A Chicago-based digital marketing agency has formed a research-based collaboration with the Altimeter Group to advance its understanding of local marketing.
G/O Digital, the umbrella brand for Gannett Company's digital marketing services, announced the relationship with San Francisco-based Altimeter today.
"For brands and retailers, connecting digital and physical is tough. With the Altimeter relationship we’re taking on the weighty challenge of understanding how brands think about content and digital assets to drive local store traffic and sales," Jeff Fagel, CMO of G/O Digital, told CMSWire.
Fagel said the arrangement includes a joint research study, which will rely on surveys and interviews with senior brand marketers to assess gaps between the perceptions and realities of local content and digital marketing tactics. The study is scheduled to start in the second quarter this year.
"The idea of local marketing has been elusive, but it seems that local stores and physical retail is a differentiator for folks against pure plays threats like Amazon," he continued. "Today’s consumer is different, but in many ways, the same. About 90 percent of the time, she still shops within three to five miles of her home."
Gannett's Digital Arm
Gannett launched G/O Digital in August 2013 as a one-stop shop for advertisers seeking localized, targeted solutions. G/O Digital boasts that it helps businesses, "big and small to #WinLocal" by connecting "advertisers to national audiences with local precision."
Its goal is redefining the way retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands think about and execute local marketing, Fagel said. In addition to G/O Digital for Local Marketing, G/O's umbrella includes several other companies. The integrated suite of local and national digital solutions includes:
- Shoplocal, a real time localization engine that syndicates local content across platforms
- BLiNQ, a proprietary platform that optimizes social media planning and audience targeting
- Key Ring, a mobile shopping app designed to attain, retain and reward customers
Altimeter describes itself as a research and consulting firm that helps companies understand – and act on – digital disruption.
Its objective is to provide independent research and advisory services that can help companies capitalize on new opportunities and business models.
What does Altimeter have to say about local marketing? Plenty, according to Altimeter Industry Analyst Rebecca Lieb.
Lieb noted that Altimeter is specifically interested in researching the potential roles customer loyalty and brick-and-mortar play in the overall success of retail and CPG marketers’ advertising campaigns.
“It could be the case that some retail and CPG brands are making tradeoffs between traditional and digital media as they attempt to induce customers to act at any given moment along their buying journey. The rationale and value of those tradeoffs alone is a key focus area within our upcoming research,” she noted.
To effectively deliver local brand stories and personalized experiences, Lieb suggests marketers:
- Programmatically scale and target your existing content to serve local versions of offers that move shoppers from their screens back into store fronts
- Make content viewable across any device so consumers see and engage with your offers in their preferred shopping environments
Altimeter and G/O Digital will share their research. They are already planning a joint webinar and a speaking engagement at one of the adtech industry’s conferences this year.
In addition to Altimeter, G/O Digital is forming a relationship with the New York City-based Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). The IAB is a nonprofit industry group that develops standards, conducts research and provides legal support for the online advertising industry.
G/O Digital will be working with the IAB's Local Committee to explore challenges brand marketers face in activating local marketing. In addition, it hopes to strengthen its focus on mobile marketing by joining the organization’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence (MMCoE).
Joe Laszlo, senior director of the IAB's MMCoE, recommends marketers cash in on mobile and social adoption by:
- Offer immediate value to consumers by localizing content and helping them connect to the wants and needs they have now
- Look at how consumers are interacting with existing marketing experiences and solve for their concerns and challenges
To kick off the new relationships, G/O Digital released an e-book. The publication, “5 Trends Redefining Local Marketing,” features insights from retail, marketing and content experts including Lieb, Laszlo, John Gregory, a retail business development consultant, Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, and Greg Sterling, VP of Strategy and Insights at the Local Search Association.
The publication centers on five trends:
- Content can tell local stories that traditional media can’t
- CMOs are morphing into customer experience officers
- Mobile and social can trigger offline sales
- Personalization maximizes the impact of digital video
- Local is more than a geographic location
"There is $4.9 trillion in retail sales up for grabs in 2015," the ebook states. "And you don’t have to blow your budget on a flashy Super Bowl ad that’s over in 30 seconds to make a lasting impression and convert viewers into buyers."
What's the key to capturing those dollars? Local marketing — and the ability of marketers "to shed their presumptions of what they believe local marketing is."
Title image by Noreen Seebacher.