Location-Based Search Disrupts Brand-Centric Theory of Marketing

Building a brand will never stop being essential for companies with brick-and-mortar locations hoping to secure the dollars of nearby consumers. But a new report from location marketing firm Uberall suggests the rise of location-based or “near me” search is undermining the power of branding alone, increasing the importance of optimizing for searches in which consumers are simply looking for the closest, most convenient option while on the go.

How Brick-and-Mortars Move Forward

The coronavirus pandemic has transformed brick-and-mortar business, possibly forever. Peter Paine, former eBay and Walmart executive and now head of retail partnerships in the Americas for Cover Genius, checked in with Street Fight to share the strategies physical businesses large and small should prioritize to prepare for the near- and long-term future.

Yelp Revamps its Business Control Center and Releases Other Pandemic-Adaptive Features

The announcement follows massive layoffs at the company as advertising plunged along with SMB revenue in the face of coronavirus-fueled lockdowns. But a recent Brandify survey showed Yelp remains a massive presence in the local digital marketing space: 64% of US consumers are somewhat or very likely to turn to Yelp when searching for restaurants, second only to the leader across verticals, Google.

Yelp’s new features will prove especially helpful for businesses in the months, if not years during which Covid-19 continues to affect everyday habits, but a number of the changes align with digital marketing best practices that will serve Yelp clients well beyond the next 12 months. Below is a rundown.

With Stimulus Funds Delayed, Small Businesses Digitize for Survival

Experts at helping SMBs adapt to a tech-first commercial landscape say the pandemic has led some businesses to tap into their long-dormant potential as digital marketers and sellers, possibly setting them up for gains in the aftermath of the recession. Now that e-commerce is the only path to survival, mom-and-pop shops, aided by martech firms, agencies, and Silicon Valley giants, are capitalizing on cutting-edge marketing and retail techniques, many for the first time.

Thousands, if not millions, of Main Street businesses will close their doors for good as a result of the pandemic. Those that survive will be technologically savvier and sleeker than they were before.

Ad Tech Execs Weigh in on Coronavirus Ads, Google and Twitter, and Misinformation

I turned to a number of ad tech execs for their expert perspectives on the risks and rewards of digital advertising on this extraordinarily high-stakes issue. While expectedly optimistic about the benefits of coronavirus-related messaging for savvy brands, the business leaders diverged on the responsibility and capability of Google and Twitter to monitor the veracity of the content they host. They also made distinct cases for advertising at a time when brand messaging requires extra sensitivity, arguing that both brands and their customers have something to gain if businesses provide accurate information, focus on customers’ needs, and showcase the ways they are adapting in a time of crisis.

PlaceIQ Buys Freckle IoT, Marking Second Instance of Location Consolidation in 2 Days

Location intelligence firm PlaceIQ bought fellow location data and measurement company Freckle IoT. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The move comes just a day after the bombshell announcement that location leader Foursquare was merging with location data firm Factual. Speculation that the Foursquare-Factual merger could portend additional consolidation in the location data-driven marketing and insights industry came to fruition quicker than analysts could have predicted.

Foursquare Merges with Factual, Forming Location Intelligence Powerhouse

Location intelligence firm Foursquare is merging with location data firm Factual, the companies announced today. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Factual founder Gil Elbaz will join Foursquare’s executive team and board of directors.

The deal pairs Foursquare’s best-in-class location-based attribution technology and developer tools with Factual’s top-notch audience segments, Foursquare CEO David Shim told the Wall Street Journal. Industry insiders say the move may portend additional consolidation during the COVID-19-fueled economic downturn and positions Foursquare as an even stronger leader in the space.

Making Sense of the Crowded Customer Data Market

In the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, Europe’s General Data Production Regulation, and the California Consumer Privacy Act, the massive market for consumer data no longer operates unbeknownst to most Americans. But for digital marketing practitioners and the average consumer alike, making heads or tails of the industry is no easy task. 

To break down the different kinds of customer data in the market, the impact of data sharing and selling on consumers, and the potential of privacy regulations to shape the industry going forward, Anindya Datta, founder, CEO, and chairman of Mobilewalla, recently checked in with Street Fight.

How Will Influencer Marketing Survive the Covid-19 Crisis?

It is against the backdrop of an unprecedented economic downturn that marketing tech makes its pitches to clients this year. On the one hand, it is fair to say cutting-edge marketing may be as important to businesses as ever. With storefronts closed across dozens of states to promote social distancing, businesses need ways to connect with customers, and they need novel, often tech-driven tactics, like curbside pickup, to sell their goods safely. E-commerce, including mobile and social commerce, are also well-positioned to thrive at a time when customers are often left with hardly any other option. On the other hand, with revenue dramatically down for most retailers and consumers averse to in-store spending, digital tools risk being cut from squeezed budgets.

To assess how the swift economic downturn caused by the coronavirus is affecting one of digital marketing’s hottest new sectors, influencer marketing, I connected with Daniel Schotland, COO of influencer marketing company Linqia.

Coronavirus and Mobile Advertising: CPMs, Sensitivity, Geographic Comparisons

The Covid-19 crisis is a challenging time for all industries, but for mobile marketers it poses a paradoxical challenge. On the one hand, people are on their phones and engaging with media as much as ever. On the other hand, the economic downturn is putting a strain on marketing budgets, employees are working from home, and messaging during a public health crisis requires unusual sensitivity.

Brian Bowman, CEO of social marketing and user acquisition firm Customer Acquisition, provided Street Fight his takes on the current state of the mobile ad market, where it’s headed in the coming weeks, and how advertisers can approach their work with consideration for the difficulty of these times.

Google’s SameSite Update and the Third-Party Cookie-Free Future

The end of the third-party cookie forces marketers to take earning consumer consent for data collection more seriously, and it will open up new methods of data collection, some directly devised by Google and others by the many companies in its ecosystem. These new methods of data collection will aim to clarify the impact of ads and allow for pertinent advertising (or targeting) with consumers’ more clearly stated consent.

To obtain an insider’s perspective on marketing tech’s reaction to Google’s SameSite update and the industry’s path forward, I got in touch with Brian Silver, president of email marketing firm LiveIntent.

E-Commerce Booms While Hospitality, Restaurants Suffer Amid Covid-19 Concerns

Early trends in consumer coronavirus behavior indicate that the already fast-growing e-commerce sector may see an added boost over the next few months as people avoid in-door shopping to practice social distancing during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Media and marketing services firm ENGINE is conducting 1,000-person online surveys of representative samples of US consumers every few days to gauge changes in consumer sentiment and behavior as the quickly accelerating outbreak develops. The firm found that while 31% of consumers said they were increasing their online shopping in surveys conducted March 13-15 and 16-17, 42% said the same March 20-22, a 35% increase.

Womply, FundRocket Launch SMB Stimulus Program

While Congress continues to deliberate on a stimulus package that will provide as much as $400 billion in aid and loans for small businesses, tech companies that serve SMBs are stepping in to offer their own assistance packages. Among them is reputation management, CRM, and email software firm Womply, which has launched an SMB stimulus program in collaboration with its capital partner, FundRocket. 

Loyalty in the Time of “Near Me” Searches, Omnichannel, and Covid-19

In addition to the opportunities and challenges that come with an omni-channel commercial ecosystem, 2020 brings to businesses the challenge of mobile search, which leads people on the go to search for “X near me” and pick the closest possible option. The new year also brought, as hardly anyone would’ve predicted months ago, an impending recession as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
I caught up with Nicole Amsler, vice president of marketing at loyalty tech firm Formation.ai, to garner her insights on loyalty strategy this year.

Tech Companies Respond as Workers, SMBs Face Covid-19 Pressure

Google’s sister site Verily launched a site, albeit with logistical difficulties, to help Bay Area residents find testing options, and Verily isn’t the only tech company facing or alleviating coronavirus concerns. As a possible recession looms, consumer spending dips, and employees are sent home for public safety, some vendors are stepping in to help workers weather the storm. Others are boosting small businesses, hiring and increasing pay for workers, and suspending precarious services.

Amazon’s Just Walk Out Cashierless Solution Is an Antitrust Signal

It’s well established that Amazon dominates at dominating industries adjacent to retail. But that’s what makes its Just Walk Out solution more suspect. By doubling down on retail as a service, Amazon is courting enterprise customers in the very industry — brick-and-mortar retail — that its main e-commerce business gutted. The Seattle behemoth is asking firms like Walmart and Macy’s to pay it for the chance to meet the same Amazon-driven standards that put some of the retail champions of yesteryear out of business.

The Risk of Emphasizing Data Quantity Over Quality

The privacy movement heralded by January’s implementation of the California Consumer Privacy Act has shone a spotlight on the ethical issues surrounding data collection. But digital marketing insiders know that ethics is not the only issue plaguing data-driven business.

Ensuring the quality and accuracy of data is a major challenge for marketers, data brokers, and consumers. Drew Kutcharian, CTO and co-founder of audience platform DISQO, checked in with Street Fight to provide his vision of the data quality-quantity balance and how privacy legislation will affect it going forward.

Consumers Split on Personalized Ads

In the year of the California Consumer Privacy Act, the data privacy movement is ascendant, and marketers are likely more aware of consumer concerns about tracking than ever before. But a fresh survey of 993 Internet users from audience intelligence firm DISQO suggests that marketers will need to continue navigating the trade-off between providing consumers the only type of ads they widely welcome — personalized ones matched to their interests — and transparently requesting consent for the kinds of tracking that make personalized ads possible.

Influencer Marketing Moves into the Mainstream

Influencer marketing is working its way into the toolboxes of major corporations, and I’m not just talking about Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg’s meme squad. Household brands including McDonald’s, Walmart, and Anheuser-Busch have turned to Linqia to test the practice.

96% of Companies Say They’re Losing Subscribers for Fixable Reasons

Ninety-three percent of companies that rely on subscribers say retaining existing customers is as or more important than acquiring them, and 96% say they are losing subscribers for reasons they should be able to ameliorate. That makes pooling industry resources and determining means of improvement urgent, and that is the precise subject of a new report by Brightback, a customer retention software firm.