Yodle’s New ‘Centermark’ Product Offers ‘Distributed Marketing Automation’

Yodle 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.

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6 Responses to “Yodle’s New ‘Centermark’ Product Offers ‘Distributed Marketing Automation’”

  1. David says at

    Another great interview and article Greg. It further adds to my frustration. We have a b2b business that does hyperlocal print advertising. I would love to find a marketing platform that would fit our business.  They all seem to be modeled for b2c, franchise networks, or online retailers.

  2. Greg Sterling says at

    I understand there are differences between the B2B and B2C markets but have you tried any of the vendors out there? It may be a question of simply being more selective about your targets. LinkedIn might work well but I understand it’s expensive. 

  3. David says at

    Not many of our clients are on LinkedIn.  Our potential clients are the same retailers that are using the standard Yodle product; the local restaurant, plumber, hair salon, etc. I guess I’m looking for an automated marketing platform that can combine ppc, social media, email, and other marketing into a coordinated system for attracting and harvesting new clients. Maybe there just isn’t anything like that for b2b.

  4. Greg Sterling says at

    I’m not sure there’s a pure B2B platform out there. It seems to me it’s a question of targeting. I would talk to an agency. But maybe look at Radius (re SMBs) as well.

  5. Saumil Mehta says at

    Hi David (and Greg! long time no talk) – Saumil Mehta here from LocBox. We started LocBox to solve for exactly the pain point you mention in your second comment. I’d be happy to learn a bit more about your business and hear how you are thinking about customer acquisition and retention in a multi-channel world. I’m at saumil at getlocbox dot com or at http://www.locbox.com. 

  6. Greg Sterling says at

    Hi Saumil, hope all is well. 

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