DAC Group’s Fritz: ‘Consolidation Has Already Started’ in Local Tech

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On October 25, Street Fight will hold its sixth annual Street Fight Summit, bringing together some of the greatest minds in marketing in local marketing and tech to discuss trends, deals, and emerging talent. Brett Fritz, business development VP  of digital and content marketing agency DAC Group, is among the nearly three dozen speakers scheduled to present.

Ahead of the big event, Fritz sat down with Street Fight to talk about DAC’s growth as an agency, the rising importance of omnichannel strategy, and the idea that — slowly but surely — the local digital marketing industry is on its way to consolidation.

DAC Group was founded in 1972, but the world has changed so much since then — especially when it comes to marketing. What are among your key objectives as an agency now, and how does local digital marketing play a role?
Many people see us as old-school given that we started in the seventies, but we’ve evolved into having our own tech platforms and software development in-house.

Our main objective is to connect buyers with sellers, so we’re all about local digital marketing at the moment of intent. Local digital marketing can mean a lot of things, but that’s what it means to us. A consumer looking for a product will pull out their smartphone and search keywords depending on where they are and what they want. Our goal is to be a partner to brands to provide them [access] to that user journey. We [work with them] across a variety of channels to make sure they can get found in that moment.

There are tons of tactics, but, beyond tactics, what retailers really need to be aware of is the relevance and context of [the user’s] search. In the last few weeks there’s been speculation around Google’s local search algorithm update, Possum, which is all about a more stringent and relevant context of search. Businesses need to be aware of the facets that Google is putting out there as the roadmap of search. This [entails] a few things [such as] making sure that if you have a brick-and-mortar locale you have your profile optimized. If you don’t have a location, then there’s the importance of context, and what that looks like.

There are so many types of companies and situations that there really isn’t a silver bullet. It comes down to businesses and retailers understanding who they are and who their marketers are, which is what we’re focused on.

One of the DAC Group’s offerings is in the field of “location-based lead generation.” What does that mean and how do you accomplish it?
The first thing I like to do is help brands define what a lead is and how it can be different from one business to the next. A lead to a doctor’s office may be quite different from a lead defined by a retailer that is selling skiing equipment. So, it’s about understanding what that definition of a lead is [for any given company], which helps us put that user journey first so that we can suggest the best solutions. It could be helping with on-page optimization for conversion, or the various ways to measure foot traffic, if the businesses leads [are defined as] people actually walking through the doors.

Lead generation is all about defining and giving a robust path to solve problems, and implement either an agency perspective or a technological one to help brands achieve their goals. What we can do [to get that process started] is put an assumption in place, which helps drive lead generation. For instance, if a consumer is looking for driving directions, they’re probably coming to your door.

Are brands becoming smarter about the digital marketing options available to them? What are some intelligent moves these businesses are making?
Definitely brands are getting smarter. They had to because the ecosystem has become so complicated. … Brands are starting to bring internal teams in that are cross-functional with each other. You still have silos, but more so these intelligent brands are removing barriers by bringing in, [say], a cross-functional marketing person. When you have that cross-functionality, there is huge success because you can work across all levels and make sure you’re exceeding in every area.

A retailer we work for example has all its [departments] focused on the omnichannel effect of digital marketing. Different decision-making processes come into play. As we increase their web presence, we’re also optimizing their pages experience, which comes from elsewhere within the company. Then we get into social listening, content creation, and those are whole other buckets of people, but when we work all together we see success. So brands needed to get smarter but it does take work.

How might this notion of getting smarter apply to brands that have multiple brick-and-mortar locations play out?
When we start talking with brands with locations, we like to understand what listening capabilities they have. This could range from their internal communications departments on to how they are listening to their consumers. We look for how they’re gathering information, how they’re using social media, and if and how they’re responding [to consumers]. Once we understand what they have in those terms, there are ways we recommend different content strategies and approaches.

We have some tools we’ve built in house and in most cases we can recommend some of our own to see all the reviews we have coming in for a location, and to respond to reviews, and we’ve also built tools to help businesses solicit new reviews for Google or Facebook. That said, we recognize that there are other tech platforms out there, and that sometimes clients look at as more as a trusted advisor than a tech provider. We can show them what we have but if it’s not the best solution for them, we can be an unbiased partner and say, “Hey, these may be better for your needs.”

Brett Fritz
DAC Group’s VP of business development, Brett Fritz

The local digital ecosystem has been quite fragmented for a while now, with lots of different solutions competing for attention. Do you think there’s going to be consolidation in the near future?
I love this question because I think about it a lot. It is an extremely fragmented and complex world, even when you just narrow in on local digital marketing. It includes so many pieces: listings, content creation, pages, locators, social media, reputation management, IoT, beacons, [and so on]. It’s all very robust and complicated. But I do think we’ll see consolidation happen. Some has already started. Larger tech companies gobble up smaller ones, which I think we’ll see more of. We’ll also see agencies combine with each other to be bigger and better together.

The biggest opportunity [will materialize] as we start to see technology platforms look at areas outside of their sweet spot. We’ve heard rumblings around technology companies looking to purchase more agency solutions, as well as vice versa: agencies looking to acquire for tech.

It won’t be overnight, but in 2017 there will be major consolidation, and we’re excited about that because it validates that we’re on the right path. Consolidation is a good thing; it’s more opportunity to grow.

Nicole Spector is a Street Fight contributor.

Hear more from DAC Group’s Brett Fritz at Street Fight Summit on October 25th in New York. Click here for tickets and more info!