Marketing automation is a term that’s thrown around a great deal. It’s a kind of marketing buzzword without precise definition. The central idea, however, is simplification — taking a complex or fragmented set of channels or tactics and making them more coordinated through some sort of machine capability that removes manual, human execution from the equation.
In the local realm companies like Balihoo and Brand Muscle offer “local marketing automation.” But search on “marketing automation” and you’ll see many more. You can now add Yodle to that list.
The company is introducing what it calls Centermark, a new product aimed at franchises and dealers. It’s intended to coordinate and make national-local marketing more effective and efficient for companies that have hundreds or thousands of local outlets.
Yodle CEO doesn’t refer to this as “local marketing automation.” In an email to me last week he described Centermark as “the first mover product in a new category that we are calling distributed marketing automation.”
Here’s what the company says about Centermark:
The platform [ ] provides a source of shared data, communication and reporting that facilitates informed conversations between all the partners on the network. Additionally, Centermark offers a full suite of Digital Marketing Management solutions, including establishing a web presence resulting in consumers finding local businesses online when they search for relevant products or services. Rounding out its features, the platform provides ‘funnel optimization’. More than just a mechanism for lead delivery, funnel optimization means more leads are actually converted into paying customers.
I’ll be talking to Yodle later this morning and update this post with additional details. Below is an overview of the Centermark tool/platform/product:
Update: I spoke this morning to Fred Voccola, Yodle’s GM of Brand Networks. He characterized Centermark as “enterprise class local marketing solutions.” There are a wide range of “solutions” offered under the program.
Currently 18 brands are using the platform.
Everything Yodle offers through Centermark is white-labeled, to be presented to local dealers and franchisees by the corporate entity via a “local engagement portal.” The local portal, using data from the specific market and the brand/franchise, offers recommendations to the local dealer or franchisee about where and what to spend: “X spend on PPC will get you Y leads in your market.”
The local marketer has discretion to not use any of the offered solutions. Yodle gets paid a monthly fee by the corporation and by the local business depending on how many of the services are used. It’s a SaaS licensing model rather than performance-based.
The objective is to simplify marketing for the franchisee or distributor and boost a range of KPIs for the brand, while improving compliance and consistency in the process. Here’s how Yodle sees/measures success:
- Growing same-store revenue
- Helping brands increase their franchise footprint
- Increasing individual location satisfaction
Voccola offered me some preliminary positive metrics that indicate early success but didn’t want me to share the numbers since the program was so new.
Centermark is also trying to holistically measure the impact of various media and advertising on conversions, including traditional media such as radio. Voccola added that one of the greatest benefits of the system is providing the corporate entity true visibility into “what’s happening in the field” and thus enables the brand to truly help and support the local dealer or franchise.