Big brands plan to invest more in data and technology for the digital local marketing, and it is easy to see why. Connecting with the right audience and generating leads for sales teams has become even more crucial in the completion for local. Small businesses tend to be earlier adopters of digital marketing, as they eagerly try to reach out to their local markets. Enterprises who in the past spent just a small portion of their digital marketing dollars on local expect to invest more on this front.
In a webinar Wednesday, Street Fight’s research director David Card and John Hurley, Radius’s senior director of demand generation and content marketing, discussed how companies such as American Express, iHeartRadio, and DexYP use intelligent platforms and data to get ahead of their rivals.
Hurley said this is all about learning how to better use technology to connect with local audiences and new buyers.
Data from Street Fight’s latest survey on business-to-business marketing tactics, Card said, shows what big enterprises have done in local marketing and what was successful for them.
“Three key components to that are data you have inside, the intelligence that drives it, and the fact that it supports omnichannel touchpoints in marketing,” he said.
Back in June, Street Fight commissioned a survey of some 250 enterprise, local marketing and advertising decision makers, Card said. “These were at companies with more than 100 employees and multiple locations. We wanted to look at the traditional and digital tactics and tools they used for their own marketing.” This included B2B, B2C, and B2SMB marketers, he said.
Part of the survey looked at how successful they were in reaching classical marketing objectives, the results of which were correlated with the strategies they adopted. Among B2B marketers, Card said, one-fifth responded that they were very effective at customer retention, service, and support. “They might need a little bit of help on that conversion factor,” he said.
When it came to spending their digital budgets, about one-third was invested locally. “A lot of the budget still goes towards supporting the headquarters website,” Card said. There is some willingness to change that ratio, with 40 percent who said they would increase local mix of their spending.
Hurley said, given the survey results, there may be a need to rethink how data is collected and managed for marketing purposes to reach local businesses. “We know there is tons of data we want to be using, but managing and sourcing that data can be challenging,” he said. “What do you do with that data and how do you factor it into your campaigns?”
There is a discrepancy, Hurley said, between data collected and actual use to drive primary objectives of conversions, new customer acquisitions, and brand awareness through campaigns. “How do you bridge that gap between the data you’re collecting and using that data?”
That second layer is based on intelligence—elements that can be leveraged to get the most out of data. “A lot of marketers, enterprise companies, are thinking about these big layers that they need to implement and have really solid foundations in to scale, reaching their buyers in the buyers’ journey,” Hurley said.
Data is the foundation for all reporting, intelligence, and the ability to connect with buyers, he said. Looking at data in platforms that house customer and prospect data, such as CRM and marketing automation systems was a bit alarming. “We found that 75 percent of the data across these core platforms where this data is managed is inaccurate,” Hurley said. “It’s duplicated, incomplete — frankly wrong and outdated.”
The problem with SMB data, he said, is local businesses have such a high turnover of information with new locations and new employees being added at a fast pace. “The velocity of data that represents SMBs is much higher than a typical prospect,” Hurley said. Even over a three-month period, many of the foundational ways of contacting with SMBs changed.
Faced with such rapid evolution in information, keeping connected to prospects becomes more crucial. Marketing tactics that worked for reaching local customer bases included a mix of digital with traditional. “Digital is pretty much at the top,” he said. E-mail marketing and social media advertising show up alongside online display advertising — above TV, print, or direct mail. Last year’s survey of this type showed that spending on digital was more conservative, Card said, but they were intrigued with reaching audiences across multiple channels.
“We’re seeing a shift towards the effectiveness of digital tactics,” he said. Paid search, social media, and email all saw increased attention and investment. Streaming video also translated into successful tactic, Card said.
Website analytics, point-of-sale data, and promotional codes were used to measure success for campaigns. B2B marketers gather a broad swath of customer information, he said, though perhaps at times with an over-reliance on customer surveys compared with what they chose to act on in their campaigns. “Social media behavior as well as corporate site behavior were passed along a lot,” he said, “or ended up using.”
Online purchase data, local and corporate site behavior in particular correlated the most with effectiveness, Card said. In the B2B arena, ownership and responsibility for data, once collected, tended to rest more with marketing and customer service than sales or even advertising, he said.
The tools used to harness this data, despite new innovations that might available, can still be rather old fashioned. “Over 40 percent of B2B marketers use spreadsheets to manage local campaigns,” Card said. Third-party data management platforms, sophisticated automation, lead qualification and nurturing might be in place but tend to be underutilized. Reputation and review management were connected to effectiveness, as well.
Not every new piece of technology is being leveraged at the moment, though that could change. B2B marketers in the survey were concerned about location data, however they might not be using it for targeting as much as for audience segmentation and analysis, Card said. Other technologies on their near-term horizons include targeted TV and programmatic. “These marketers are also more interested in the Internet of Things a little more so than say augmented reality or beacons,” he said.
Joao-Pierre Ruth is a Street Fight contributor.