3 Examples of Local Content Innovation from Brands That Dare to Think Differently
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3 Examples of Local Content Innovation from Brands That Dare to Think Differently

We know as marketers that shifts in communications have changed how we think about customer service and engagement. Search and social are now the primary discovery platforms, and technologies like mobile devices have further changed how we use those platforms. For retailers and big brands, learning how to harness key platforms and evolving technologies is a top priority for creating truly relevant local content and customer experiences.

Cisco estimates that over $10 billion of mobile advertising money will go toward location-based initiatives by 2017. By the following year, Cisco predicts that 93 percent of phones and devices used in the United States will be smart and connected. Clearly, the result of these two events will lead to a massive amount of data available to marketers.

While the rise in big data poses a big opportunity for brands, challenges have arisen, as well. With more information on hand, the rate at which organizations must parse through insight to discover patterns increases dramatically. Enterprises can use data sources to adjust how a business operates, impacting the supply chain, marketing decisions, and product innovations, but many marketers still don’t understand how to organize big data and put it into motion for their companies.

As we look toward 2015, mobile often tops the list as the technology expected to have the biggest collective impact across the business world. In 2014, Cisco notes that nearly $10.15 billion will have been spent on mobile advertising, and $4.35 billion will have gone to location-based activities. True industry leaders have invested in processes that allow them to connect data to both online and offline practices. The best in class create seamless experiences that tell one cohesive story across platforms. Here are three examples of organizations that have meshed the online, offline, mobile, and desktop worlds well, and will continue to elevate local content marketing in 2015:

1. Domino’s

The pizza chain has a reputation for embracing new technologies and using available resources to improve the customer experience. Years ago, Domino’s worked with advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B) to develop a Pizza Tracker that shows customers the status of their order, from the moment it goes into the oven to the moment it is loaded in a car for delivery. Recently, the pizza company introduced “Dom“—a voice-ordering app that mimics Apple’s Siri technology.

Dom gives users greater control of how they order items off of Domino’s menu. People can make a carryout or delivery order using Dom’s voice-ordering technology, select previous orders for quick delivery, and access additional items and coupons for the best deals. While Domino’s new app offers a great experience to users, it also provides the brand’s marketing team with invaluable information that they can take, organize, and repurpose for personalized local content campaigns.

For example, Domino’s can monitor orders via Dom from its application and tease out consumption trends. Maybe customers in Boston favor cheesy bread with their meals, but when prompted to buy chicken wings, there’s a high conversion rate. By updating Dom’s software, Domino’s can personalize conversations between the operating system and the customer. Soon, Domino’s may be able to alter the items suggested in real time based on location and, as a result, see sales increase.

In addition, the pizza chain can track frequently asked questions and develop a strategy for addressing those queries in a creative way through Dom. Do people ask the same sassy or inappropriate questions across the nation? The company could release a funny marketing campaign that spotlights the weirdest questions, then take advantage of the BuzzFeed-like virality it would draw on the Web.


Situated in 2,000 square feet in Manhattan, STORY reflects a new standard for how to run a brick-and-mortar business, meshing the creative online world with the transactional and personal experience of in-person shopping. The shop is essentially a retail concept that, as its website states, “has the point of view of a magazine, changes like a gallery, and sells things like a store.”

Every four to eight weeks, STORY’s founder Rachel Shechtman and her team reimagine the space, including the merchandise, store design, and complementary fixtures that accent the room. At its foundation, STORY integrates marketing, merchandising, and customer experience strategies to test and play with the best way to run a store today. For every new gallery and product selection, the STORY website produces a series of well-written articles and displays those pieces similar to an online publication. Rooted in storytelling, the company sets itself apart from almost any other organization I’ve heard of.

While STORY doesn’t take a mobile-first strategy to engage its audience with local content, it does combine technology outlets like Twitter, Instagram, and its website to drive people to a central offline location. The lifeblood of STORY is its ability to channel its customers’ passions, making the use of data and analytics a crucial component to how it decides what theme to focus on next, and to better understand which products outperformed others.

I thought it appropriate to include STORY in this list because of the potential it offers to big-brand retailers, and how Shechtman has pushed others to think differently about how they market and focus on customer experience. The concept may be too experimental for a brand like Sears or Macy’s, but the inspiration, combined with a bigger budget and more tools, raises the question: Why aren’t we developing in-store technologies at a faster pace to keep up with today’s marketplace?

3. Meguiar’s

Meguiar’s, a high-end auto-care product brand, wanted to increase in-store traffic and brand awareness among car enthusiasts, so it took to mobile to reach wider audiences. Working with PlacelQ, a start-up that uses location data for mobile advertising, the brand leveraged technologies like SMS, interactive touch solutions, bar-code scanning, and location-based audience-targeting technology to serve relevant, rich media and local content to prospective audiences.

This helped Meguiar’s connect with its target audience in the physical world, by using location-aware mobile advertising. PlacelQ used its unique data sets to serve ads in regions that had a high volume of new- and used-car buyers. The result was a 188-percent sales lift and a 109-percent increase in response rate. See the full case study here.

Meguiar’s took a more recognizable approach to mobile marketing, drawing upon location-aware ad technology to put the right information in the hands of the right audience at the right time. For brands focused strictly on sales, that more structured approach allows more immediate action and proves the power of mobile technology today.

Is there another great example of a brand using mobile and Web technology to provide an exceptional offline experience? Let us know if the comments section below!

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