Our research suggests that big brands and retailers don’t have AI high on their list of local marketing priorities. But it appears that if brands are very email- and direct mail-focused, and that’s where they’re thinking of applying AI.
Surveys suggest social media is pretty influential for shoppers, particularly young ones, although they gravitate to Instagram and Snapchat. Big brands are taking heed. Although packaged goods giant P&G said it was paring back its most highly-targeted Facebook ads, it recently confirmed that it was maintaining its overall Facebook spending.
As local merchants increasingly shift their marketing spending to digital tactics, they’re becoming more sophisticated in how they manage those programs. Street Fight’s latest analysis of its local small business survey shows a much higher adoption rate of digital dashboards and the like compared with previous research.
The fourth edition of Street Fight’s Local Merchant Report shows a continued movement to social media as a preferred marketing tactic among local merchants. They deem it their most effective tactic, so they’re increasing their spending. Analysis of the survey suggests that would-be marketing suppliers can help them integrate social with their own site and email campaigns, as well as assisting them with reputation management and reviews.
The reports released last week by industry organizations provide useful advice on mobile marketing tactics and using location data. Both studies point to the need to apply integrated, cross-channel measurement techniques, and to use location data for targeting, customer segmentation, and attribution.
Comparing some surveys focused at opposite ends of the local small business spectrum — franchise operators and self-employed professionals — it feels like, though the industry is selling these groups the same marketing and commerce technology and services, the two segments are more different than similar.
As the so-called customer journey takes new twists and turns, tech companies and agencies should help local businesses and brands differentiate themselves via user experience. Catering to virtual assistants might seem to be the path towards that goal. But it’s probably too early to make huge bets on these technologies.