Published on October 23, 2014
1. Brands Need to Manage Their Digital Place Identity Harnessing the Power of Your Brand’s Most Valuable Asset WHITE PAPER
2. Brands Need to Manage Their Digital Place Identity WHITE PAPER 2 Table of Contents The Rise of Mobile 2 Lost Opportunities 3 Why Digital Place Identity Matters 3 Overcoming Common Challenges 5 Critical Crossroads 5 Local Impact: Greater Customer Satisfaction, Information Accuracy, and Revenues 6 Corporate Impact: Operational and Marketing Savings 8 Strategies for Creating a Successful Digital Place Identity 9 The rise of mobile communications and social media has profoundly changed how people and brands connect and engage with one another, significantly impacting the way consumers make decisions about what, when, and where to buy. Consumers now seek out businesses online, pinpoint their location on digital maps, and decide where to go based on what they find out about the business through social media. Given the diversity of social-mobile platforms, this information may reside in any number of places. Reviews, photos, store hours, directions, contact details, and other content associated with each business location are spread across Facebook, Google, Foursquare, Yelp, and a growing number of other platforms. Additionally, data about sales, competitors, and demographics can be tied to each place of business. Together this content and data forms a unique digital identity for each physical place of business. We call this the Digital Place Identity (DPI), and any brand can harness it. Quite possibly it is the most valuable asset a business can own in the new social-mobile era. THE RISE OF MOBILE Marketers have been waiting for the mobile opportunity to fully materialize for more than a decade — and that time is now here. 2013 was a key turning point for mobile adoption, the year when more than half (58%) of all adult Americans owned smart-phones. By 2017, analysts estimate that percentage will grow to 86%.1 The pervasiveness of smartphones and other mobile devices has dramatically changed the habits and expectations of consumers when they search for, discover, and interact with local businesses. Currently nearly half of all adults in the U.S. access real-time, location-based information with their devices,2 relying on this information not only to get directions to a business, but also find links to relevant and local online content. Consumers have eagerly embraced the mobile-social paradigm, with an estimated 30% of social media users owning at least one account that shares their physical location while posting content. And it is now estimated that some 15 million consumers — representing about 42% of all social media users — engage with their favorite brands through social media, including posting to local Facebook or Google+ pages, writing reviews on Yelp, sharing photos shared via Instagram, and much more. The increasing influence of mobile platforms and consumer-generated content is now changing the way brands equip and manage their local brick-and-mortar businesses. In short, social-mobile has raised the bar for brands when it comes to communicating to consumers with relevance, authenticity, and clarity. 1 Pew Research Center, 2014. 2 Pew Research Center, 2014. National Restaurant Brand Increases Sales by 15% This chain of more than 100 restaurants across the U.S. launched a major effort to optimize and synchronize its Digital Place Identity companywide, powered by MomentFeed’s localized marketing platform. The effort involved fixing inaccuracies in its local listings, eliminating duplicate pages, and actively curating content across social media channels such as Facebook, Foursquare, and Google+. As a result, the brand experienced a 15% increase in year-over-year sales.
3. Brands Need to Manage Their Digital Place Identity WHITE PAPER 3 LOST OPPORTUNITIES A key finding of our research is that a majority of brands are missing out on chances to benefit from these crucial social-mobile interactions. According to Pew Research Center (2013), although 60% to 65% of brands are aware of engaging with customers over social media, only a small fraction of these companies actually track local, place-based feedback. Reversing this situation could open up profitable business opportunities for brands. In fact, research shows that companies that develop a fully integrated digital and physical presence can attract customers who generate 20% to 60% more value3. Today, consumers enjoy an array of digital options when it comes to accessing information about their favorite brands. Online aggregators like Yelp, OpenTable, and Google support a shopper’s journey with recommendations based on consumer-generated reviews and content. These sites now serve as indispensable tools for consumers searching for local retail outlets, restaurant reservations, and marketing offers. And for corporate marketers, these platforms have become a valuable way to track customer-buying patterns. Social platforms like Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram, and Google+ enable consumers to become advocates for their favorite shops and eateries, share their experiences, or simply feel connected to their favorite hangouts. With an estimated 80% of retail sales coming from within a 14-minute drive of a store,4 focusing on local customers makes sense. National brands that learn to deploy modern digital marketing capabilities to strengthen local relationships will be strategically positioned to succeed in this new era. WHY DIGITAL PLACE IDENTITY MATTERS A business’s Digital Place Identity includes all the information and content that defines the community surrounding a particular location — and it is unique for every place of business. These identities evolve as new information becomes available and fresh content is created, so it is imperative for companies to manage their digital place identities on an ongoing basis to effectively represent the brand and its physical locations. 3 The Direct Marketing Association, 2010. 4 Moosylvania, 2013; http://digby.com/mobile-statistics/. Old Spaghetti Factory Generates 30x ROI with Local Facebook Content This popular national restaurant chain conducted a pilot test of local Facebook content powered by MomentFeed’s localized marketing platform and found significant improvements compared to a control group. Results included: • 650,000 unique local customers reached • 7,200 net gain in transactions vs. the control group • 7.1% net increase in revenue vs. the control group • 30x ROI “Location-based applications are extremely interesting for brands and retailers in that they allow those companies to direct consumers to outlets in their vicinity while simultaneously providing information about the products on offer.” – Juniper Research Figure 1. 86% of Brands Don’t Track Local Feedback 86%
4. Brands Need to Manage Their Digital Place Identity WHITE PAPER 4 In the social-mobile era, it’s not uncommon for consumers to connect to a brand’s Digital Place Identity before they even visit a physical location. These initial connections happen when consumers search for a brand (or brand category) using social-mobile platforms and applications. The quality and consistency of a brand’s local listing information — including geocode data5 and page content — can have a big impact on the consumers’ ability to find, and choose to visit, the actual brick-and-mortar storefront, office, bar, or restaurant. When local listings are incomplete or inaccurate, it can result in suboptimal search-engine results — and potentially less store traffic. For the best local SEO performance, brands need to maintain their local listings on a continuous basis and keep this information fresh and in sync across a range of social channels. In addition, brands can further enhance their organic local SEO by pro-actively managing local page content. That means not only ensuring data accuracy and recency, but also publishing fresh content out to local pages, “curating” the pages by monitoring social media activity, and responding to consumer reviews and comments at the local level. Maximizing organic reach at the local-page level is crucial because this is where consumer engagement is most likely to be translated into foot traffic and sales. Compared to corporate-level Facebook pages, for example, local Facebook pages reach five times more fans, achieve eight-times higher engagement levels, and generate 40 times more overall impact.6 In a world where organic reach is declining by nearly 50% in the last year according to research conducted by Ogilvy & Mather7, it is no longer a “nice to have” but a necessity to focus on enriching consumer engagement at the local-page level in order to maintain reach and scale. Figure 2. The Digital Place Identity National Restaurant Chain Increases Digital Reach by 375% in 3 Months with Local Facebook Content This famous maker of gourmet bread and quality food products operates 31 locations across California. The company created a local-social campaign to test the impact of its digital place identity, powered by MomentFeed. Results after three months included: • 319% increase in check-ins • 381% increase in impressions • 375% increase in reach 5 Geocodes are geographic coordinates (often expressed as latitude and longitude) such as street addresses, or ZIP codes (postal codes) that can be mapped and entered into Geographic Information Systems. 6 MomentFeed, 2014. 7 Ogilvy & Mather, “Facebook Zero: Considering life after the demise of organic reach”, 2014. “We would get calls from customers that they were being routed to the wrong location and were unable to find our stores. People reported being led to a woman’s driveway instead of to an actual store.” – Search Marketing Manager, Big Box Retailer Metadata • Name • Address • Phone • Geocode (latitude/ longitude) • Hours Local Pages • Facebook • Foursquare • Google+ • Google Places • Yelp • Local landing pages • Mobile application Proprietary Data • Visits • Repeat visits • Sales • Basket size Audience • Consumers that live around the location Content • Photos • Ratings • Reviews • Posts • Place Tags • Tweets • Hashtags Context • Demographics • Neighborhood • Competitors • Weather • Events • Traffic i
5. Brands Need to Manage Their Digital Place Identity WHITE PAPER 5 OVERCOMING COMMON CHALLENGES To establish an effective local digital presence, brands will need to increase their social-mobile investments and pay closer attention to customer feedback across social channels. One of the biggest challenges is dealing with inaccurate geo-data associated with a brand’s physical sites. These inaccuracies are often the result of using unreliable third-party-generated geocodes. In fact, research shows that more than half of national brands are plagued with inaccurate geocodes for at least some of their locations.8 These inaccuracies reduce the “discoverability” of a business, increase negative word of mouth in social media, and ultimately impact revenue. It’s incumbent on brands to ensure that social-mobile platforms accurately reflect the most basic details about their local places of business, including their physical location, hours of business, and phone numbers. Another challenge is managing the proliferation of duplicate local social media pages. These are “unofficial” pages (not claimed or managed by the brand) that are typically created by consumers as a way to fill in informational holes when brand-supported content is unavailable. Duplicate pages are increasingly common on social media. It is estimated that 40% of national brands have unauthorized duplicates of their locations on Facebook and Foursquare.9 All too often these derivative sites provide incorrect or outdated information about business location, hours of operation, and the like. Moreover they can tarnish brands with unappealing images, low-resolution logos, or poor photos of an unkempt storefront. Finally, brands struggle to mobilize sufficient resources to manage content on the hundreds or even thousands of digital identities across national and global markets. Not infrequently the burden of maintaining a consistent and attractive social media presence can stretch marketing departments to their limit. CRITICAL CROSSROADS How well marketers confront the challenges and opportunities of the social-mobile era will make a big difference in their future success. With almost 60% of Facebook’s first-quarter 2014 advertising revenue coming from mobile platforms — up from just 30% in the year-earlier period — it is clear that the pace of mobile interactions is accelerating quickly. To make the most of their social-mobile relationships with customers, brands will need to take a more proactive approach to managing the Digital Place Identity of each of their business locations. Our research found that brands who implemented a modern Digital Place Identity solution were able to dramatically increase customer engagement, enhance consumer percep- 8 Based on a 2013 MomentFeed study of 100,000 leading U.S. brand locations. 9 Research by MomentFeed, 2013. Digital Place Identity (DPI) Makes a Difference • First impressions count. Consumers interact with your DPI before visiting your brick-and- mortar location. • People want to contribute. DPI facilitates a new channel to solicit your best customers to build your brand. • Everybody belongs to a community. DPI ensures your digital community presents a personalized experience for new and prospective customers. • Relevance and authenticity is the new standard. DPI sets the foundation for consistent and compelling content that will encourage return visits.
6. Brands Need to Manage Their Digital Place Identity WHITE PAPER 6 tions of their brand, and drive sales at branch locations. The brands we studied leveraged solutions from MomentFeed that allowed them to manage and optimize their local digital identities at scale. To get a better understanding of how businesses create and manage their Digital Place Identities, we interviewed management from several leading brands, including prominent big-box retailers and national restaurant chains that had partnered with MomentFeed. We looked at how these brands optimized their Digital Place Identities to generate significant business results, and examined how they automated DPI processes to improve the financial returns on their localized marketing programs.. Our principal finding is this: Brands that had invested in the people, processes, and technologies to create, optimize, and actively manage this new marketing asset are realizing significant and measurable business benefits. Among the most valuable of these benefits are: • Higher levels of customer engagement and satisfaction that drive greater sales • Improved relationships between the corporation and its individual local places of business • Significant operating efficiencies, including productivity savings and automation-driven cost reductions In the following sections, we dig deeper into these impacts, first at the local-business level and secondly at the corporate level. LOCAL IMPACT: GREATER CUSTOMER SATISFACTION, INFORMATION ACCURACY, AND REVENUES For the local businesses we studied (primarily restaurants and retailers), creating accurate and compelling Digital Place Identities consistently produced positive, measurable results (See Figure 3 — Local Impacts). The most significant outcomes were: • Increased accuracy of the information being disseminated about the establishment • Better customer experiences at the neighborhood establishment • Improved financial performance After implementing more accurate digital geocoding by leveraging MomentFeed’s PinSync solution, for example, these businesses saw a sharp increase in the number of customers relying on self-service directions (such as smartphone mapping apps) to visit their location. These same businesses reported fewer customers getting lost and calling in for directions. Businesses also benefited from implementing more active management and curating of their local pages with MomentFeed’s LocalVoice solution. Customers consistently gave higher marks to local establishments with accurate and appealing social media presences. Not surprisingly, businesses that actively managed and optimized their Digital Place Identity saw customers spreading the word about their establishments more often, and more widely, across networks like Facebook and Foursquare. MomentFeed’s Platform: • PinSync — Optimizes the management of location data across platforms and locations. • LocalVoice — Provides CRM, publishing and campaign management tools to drive customer engagement across platforms and locations. • Business Intelligence — Measures the impact of your local marketing programs to optimize future activities.
7. Brands Need to Manage Their Digital Place Identity WHITE PAPER 7 Improving information accuracy (such as geocodes, phone numbers, hours of operation) combined with eliminating poor or inconsistent brand images also helped to elevate the business’s reputation, as evidenced by an increase in positive social media chatter — and a decrease in negative comments. Perhaps most significantly, those businesses investing in an enhanced Digital Place Identity reported a measurable increase in foot traffic and a consequent lift in sales. Following are two examples of how local businesses were impacted after improving their digital place identities with MomentFeed’s platform: • Restaurant Chain Cleans Up Digital Identity. After discovering that up to half of its local franchises struggled with inaccurate data on their social media pages, a well-known national restaurant brand implemented MomentFeed’s PinSync solution. Inaccuracies of all types (location data, contact information, etc.) disappeared immediately. At the same time, the restaurant chain efficiently phased out hundreds of unapproved duplicate pages. “We had complaints from franchisees,” said the company’s social media and marketing manager. “Customers would say ‘I tried to find you, and can’t find you’ or ‘your hours and phone numbers are wrong.’ That all went away once we implemented a program to improve our digital identity.” • Engagement Takes Off at DPI-Enabled Restaurant. Another national restaurant brand noticed improvements shortly after deploying MomentFeed’s localized marketing platform. Most significantly, the company saw a huge boost in the level of engagement with customers on social media. This was due in large measure to MomentFeed’s platform, which ensured all local pages were claimed, enabling customers to publish photos to the local restaurant’s Facebook page with ease. The combination of locally published brand content and authentic customer photos contributed to a 71% increase in engagement (including “likes,” posts, and photos) in just three months. Figure 3. The ROI of Optimizing a Brand’s Digital Place Identity National Restaurant Brand Takes a Bite Out of Inaccuracies A national restaurant brand partnered with MomentFeed to institute a digital identity program that would continuously correct store addresses and phone numbers and facilitate management and monitoring of local pages. MomentFeed also helped the brand promote, automate, and monitor the engagement process on its local pages. Results included: • Increased sales by 15% after implementing the program • Increased Facebook local engagement by 79% • Eliminated location data errors found at 35% to 50% of its chain stores • Reduced duplicate pages across social platforms by up to 235% Customer Experience LOCAL IMPACTS Percentage of customers using self-service location directions Digital presence customer satisfaction metric Increased customer engagement in digital specs Digital Presence Improved ratio of company-sponsored to non-sponsored pages Physical Presence Percentage increase in foot traffic Revenue lift CORPORATE IMPACTS Location data management efficiency Digital marketing and social content efficiency Marketing spend efficiency Reduced online ads expense Increased sales Increased likes, +1s and engagement across social media Improved satisfaction ratings Improved discoverability leading to more fans Operational Savings Marketing Savings Key Performance Indicators Percentage of local data accuracy Improved ratio of positive to negative word of mouth
8. Brands Need to Manage Their Digital Place Identity WHITE PAPER 8 CORPORATE IMPACT: OPERATIONAL AND MARKETING SAVINGS Brands also saw a range of benefits at the corporate level from adopting MomentFeed’s localized marketing platform. Benefits included both operational savings and marketing savings (See Figure 3 – Corporate Impacts). Corporate marketing departments can be easily overwhelmed by the task of managing the online presence of hundreds to thousands of local branches and franchises. Plus, ensuring accurate digital place identities for every outlet can be an expensive undertaking. It is no surprise, then, that many brands postpone implementing this critical capability, and often fail to keep their local identities current over time. The companies we studied successfully cleared this hurdle by adopting MomentFeed’s Digital Place Identity platform. These localized marketing solutions enabled companies to create and proactively manage hundreds of local digital identities with a relatively small team of marketing managers (often less than 3-5 employees in the companies studied). In addition, by driving more traffic to its stores with the help of enhanced local digital identities, these companies said they expect to be able to moderate spending on online advertising. Benefits to corporate marketing operations are illustrated in the following examples from our research. • Retailer Minimizes Geocode Maintenance. After adopting MomentFeed’s localized marketing platform, a nationally recognized big box retailer significantly reduced the manual work involved in maintaining local-store geocodes by about 30%. This gave employees extra time to focus on creating new digital marketing programs. In addition, the retailer was able to reduce the time needed to develop and publish local digital content by 50%. • $300K Advertising Savings. Another national retailer estimated that the boost in engagement and revenue from creating a better Digital Place Identity allowed it to scale back on Facebook advertising, saving about $300,000 per year. Other retailers reported similar savings from avoiding costly purchases of social media advertising to drive traffic. Although precise financial impacts can be hard to measure, the leading retailers we studied cited rapid payback and returns of five to seven times their original investment in a Digital Place Identity platform. Returns were estimated by measuring the incremental growth in store sales after launching digital identity programs, and comparing the increase to DPI investment costs. Big Box Retailer Generates Fans, Followers, and Marketing Magic A big box retailer developed several goals for its digital identity program before launch. Partnering with MomentFeed, the company was able to surpass its own lofty ambitions. Goals included: • Improve its local search-engine optimization (SEO) relevance • Clean up and better manage local content • Simplify the management of social content for non-tech users • Measure the impact of the digital identity • Demonstrate the value of internally driven traffic versus online ad traffic Results included: • Increased Facebook impressions by 334% • Increased Facebook fans by 60% in only three months • Increased Facebook followers by 3.5 million • Increased marketing productivity by 30% to 50% • Improved SEO rankings by 10%
9. Brands Need to Manage Their Digital Place Identity WHITE PAPER 9 STRATEGIES FOR CREATING A SUCCESSFUL DIGITAL PLACE IDENTITY In order to meet the increasing demands of customers, brands need to upgrade and modernize their local digital presence. As we mentioned above, developing a sound Digital Place Identity capability requires mobilizing three categories of resources: people, process, and technology. • People. Retailers today run on lean margins, which means that “staffing up” is rarely an option. Consequently, retailers should take a close look at Digital Place Identity solutions as a way to modernize their local social-mobile presence without ramping up staff. Relieved of manual chores — such as keeping geocodes and other data up to date — employees can focus on value-added tasks such as creating compelling local content and building other capabilities to drive local foot traffic and sales. • Process. Effective coordination between the corporate office and local branches is critical for business success. By allowing for greater collaboration between corporate and local managers, localized marketing programs can amplify the brand as a whole and deliver a more compelling customer experience at the local level. These solutions also ensure the regular cleansing of outdated and inaccurate content along with unauthorized duplicate social media pages, including “faux social sites” meant to harm a brand. Automated processes also correct for geocode “drift,” keeping a store’s latitude-longitude information accurate over time. • Technology. MomentFeed’s localized marketing platform was shown to promote effective communication between corporate brands and local stores. These solutions can automate the data-cleansing and content-publishing process for corporate and local managers and make it easier to interact with their customers, especially via posts, ads, and photos over mobile platforms. Finally, by leveraging MomentFeed’s business intelligence solution, retailers can measure the operational and marketing success of their digital identity program using relevant metrics. In summary, we believe brands now have a major opportunity for amplifying and enriching their brand at the local level while controlling costs at the corporate level. By adopting MomentFeed’s Digital Place Identity tools and technologies, brands were able to cost-effectively respond to consumers’ growing social-mobile sophistication, ensuring that the information about their local businesses is accurate and compelling. As the traditional dynamics of the retail industry shift, national brands can strengthen their image and customer relationships by building strong, localized digital identities that tell the consumer what they need to know, when they need to know it. “We had complaints from franchisees [prior to investing in a digital identity program] such as ‘I tried to find you, and can’t find you,’ or ‘your hours and phone numbers are wrong.’ That has all gone away once we implemented our program.” – Social Media and Marketing Manager, Major Restaurant Brand
10. Sponsored by: Copyright © 2014 Mainstay. Mainstay www.mainstaycompany.com 764 Valderrama Ct. Castle Rock, CO 80108 p. 650.638.0575 f. 800.638.0526 ABOUT MOMENTFEED MomentFeed connects brands and consumers at the local level. Brands such as 7-Eleven, JCPenney, and The Home Depot utilize MomentFeed’s digital marketing platform to capture local audiences, engage with consumers in authentic and locally relevant ways, and measure performance down to the point of sale. MomentFeed is the leading solution for brand managers to engage local communities on a national scale for the purpose of driving business results. MomentFeed was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Santa Monica, California. For more information, visit http://www.momentfeed.com. ABOUT MAINSTAY Research and analysis for this study was conducted by Mainstay, an independent consulting firm that has performed over 500 studies for leading information technology providers including Cisco, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, Salesforce, Lexmark, HP, EMC, and NetApp. This case study was based on interviews with companies currently using MomentFeed’s Digital Place Identity solution. Information contained in the publication has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but is not warranted by Mainstay.
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