Virtual events and local marketing: Thursday’s daily brief
Plus, the relentless pace of change in search spurs new solutions.
MarTech’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s digital marketing leader. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox daily.
Good morning, Marketers, and can you just do these two things for me?
First, continue to reflect on a theme I told you we’d be returning to again and again this year. The phrase “the new normal” has already been worn out. But we are actually now confronted with marketers and customers adapting to a world where they could go back to old habits, but likely will retain many of their newer ones.
Brands like Cynosure have found such benefit to virtual events, they’re unlikely to go back to their previous in-person strategy. They’re evolving. Customers now accustomed to online discovery and purchase are not going to give it up, but that doesn’t mean they won’t go to stores and restaurants again. The importance of physically proximate customers is back.
We cover aspects of those stories below. But the second thing I’d like you to do? Download our new MIR on Enterprise SEO Platforms. You know you want to.
How virtual is reshaping what it means to engage an audience
When the live events team at laser and RF technology brand Cynosure was grounded by the lockdown in March 2020, they launched an entirely new virtual events department, Cynosure University, as a way to retain contact with their customers. While they initially expected the effort would only span six weeks, their webinars and virtual events are still going live, with more planned for the future, said Josh Smith, Cynosure’s National Field Marketing Manager.
Smith said their live events team has found benefits not only in the ability to engage new customers but also in providing a resource to existing customers. When a medical practice that uses their devices brings on a new employee, they now have an entire library of content to refer them to.
R.D. Whitney, 365 Media CEO and Virtual Events Institute co-founder, has been working in virtual events for over a decade. He said a combination of technological restrictions and a lack of understanding of how to effectively operate virtual events kept them from reaching their potential in the past.
Whitney said a virtual event can provide ongoing engagement, and organizations can make use of that fact. Information from a roundtable discussion that followed a presentation can be included in the content presented online, and virtual attendees can be presented with their own opportunities to provide similar feedback.
Smith said he is sold on the power of virtual events. “I think every company should really look at doing virtual events as a part of their marketing strategy because it has been proven to be very, very effective,” he said.
The relentless pace of change in search spurs tool vendors to adapt
The practice of SEO is continually becoming more complex to encompass significantly more considerations than SEOs enjoyed in the “ten blue links” era. Today, SEO includes everything from content marketing and distribution to user experience, and even the core job of gathering and interpreting search intelligence has become more challenging as the search engines continually change their display of results and port them over to other media like voice assistants.
Google employs more than 1200 unique features (up from 810 in the last such count) — such as the Knowledge Graph, Direct Answers and FAQs — on its search engine results pages, seoClarity estimates, with each tailored to a certain type of search or search intent. They’re not all displayed at once, of course, and some are actually quite rare. Overall, out of those 1200 features, only 200 are found on more than 0.2% of keywords, according to seoClarity research.
Needless to say, features like these affect the way users respond to search results and influence what they click on — or if they click at all. Because different types of searches generate different layouts and types of displays, Nielsen Norman eye-tracking studies find that users need a moment to process the SERP before making a decision.
All of these changes have sparked an increasing need for enterprise SEO tools that help marketers identify where their pages are showing up (especially in these special features) and identify opportunities for optimization. Meanwhile, well-established SEO best practices like keyword research, page-level analysis, backlink tracking and acquisition, and rank tracking are still of critical importance, even as the environment continues to change.
We explore these developments and more in our MarTech Intelligence Report on Enterprise SEO Platforms, updated for 2021. Download it now.
Mailchimp responds to customers’ demands for new email templates
Mailchimp, the marketing automation and email marketing platform for small businesses, today announced the release of new email templates, one of the most requested updates from its customers. The templates can be customized by marketers with no coding skills required.
We asked Joni Deus, VP of Strategic Partnerships and App Marketplace at Mailchimp, about the significance of the release for Mailchimp customers. “When someone buys an email template and transfers it into Mailchimp, they need to know how to code to upload that template, which isn’t always in a small business owner’s skill set. Now, customers can purchase new templates directly within Mailchimp and use them immediately, saving them time when they need it most.”
Why we care. As Deus went on to say, “the marketing landscape for small business owners, marketers, and entrepreneurs has changed fast within the last year.” True words. And opportunities have been created for smaller businesses to go head to head with larger competitors as digital marketing has — in some respects — leveled the playing field. Brick and mortar presence and widespread geographical location are not the automatic advantages they once were.
But it’s leveled the marketplace only in so far as small businesses have the digital chops to leverage web, email and other touchpoints. It looks like Mailchimp is giving them a helping hand here.
Uberall acquires MomentFeed to expand its global reach
Local-focused digital marketing platform Uberall will expand its reach by agreeing to acquire proximity search optimization provider MomentFeed, a key competitor headquartered in California.
Berlin-based Uberall currently serves over 1,600 multi-location businesses across 170 countries, helping them deliver “Near Me” experiences when consumers search locally on Google Maps, Apple Maps, Facebook and elsewhere, and on listings sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. The combined entities will manage the digital presence for more than 1.35 million business locations. Their clients include BP, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and KFC.
Uberall and MomentFeed have similar business visions and complementary product suites. Uberall’s platform facilitates customer experiences across online and offline touchpoints. MomentFeed’s proximity search optimization tool is leveraged by the restaurant, retail, automotive, and hospitality industries among others.
Why we care. With the U.S. re-opening, consumers are once again looking for in-store experiences as they continue the practice of online research, discovery and purchasing. Large multi-location brands, as well as small local businesses, will be looking to get a better handle on the online/offline journey of nearby customers.
A robust digital “near me” strategy is a key addition to softer local outreach initiatives — such as a booth at a local event or sponsorship of a local sports team — for big chains to engage local customers.
Quote of the day
“Best buyer journey map I’ve seen yet.” Ed Breault, CMO, Aprimo