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Brands Need To Take Control Of Their Location Data

The promise and problems of “Big Data” has been clear for years. But the issue of how local brands can take control of their information continues to be murky.

WhereToGetIt's Manish Patel
WhereToGetIt’s Manish Patel

Local business from enterprises with thousands of franchises down to small-to-medium sized independent businesses need to take charge of their location data, says Manish Patel, CEO/founder of WhereToGetIt, a provider local digital marketing services through its Brandify platform.

The impact of consumers’ embrace of a “check-in culture” encouraged by the near-ubiquity of smartphones underlies Patel’s point in Why Small Data Is a Big Deal [registration required], WhereToGetIt’s study of the connection between mobility and the path-to-purchase for physical retailers.

Some of the report’s topline findings:

  • 50 percent of smartphone searches visit a business that same day
  • 80 percent of people use their smartphone to look up local information
  • 1-in-3 smartphone searches occur right before consumers visit a store
  • Consumers are 22 percent more likely to consider a brand as a result of real-time marketing.

While brands and publishers have grasped the need to be “Mobile First” with their marketing and media programs, when it comes to putting that principle into action in a strategic way, the ability to transform “Big Data” into something actionable is where a lot of retailers get stymied. In Patel’s view, the answer is in taking control of “small data.”

GeoMarketing: How do you define “small data?”

We are defining small data as timely, organized (i.e., structured), and meaningful insights. Small data is all around us and it allows those of us who are not top-notch data scientists to understand relationships allowing us to make responsible and smart actions everyday.

Small data can be found across search and social media — check-ins, posts, keywords, driving directions — all these data points are rich and once collected can give marketers great insight about a consumers path to purchase. Small data also refers to digestible pieces of information that  brands must make sure to optimize if they want to get found by customers. In local search, this mainly refers to NAP information, hours and any localized information that helps differentiate your brick and mortar locations locally.

phone-satelWhat kind of brands do you have in mind in this study: are we talking about SMBs or enterprises that have local franchises as well?

Whether you are a business with a single location or thousands, we are addressing you. Local, we believe, gives everyone an even playing filed. Without understanding the ecosystem, you will get lost in translation. Worse, you will get lost in trying to decipher ‘big data’, when in fact the game can be won with small data.

Small data can be transformative for an organization regardless of the structure or hierarchy (i.e., an SMB, enterprise or franchise) due to its digestible and insightful qualities. Case in point: Using Brandify, a major retail brand, said, “It [Brandify] leads a change in behavior and culture, changing the way [the brand] does business.”

Why has the idea of the check-in evolved in terms of importance to brands? Is it because it’s the ultimate opt-in from consumers, asking for more information when they’re in a local business?

The check-in, for businesses, has evolved from a “gamified” action to a legitimate online to offline connector. This is why the check-in is so important, we can track driving directions to a location (i.e., intent) and track the number of check-ins that are occurring at that same location.

As check-ins increase as do the volume of driving directions. There is a relationship between these two variables that is undeniable and we hope that as more technology enters the local ecosystem these online to offline connectors become more visible and accessible.

6-StoreBubbleYour report finds that “consumers are 22 percent more likely to consider a brand as a result of real-time marketing.” What sort of marketing tends to be most effective in real-time, particularly for brands in the local marketplace?

Real-time communication is actually the type of marketing that is effective, coupled with localization and relevancy of message. It is those latter qualities that belong in a digital marketing campaign, those are the building blocks to then position coupons or reward programs. Adoption, or penetration of a campaign, happens because of localization, relevancy and real-time marketing.

If you want a specific campaign that works best though, it can depend on the vertical. Local-social campaigns are a very effective way to communicate in real-time with consumers and catch them before or after they jump out of your path to purchase. For example a review management across major review site: costumers will tell you exactly why they hate or love you, those clients of ours who are listening and acting are seeing major shifts in the way they do business internally and externally.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.