April 26, 2016

Facebook and Bots Create New Experiences for Brands

By Jay Hawkinson

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Image Credit: BBC

Bots are hot.

Many brands and media are examining the role that bots play and will play in our increasingly on-demand society. And Facebook is taking action, as you might have noticed when the world’s largest social network recently announced (at the annual F8 conference) the incorporation of bots into Facebook Messenger.

In my latest AdWeek SocialTimes byline, I discuss the recent announcement at F8. I focus on how bots make Facebook a stronger alternative for businesses and consumers to connect with each other locally when people use their mobile devices to decide what to do, where to go, and what to buy.

Facebook is a major opportunity for multi-location businesses to be visible in consumers moments of need. What other news from F8 did you find interesting? Connect with me; I’d love to discuss.

April 25, 2016

Why Businesses Need Data Amplifiers

By Gib Olander

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It doesn’t matter how great your local content is if people fail to find you when they search for things to do, places to go, and things to buy. For many businesses, optimizing content and location data for search is the answer to being found. I totally agree in the power of optimizing your content and location data, but doing so is not enough. You also need to distribute your location data to all the places where people are conducting near me searches, whether they’re on Yelp, using GPS systems in their car, or using apps on their smart phones. Sharing your location data properly does not mean applying a paid inclusion approach across tier-two directories. It’s far more effective for a brand to focus its energies on a smaller group of high-impact “data amplifiers” complemented by a few leading vertical-market publishers. In my recently published Street Fight column, I introduce the concept of data amplifiers, which consist of publishers such as Apple and Foursquare and the data aggregators such as Neustar Localeze that share a business’s location data with publishers. Read my column to understand why a “less is more” approach to distributing your location data to amplifiers is the key to being found across the digital world. As always, contact us if you’d like to discuss more, and learn more about data amplifiers in context of a location data management strategy in The CMO’s Guide to Location Data Management, published by SIM Partners.

April 21, 2016

April 28 Webinar to Discuss How Healthcare Systems Can Win Patients through Transparency

By Amanda Bury

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Acquiring and engaging patients in an era of consumer empowerment requires healthcare systems to build trust by providing an unprecedented level of transparency with their physician information. Rising healthcare costs alone have made patients savvier about investigating their provider choices. Patients are also realizing that the same digital tools they evaluate products and services outside healthcare, such as Yelp, can help them assess physicians. Healthcare systems need to respond with the right information in the era of transparency, but responding to patients means a lot more than making reviews and ratings available. Building trust through transparency requires a holistic approach that entails making your physicians more findable and sharing more descriptive information on physician profile pages so that patients find what they’re looking for.

On April 28th, at noon Central Time, please join me and Andrew Rainey of Binary Fountain for a one-hour webinar during which we discuss how healthcare systems can strengthen their brands by being more transparent. During the webinar, “How to Win Patients through Transparency,” you will learn:

  • How to help patients find your physicians by making your physician directory more useful through improved content, location data, and a strong user experience
  • How to establish trust with potential patients through more transparent physician pages that feature patient ratings and reviews

The webinar is one of the many fruits of our recently announced relationship with Binary Fountain. Be sure to follow along with the hashtag #BinarySIM. I am personally excited to show healthcare systems how to be more responsive as they strengthen their businesses. Learn more about the webinar and sign up here — and contact us to discuss how we can help you win with location marketing.

April 20, 2016

Google Changes along with

By Adam Dorfman

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Image Credit: PixBay

Everyday search is evolving, and Google has made adjustments to its product roadmap based on the shift in search behavior.

In my most recent Search Engine Land byline, I share how Google is responding to changing search behaviors. For example, Google is creating physical products like Android Wear, Chromebooks, and driverless cars. I also urge marketers to sense and respond to change just as Google is.

I encourage you to check out my article, and let me know what you think. What other changes or predictions do you have for Google’s product roadmap? Connect with me. I’d love to talk more.

April 13, 2016

SIM Partners and Binary Fountain Partner to Increase Visibility

By Amanda Bury



We’re excited to announce a partnership  with Binary Fountain, a patient feedback management solution. This partnership offers healthcare marketers best in breed solutions to increase the visibility of their physicians and locations across the entire patient journey.  

With the partnership, our local marketing automation platform, Velocity,  seamlessly integrates with Binary Fountain’s transparency solution, Binary Star Ratings. Velocity’s Location Data Management solution increases the visibility of physicians, and Binary Star Ratings improves the credibility of those physicians. This integration also helps healthcare marketers gain insight into performance and patient sentiment.

With 72% of patients looking online for health information, the partnership gives healthcare marketers an opportunity to attract more patients and be visible in the “near me” moments of search, and drive the “next moments” of patient acquisition by providing  transparency with ratings and reviews.

Join SIM Partners and Binary Fountain for a webinar on Thursday, April 28th at noon CST “How to Win Patients through Transparency,” to uncover an approach to being more responsive and transparent to patients as they research their options for physician care.

To learn more about our partnership, contact us or Binary Fountain.

April 12, 2016

Are You Winning Micro-Moments?

By Tari Haro

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Welcome to the age of the micro-moment. If you follow the thought leadership that Forrester Research and Google publish regularly, you have probably heard of micro-moments — those times when consumers use their mobile phones to decide what to do, where to go, and what to buy. Micro-moments are changing the way businesses build their brands, as discussed in a recent New York Times article, “Marketing in the Moments, to Reach Customers Online,” written by Robert D. Hof. The article makes a powerful assertion: instead of launching static campaigns that reinforce a one-way brand message, many marketers are succeeding by creating content that resonates in passing micro-moments. For instance, Red Roof Inn created customers by tracking flight delays at major airports and offering promotions to stranded customers searching for nearby lodging. The hotel chain used flight data from FlightAware to track flight delays and Google’s search and display ads to make its ads appear among the top search results when harried travelers Googled “hotels near O’Hare.” The article says that Red Roof saw a 60-percent increase in room bookings from those searches. In my recently published column, “Marketing in the ‘Micro’ and ‘Near-Me’ Moments,” I dig deeper into the implications of micro-moments on location marketing. I hope you take more than a micro-moment to read the article — and contact us if you want to talk more about how we can help you win during micro-moments.

April 11, 2016

Putting Contextual Marketing in Context

By Gib Olander


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Image credit: Weebly

Contextual marketing is all about tailoring content to someone based on their changing circumstances. The idea behind contextual marketing makes a lot of sense: the Starbucks app should tell me about the great-tasting pumpkin spice lattes in the fall and offer me a free coffee on my birthday based on what the app knows about who I am and what I buy. But in practice, contextual marketing is getting pretty hairy, especially for location-based marketing. That’s because context is getting more complicated, based on a number of factors, including not just where I am but who I am and when I’m searching. The who, where, and when of contextual marketing is constantly changing, too. For instance, I adopt different personas depending on where I am on a given day. In my latest Street Fight column, “The Context for Contextual Marketing Is Changing,” I discuss the complexities of contextual marketing and how businesses should respond at a local level. Check out my article, and, as always, contact us to talk more.

April 5, 2016

How Major League Baseball Became a Social Powerhouse

By Jay Hawkinson

Major League Baseball is back for another season, but baseball’s use of social media never stopped. Major League Baseball relies on social media to connect with fans during games, and to generate interest between games. In my latest SocialTimes byline, I share how MLB is scoring runs in social — ranging from Snapchat game highlights to GIFs. I also share lessons businesses can learn from MLB’s use of social.

What’s the best way you’ve seen a sports organization or brand utilize social media? Connect with me, I’d love to discuss.

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March 28, 2016

How Brands Can Win in Micro-Moments with Reviews

By Julie Piatek


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Today, mobile calls the shots for any enterprise, particularly for those who want to attract consumers to their brick-and-mortar locations. The rise of mobile consumption has led us to an era of moment-based marketing. People are turning to their phones during the “I-want-to-go,” “I-want-to-do” “I-want-to-know,” and “I-want-to-buy” moments, also known as micro-moments.

On Thursday, March 24, chief marketing officer, Tari Haro of SIM Partners, and chief marketing officer, Aaron Weiche of GetFiveStars shared how brands can be visible during micro-moments, and connect in the “next moments” through tactics such as managing and monitoring online ratings and reviews during the webinar, “How Reviews Turn Micro Moments into Big Business for Your Brand.”

Near Me Mobile Moments are the New Normal

Haro shared recent Google data which showed that 88 percent of all “near me” searches are coming from mobile devices, and those mobile searches are growing at a rate of 146% YOY.  Google is also auto-completing “near me” for both branded and non-branded terms — confirming the need for location-specific information.

In order to be visible in these moments, and create a competitive advantage, it’s critical that brands harness the power of their location data. Brands that have hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands locations, need to understand that location data management goes beyond listing management, and that a technology is needed in order to help drive foot traffic and conversions to physical locations.

Brands must utilize a location data management technology because activating location data is an ongoing process, which requires managing, distributing (to data amplifiers), and monitoring. Haro then gave  examples of clients utilizing SIM Partners’ platform, Velocity, that drove “next moments” of conversion with compelling and relevant content. As an example, one client saw that on average, visitors took an action on location pages 90% of the time.

When it comes to a brand’s “next moment” content strategy, research shows that consumers want to see hours of operation, products and services that are offered, and they want to see ratings and reviews.

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Reviews are a Long Term Strategy

Weiche discussed how 76 percent of consumers form an opinion by reading one to six reviews, and how consumer seek out reviews — they are looking for social proof from other consumers.

Weiche included a few key components when it comes to a review strategy:

  • Leverage a platform – Have a monitoring platform in place to understand your reviews that are coming in, and that can be used to respond.
  • People – Your employees are on your frontline and it is important for them to understand the importance of customer reviews, the impact of their customer interactions, and even how to ask for customer feedback.
  • Plan/Process – You can’t afford to just let reviews happen on their own. You must have a strategy.

It’s critical to be clear where customers can leave feedback — such as on website or via email, to show that your brand cares, and values  feedback. The more customers that you can get to leave feedback, the more beneficial it will be.

Next Steps

  • Manage, distribute, and monitor your location data to drive visibility in “near me” micro-moments.
  • Deliver content that drives “next” moments of conversion − hours of operation, scheduling widgets, lead forms, etc.
  • Leverage reviews to provide social proof that converts searchers into customers.   

The time is now to take advantage of customer reviews and harness the power of your location data. To learn more contact SIM Partners or GetFiveStars.


March 24, 2016

Adobe Summit 2016: All about the Experience

By Tari Haro



The 2016 Adobe Summit was a stealth location marketing conference. At the 2016 event, Adobe challenged attendees to succeed by acting as “experience businesses.” And guest speaker Brian Solis discussed how “the future of brand is experience” — a theme that is the focus of his book X: The Experience When Business Meets Design.

Customer experience is crucial. The experience, along with location data and contextual content, creates customers at the location level.

Adobe largely stresses experience in context of the digital world — but not entirely. At the event, Adobe defined experience organizations those that “create a personalized, compelling customer experience at every link of the relationship, from Web sites and mobile apps to retail environments.” During the conference, Adobe released survey findings showing that consumers increasingly want personalized content and experiences across multiple platforms.

For his part, speaker Brian Solis shared the many elements of an experience-based company, ranging from owning mobile moments to designing experiences. “We live in a tremendous time and a new era of business in which your brand is defined by those who experience it,” he said.

These words should resonate with anyone who practices location marketing. At SIM Partners, we have long been advocating that enterprises can convert consumers into customers by reaching them during “micro-moments,” which Google defines as times when consumers use mobile devices to decide what to do, where to go, and what to buy. Micro-moments are shaping how brands build customer relationships, especially at a local level. We believe brands can convert micro-moments of decision making into next moments of purchase through:

  • Location data: the foundation for location marketing. Location data consists of information that a consumer would need to find your business through a search result, such as NAP information. Enterprises need to unleash location data to all the places where micro-moments occur, primarily by forming relationships with “data amplifiers” — publishers such as Google and data aggregators such as Neustar Localeze.
  • Contextual content: information (often personalized) that convinces consumers to do business with you after they find you in a near me moment. Mobile wallet offers customized to consumers are examples of the content that will convert a search into a visit and purchase.
  • Experience: the user experience that a searcher or customer has while interacting with your brand at a location level, whether online or offline. Location data and content together support a good user experience. By contrast, a poor user experience — such as a bad user experience when a consumer tries to download a mobile wallet offer, or a bad customer experience in-store — can undermine your use of data and content.

You need accurate location data to be found — and compelling content and experiences to convince consumers to choose your offline location over Amazon. What experiences do you provide at your offline store that a consumer cannot get online? How contextual are is the content of your offers? The Adobe Summit, focusing on personalized experiences, underscores why you need compelling answers to those questions in order to succeed with location marketing.