David A Kaplan on Content Marketing, Privacy and more! (Part 2/2)

David A Kaplan on Content Marketing, Privacy and more! (Part 2/2)

We invited David A. Kaplan, Managing Editor of GeoMarketing.com, to share the benefit of his 20-year experience and deep expertise in the world of digital marketing and advertising. Since he was happy to abide, read below as he shares his insights on changes in content marketing, how location-based data meshes with consumer privacy, and what are the keys to more success for companies serving SMBs! Enjoy!


From both journalist’s perspective and having worked with video in an editorial capacity on AdExchanger, what do you think are some effective trends in content marketing?


The focus on the “content” first and the “marketing” second is still a truism of the practice, and the classic journalism rule of “show, don’t tell” is something content marketers seem to understand more and more. For the content to work – even in video – it doesn’t require significant production values to resonate with an audience. A good editor who knows what to leave in and what to take out, is essential to a strong content marketing program. Companies have also become more patient and deliberative with their content output – quality information is more durable and longer lasting, while if you have a single message to share, less can often truly be more.


Do you see a dominant theme emerging in customer experience practices over the next 3-5 years? What role does location-based marketing play in these customer experience practices?


Target’s “Open House”, an omnichannel retail showcase in San Francisco, is a pretty good example of what we’ll see brick-and-mortar locations adopt. With it, they created a showcase for both consumers and the brands who populate its shelves – the basic idea being to prove the relevance and adaptability of physical stores. This took a page from Apple’s retail concept, which is to emphasize what makes a place worth going to: the tactile quality of experiencing something new, the surprise of which can’t be done through digital alone. Banks, auto dealerships and more have already begun to realize that amenities like wi-fi access are crucial to integrating their digital and in-store experiences, while the use of apps as “personal assistants” also help consumers navigate aisles and give them the shortest path to the product they want, before they even enter a store.


What would you say to local businesses that think consumers will be unwilling to share their location data because of privacy concerns?


The first step is establishing transparency in how consumers share their data with marketers, and then that relationship can be continued with shared rewards. If this atmosphere can be created, consumers begin to trust that sharing data with businesses ultimately offers them more and more benefits. This concept is also of particular value in a time when consumers fast-forward the commercials on their DVRs and rarely, if ever, click banner ads. The rise of social media, as well as mobile ad-blocking, has made advertising that interrupts consumers essentially worthless and futile. Great advertising serves to provide useful information to consumers, when and how they want it, and targeting consumers based on their shopping and location preferences is the ideal way to send the right message to the right consumer at the right time.


When I complained about an ad his agency produced, a creative director once told me: “Well, that ad wasn’t meant for you.” He may have been right about that, but if it wasn’t meant for me, why did I end up seeing it? With effective geomarketing, that wasted investment is a thing of the past – businesses don’t need to target the masses in hoping to reach a small audience within them, and consumers don’t need their time wasted by advertising they don’t care about. Ultimately, that’s the benefit of sharing location data that both consumers and businesses love: it allows people to be targeted with content that interests them, whether it be a shareable video or a new rewards program, while businesses can drive sales – a fitting definition of a fair exchange.


Over the course of your career, of the companies that you’ve covered that successfully serve SMBs, what characteristics do you believe have defined their success?


The ability to balance and adapt, while remaining true to their core identity, appears to be a clear element of success for any brand. This is considerably more true when it comes to serving the diverse array of businesses among SMBs. Sharon Rowlands, the CEO of ReachLocal, has offered a cautionary tale for businesses in the space. Sharon is a brilliant executive and confronted by a great challenge, and her turnaround plan is as smart and solid as anyone else’s could be.


About eight years ago, ReachLocal built a strong franchise in digital search by basing its search optimization methods on “real leads, not clicks.” Over time, growth in search slowed. The business model needed to move on while competitors also moved into the space. ReachLocal began expanding more widely from its core markets and services, and since it proved costly to maintain strong relationships with existing customers, attention and resources were instead focused on capturing growth and quick profits. ReachLocal’s attempts to differentiate itself ended up muddling its identity and confusing its customers, so in serving SMBs, service comes first. From there, a focus is always required on your core business, while also educating customers on how you’re advancing your tools to solve their problems as they evolve.


Your twitter profile picture is pretty awesome – is that a raucous wedding or a story you’d rather not tell?


How did you guess it was a wedding? When I first joined Twitter in the spring of 2008, it was a small community, and it was pretty much anything goes — within reason of course! In addition to it being one of the few photos I had that fit the box well, most of your followers on twitter would mainly be strangers, so you could put whatever crazy face you wanted forward. When I tried to change it to something more “professional”, it sparked a huge outcry, so by popular demand I changed it back! I’m not a big smoker and was more just mugging for the camera, but I think it harkens back to the idea of a fast-running, smoke-filled newsroom, and even though it may be unconventional, that’s the sort of energy I try to bring to my work every day, even though when I first used the picture in 2008 I had a much more mercurial view of social media identity than we do today!
We would like to offer our sincerest thanks to Mr. Kaplan for gracing us with an interview. If you like what you’ve read and want to see more, head over to www.geomarketing.com to get fresh insights daily on the still-undiscovered country that is Location-Based Marketing from David and his fine contributors. Be sure to follow @davidaKaplan on Twitter as well. All the best!

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