinforcing Clear Channel’s value when he took the company’s helm a few years ago. “My entire career since the early 1970s has been about trying to find new ways to connect to the home,” he said. But now we have reversed it,” with the latest trends –driven by mobile — about doubling or even tripling out of home usage.

While digital is a great enabler, it is still not the centerpiece of marketing, Pittman stressed. “You want a product strategy.” With Clear Channel, his team has built out “I Heart Radio” with an annual, in person concert that leverages the comapny’s relationships with on air talent and musical artists. The concert is now the anchor of the company’s marketing, and has helped raise awareness of the digital channel to 70 percent (along with what Pittman described as millions of dollars worth of on-air advertising).

IAB Leadership Meeting: WalMart Global Commerce CEO Neil Ashe

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Wal-Mart Global eCommerce CEO Neil Ashe told 1000+ digital marketing pros at the IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting in Palm Desert that their responsibility is to fully integrate their efforts throughout the organization.

Ashe, who formerly ran CBS Interactive, said top company execs have got to get away from the notion that the CIO is the only one who matters because “he has the ear of the CEO. That’s bunk,” he said. “You need everyone.”

“The org chart hasn’t changed all that much,” added Ashe. “But people are really changing. It is about inspiring change among key influentials in the organization.”

Ashe noted that Walmart.com has been set up as a separate organization, based in San Bruno, CA. But it has a major impact on the rest of WalMart, and works hard to blend its activities with WalMart.

Ultimately, a company needs to be judged on “its willingness to change, and its ability to invent,” said Ashe. “We need to deliver consistency across our units and bring together marketing, merchandising and technology in ways they’ve never been before.”

The top priority, Ashe added, is to coordinate the needs of the customer. “It is no longer up to the organization to do this,” said Ashe. “It happens at the point of the customers. It happens not where we choose, but where they choose. First and foremost, it is about how to deliver a better shopping experience for customers.”

It is also time to get over the novelty of Big Data concepts, and start thinking about how to actually apply data in meaningful ways. “Six-to-nine months ago, we all sat down and said ‘we’re sick’ of talking” about Big Data. We need to turn Big Data from a noun to a verb, and make it actionable,” said Ashe.

“We need it to help us help customers to find one more item; for merchants to sell one more item; to help our fulfillment centers do their job,” Ashe added. “That’s when data becomes actionable.”

Noting that WalMart was a pioneer in sharing its data with suppliers as far back as 1992, Ashe said that the company’s new efforts with data is “manifesting itself on site and in our stores; and manifesting in merchants in how they operate on our site and our store; and with operators, from scheduling to inventory outreach.

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