BrandMuscle Releases Markie, a Local Marketing Virtual Assistant

The classic SMB marketing problem is that SMBs simply do not have the staff or time required to coordinate sophisticated digital marketing campaigns. BrandMuscle is stepping in to solve the problem with Markie, a local marketing virtual assistant that analyzes opportunities and points operators toward ideal next steps.

I connected with Sarah Hennessy, senior director of product management at BrandMuscle, to discuss the product launch and Markie’s implications for localized marketing.

How does Markie work? How will local businesses benefit from it?

Markie uses artificial intelligence to recommend a best next course of action for local businesses. For example, Markie can analyze how many co-op funds a local partner has, what marketing works well in their area, what tactics are available in the program, and their past marketing history to provide a personalized suggestion of what marketing action to take.

Most local businesses don’t have marketing know-how, let alone a full time marketer on staff. Markie makes it easy for national brands to manage and run local marketing programs with confidence, and through simple channels, like SMS text.

Does Markie serve SMBs, franchisees/locations of larger brands, or both? How did you engineer it with either community or both in mind?

Markie is ideally designed for franchisees and locations of national brands. It was engineered with the robust marketing data provided by the national brand, in complement with BrandMuscle’s extensive expertise in marketing execution. We understand very clearly from our State of Local Marketing research that local partners want ‘do-it-for-me’ marketing options that require minimal effort.

Any big names using the technology yet? What sort of businesses are using it or do you anticipate will use it?

Many brands using the BrandMuscle platform are excited to see how Markie can increase local program participation, local partner satisfaction, and revenue. We’re confident the largest impact will be for small to medium sized businesses with slimmer margins and employees and resources that are spread thin.

How does Markie fit into the broader growth of localized digital marketing?

Local businesses must become savvy digital marketers in order to compete with ecommerce giants, and Markie makes localized digital marketing more accessible. It all goes back to the ease of participation and breaking down familiarity barriers.

Just because local partners know how to place a print ad doesn’t mean it’s the best course of action. If a local business can trust that BrandMuscle, the national brand, and Markie are all backing certain digital tactics, and the execution is done for them, they’ll be more willing to invest and see return on that investment.

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Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Joe is an ad/martech veteran who has covered the space since 2015 and regularly consults with companies in the space on content and communications. You can contact him at jzappa@streetfightmag.com.