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.
We’ve reached a pivot point where local market nuances and differences can create definable opportunity. I am not saying that the age of the big box retail or e-commerce portal are over, but if a brand does a better job at leveraging local marketing it can create a competitive advantage and differentiation point.
“I’m not convinced small businesses without a full-time in-house marketer really care about analytics,” David Mihm tells Mike Blumenthal in their bi-weekly chat. “They certainly don’t have the time or expertise to dive in each week and change their marketing or customer service behavior based on what a dashboard is telling them.”
As 2016 draws to a close, we’ve once again asked Street Fight staffers and columnists to look into their crystal ball and offer prognostications for what they think will be the biggest story (or stories) in local in 2017.
Even though Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company has customers around the world, its marketing strategy is focused on reaching local markets. Street Fight recently caught up with CMO Natalie Sexton to talk about the company’s approach.
“Last time we identified our essential digital bundle for small businesses,” says David Mihm to Mike Blumenthal. “This week I thought we might tackle how agencies and media companies might go about building and selling that bundle — and why there seem to be so few who are actually doing it.”
Marketers that fail to see local storefronts as a critical channel are missing out on a rich sales opportunity. Brands invest $70 billion in local markets each year, but a significant portion of that spend often goes to waste because they fail to work collaboratively with their local partners.
The company offers a number of perks, including membership stock shares making each employee an equity owner. “That’s the kind of tactical ownership that we’re going for,” says CEO Ari Kaufman. “Make everyone own a piece of the company. This is your company. Give a sh*t about it — it’s yours.”
The company’s new digital marketing platform combines the power of tech with the authority of the human brain. Brandify’s Nip Zalavadia, says the platform has the capability to access and analyze huge amounts of data, but also uses real people to address details that often fall through the cracks of automated software solutions.