On this week’s episode of the Performance Delivered Podcast, we talk to Dan Dillon. He is a strategic marketing and communications executive with over 20 years’ experience in high growth software. Dan serves as the CMO of Reveal Mobile, a company that provides location-based marketing and analytics.

Today we are talking with Dan about geofencing marketing, and location-based advertising to extend retailers’ reach, as well as:

  • The post pandemic impact on retail shopping—it’s not what you think
  • The critical element in consumer data sharing
  • The real value of an in-store visit
  • His prediction on what the new “big 3” social media platforms will be
  • And more

Mentioned in this episode:


Voiceover: This is Performance Delivered. Insider secrets for digital marketing success with Steffen Horst and Dave Antil.

Steffen Horst: Welcome to the Performance Delivered, Insider Secrets for Digital Marketing Success Podcast, where we talk with marketing and agency executives and learn how they build successful businesses and their personal brand. I’m your host, Steffen Horst. The topic for today’s episode is geofencing marketing and location based advertising. Here to speak with me is Dan Dylan, who is the CMO of Reveal Mobile, a location based analytics, audience and attribution software for agencies, brands, and media companies. Dan is responsible for all aspects of marketing strategy and execution, driving demand and pipeline for Revealed products. He has nearly 20 years of marketing experience building and measuring results oriented teams for high growth software and technology companies. Dan, welcome to the show.

Dan Dillon: Steffen, thank you so much for having me. And thanks for that very kind introduction.

Steffen: Dan before we before we dive into today’s topic, you know, I’d love to find out a little bit more about you. Tell our listeners about how you got started in your career. How did you get into marketing?

Dan: Oh, wow, great. Thanks for that, I appreciate it. I started in marketing too long ago, really, in the field of communications. So my job was largely PR, internal communications, frankly, a lot of reading, and editing. Right. And from there, it branched out into all different kinds of directions. This was many years ago, when digital marketing was just dawning. So there was all kinds of opportunity to explore different sub regions subfields of marketing. And so I took on, you know, the opportunity to just learn as much as I could about as many different things as I was exposed to email, web, ad display, social, everything I could sort of get my hands on, I tried. 

And I did that at a number of different companies, which was also a lot of fun. And just learned the hard way, frankly, just doing it not doing well. And then maybe a little bit better than that the next time, the next time, the next time. And I’ve had the great good fortune of working with really, really smart marketers throughout my career. So I’ve learned not just by failing, but also by listening, and really just trying and experimenting. So my core philosophy is do something, don’t make the risk so great that of course, it’s embarrassing or catastrophic. 

But certainly, you know, try because it’s never going to be perfect. But it’ll it should always be a little bit better than it was last time. So that’s kind of how I formed my career. And at Reveal Mobile, where I’ve been for about two years, I still do that. I still work that way, right and have a small team. So we have limited resources, but we we do what we can to build brand, to generate leads, to drive pipeline and ultimately, to have revenue show up in the business. So that’s, that’s how we tune it’s, it’s it’s a lot of fun.

Steffen: Interesting, what you just said. I think, you know, there are a lot of people out there that are afraid of just testing something, right, there’s always the danger of a test to fail. But obviously, you know, if you if you don’t test, if you don’t try, you know, you never know if it would have worked. So in order to move ahead, I think it’s just, it’s just required to try different things, even knowing that not all of them will, will be successful. Now, you know, obviously over the last what is a year, year and a half, the landscape for consumer shopping has changed dramatically, right. When when people were not able to get outside due to restrictions. They went online, to do their shopping, whether it’s groceries, you know, clothes, and whatnot. Now, now that that restriction has been lifted, Dan, how from your perspective are consumers changing their shopping behavior? And how are they adjusting to the fact that they can go out again in store and do shopping there?

Dan: It’s it’s really it’s really a whole new day, right? It’s, it’s like you say this restrictions are being lifted. People are out in the world for retail therapy, they love to try on the clothes and see the shoes and you know, do all the things you can do in in a physical store. But make no mistake people are still shopping in, in historic numbers online, and that’s not going to change. We’ve all established new patterns. We’ve all established new habits, and we’ve all got new favorite services, right? We’ve signed up for things we never would have signed up before. And we like them so we’re gonna stick with them. 

But remember, retail as a category in the US is a 4 trillion dollar industry, and e commerce makes up about 20% of that. So amazingly 80% of the stuff we buy, we buy in brick and mortar stores. So we want to do that we are wired to go out and have that experience right, in this in this society. So what we’re seeing now is that people are with vaccinations being rolled out, and people feeling a lot safer. But they’re doing just that they’re going to first are buying clothes, they’re buying cars, they’re starting to go to movies, the concerts are back. So people are going to very large public events, indoors, not just outdoors, but also indoors. 

Theater, museums, every category you might want to, you know, name as a, as a place to go as a consumer or a private citizen people are going. So that’s obviously had a massive impact on how advertisers are buying media. Everything from out of home, right billboards, sides of buses, train stations, bus stops, you name it, taxi top running that’s outdoor that people would not see during a pandemic is back. So there’s a lot of money flowing into out of home, everything down to, you know, the big the 800 pound gorilla is right. Facebook ads, Instagram, Google ads, of course. And interestingly Tik Tok. 

So we don’t need to spend the webinar or sorry, the podcasts on this on this topic. But my prediction, you heard it here first, is that there will be the new big three social media platforms will be Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok. So we’ll see how that how that plays out. But all kinds of money’s flowing into these channels, because the consumer dollars are ready, they’re being spent. So it’s a matter of how you’re going to capture as a marketer, how you’re going to capture that audience who was willing to come to your store, but just may not know that you’re open or may not know that you have new hours or may not know you have a new experience to offer them, so.

Steffen: How can how can brick and mortar mortar stores benefit from that because obviously, over the last year, year and a half, they’re advertising to drive people in store has come to a screeching halt. But no one was able to go into a store. So why would you advertise? Now the situation is people get comfortable with the fact that they can get so many things delivered home. Amazon grown massively over the last one and a half years as one big company that benefited massively. And so what can what can brick and mortar stores do now to bring people back in into their stores?

Dan: Two things, what we’re seeing at Reveal Mobile is brick and mortar retailers. And frankly, the agencies that work for those retailers are doing two things, they are geo fencing their client’s locations, or their own locations, if they’re the retailer themselves. And their understanding who visited there store before the pandemic. They’re looking back 18 months before the pandemic even even, you know arrived, if you will. And then they’re also to get those audiences and have them come back to their store today. And then they’re looking more recently at the more recent past and they’re geo fencing their competitors. 

So in the case of apparel, a clothing store might geo fence their own store, you know, back in January or February of 2020, and message to those audiences, hey, we’re, you know, we’re back we’ve got new experiences, and you know, try our new summer line. And then they’re geo fencing, the, you know, the clothing store down the road or the chain in their competitive space. And they’re saying, hey, shopper for clothing, come here instead, because we have this new experience, we have these new outfits, whatever the case might be. And that is how we’re seeing agencies grow market share for their retail clients. It’s clever. It’s effective, and it’s measurable. So in this in this climate, those are two really compelling strategies.

Steffen: Yeah, so it’s a mixture of prospecting and conquesting. At the end of the day. 

Dan: Exactly. That’s exactly right. 

Steffen: Okay. Now, what are the biggest challenges retailers are looking to solve in terms of marketing advertising as it relates to the current situation?

Dan: Well, foot traffic is the order of the day, right? Everyone, consumers are up for grabs, right? We’re all coming out of our homes, and we’re going back to stores. And we may not be going back to the stores that we used to go to, right, because of new patterns. And that poses a real risk to even even consumers or sorry even retailers that could depend on you know, a good consumer volume in the past. So, nothing can be taken for granted. Retailers need to fight for every visit, need to fight for every dollar. 

So this is that as I was mentioning, this is that climate where conquesting is so compelling because the consumer wants to be told, you know, this, this is the place to come right. And then they need to have a reason to be to be compelled. But without that awareness without that advertising in front of that consumer. They’re gonna go somewhere else, so you risk the retailer risks losing market share, and more now than then they have in the past.

Steffen: Interesting, interesting. Now as it relates to channels, then what other channels advertising channels that, from your perspective, or from what you’ve seen, deliver best results in getting customers back into stores?

Dan: We actually did a study on this back in the spring, anticipating vaccines being ready. And then vaccines taking hold. Of course, we knew that, you know, in summer, of course, summertime, it’s warm, people want to go out there just at the park, right, they go for a walk, and naturally, that behavior leads to shopping, frankly. So we asked marketers, what channels they got the best results from, and it may not surprise you, but paid social was the top channel for drawing consumers in the stores. 

And then interestingly, more traditional channels, radio, broadcast radio, and linear TV or broadcast TV are also highly favored channels. Not be surprising in the end, because what those channels are doing are providing access to a local audience, right. So now your TV even though TV now has Netflix and Amazon Prime, if you’re talking about broadcast TV, you’re really talking about the DMA. And in that DMA, you’ve got a certain number of stores or auto dealerships, wherever the case might be. And that’s the audience you want to want to attract. 

So after paid social, and after some some broadcast, TV, and radio, everything sort of follows from their display, out of home, paid search, all those things are sort of bunched in the middle. And then there are a few laggers there at the bottom of the list. But if I had, if I had $1 to spend, I would probably spend it on Facebook today. That is where the majority of consumers are going to learn and then are seeing the results. And retailers have seen the results.

Steffen: Yeah, well, given that, that Facebook got under an immense pressure with Apple’s decision to restrict or to block tracking, basically, how do you see that panning out for for Facebook and using Facebook as a successful channel?

Dan: That’s a great question. And I’ll just too early to say that the jury’s out on that story. But the fact is, is that consumers so the backstory here is that Apple released a new operating system for their iPhone. And it gives the consumer more control over what data can be shared with advertisers and what data cannot and that is terrific. Reveal Mobile supports that we are in favor of consumer privacy, we’re in favor of consumer control. We also are in favor of advertisers and advertisers need and desire to get audiences to take a behavior take an action. 

So there’s a middle ground there. And I think the middle ground ultimately rests with the consumer rests with the person with the phone in their hand or in their purse. And what we have found at the end of the day is that consumers value convenience over everything else. So if I know that, you know, to engage with a brand are to get offers from my favorite burger restaurant, or to get a deal on an airline ticket, I need to share some data to get to get that to get that value. And I’m willing research shows that better than 70% of consumers are willing to share personal data, whether that’s location, email, you name it, for convenience. So at the end of the day, the consumer is going to an even with those greater controls in place on Apple devices. 

And like I said jury’s out, the iOS 14.5  and .6 are still hitting people’s phones. Over time, I think we’re gonna see a drop of a temporary drop in the availability of that data because people will feel empowered and locked out. But over time, they’ll realize that their lives were better when they opted in, because they were convenient. And they had services provided to them they didn’t have otherwise. So over time, we expect that temporary, you know, dropping in data availability to jump back up, it’ll also make that data more valuable, because the people who opt in are serious about right, being in an audience and being being offered services. So it’ll sort of separate a lot of a lot of good data from bad.

Steffen: Yeah, yeah. Have you have you seen any performance impact for due to due to that change?

Dan: None. And I’m not trying I’m not being coy. I’m not trying to be glib. But from our standpoint, in the campaigns that our clients run inside of our product, we’ve seen zero impact on data availability, and then results. Largely because all of the mobile data we get comes from both iOS and Android. In fact, our US data supply all of the locations, signals and events we get in the US, the majority of them are actually coming off of Android phones. So the impact has been almost inconsequential. 

Steffen: Yeah, yeah. Now, as I assume many of your clients work with agencies. From your perspective, what’s the one thing an agency can do to bring more strategic value to, to their consumer oriented clients?

Dan: That is a really good question. And I risk I risk sounding, pedantic with with this answer, but I think the short version is move away from impressions and shares and likes and move towards business outcomes, like sales, and dollars in the door and consumer count or customer counts, sorry. That’s the stuff that you know, ends up in the in the annual report. That’s the stuff that ends up in the boardroom conversation. That’s the stuff that really gets people’s attention. 

So business leaders don’t really care about likes and shares as much as they care about sales and revenue, right? So the more you can tie your actions discreetly, to, in our case, store visits, you know, foot traffic into the store, and then correlating that visit to a transaction, or, you know, a cash register checkout. That’s your answer right there. And, you know, the nice thing is, a lot of just about every retailer knows what a visit is worth, right? So if you’re a website, you know what a visitor is worth, because you look at your, your e commerce engine every day, and you see what people check out with. 

Same thing with point of sale data, if you take a take Olive Garden, take that the Italian restaurant chain here in North America, you know, a comfort food, Italian style. Hundreds and hundreds of locations, maybe 1000s. Every person who walks into an Olive Garden is worth $20. So if you’ve got technology that can tell you that 8000 people visited Olive Garden in California last month, you got 8000 times 20. There’s your sales number that you can bring to your Olive Garden client and say here, we didn’t just get, you know, 20% click through rate or a million impressions. Okay, that’s great. But really what we got you was $1.6 million, or whatever that math problem is, in, in tickets in sales.

Steffen: How is measurement and consumer marketing shifting, Dan? So other areas of the business see it as more of an integral partner or part?

Dan: Well, I think it actually goes back to what we were just talking about, to be honest with you, I think it goes towards discerning between what metrics really tell you, and how they can really help you at each stage of the customer acquisition process and the customer retention workflow or process, right. So you there are a million, a million different things you can measure. And every one of them is good when applied at the right place. And every one of them is bad, when applied at the wrong place. 

Right? So that’s sort of the, the riddle version of my response. But the key is, is knowing that each metric has its purpose, and applying it to that that stage or that, you know that that that step of the process, and only that step and then moving on and then saying, you know, what, impressions are no longer important to us, or cost per action is no longer important to us. Now, we need to move on to this next metric, which is the thing that you know, we’re going to care about next. And it doesn’t mean that once you leave a metric behind, you’re never going to revisit it. 

Of course, you’re gonna revisit it the next campaign. So it’s cyclical. And I think it’s just a question of discerning between, you know, one metric being the be all end all and frankly, if there is one, it’s its sales, right? We all we all believe that. But every other metric that you’re going to consider important is important in context. So I think that’s an important distinction to make that each metric is has its place. 

Steffen: Yeah, yeah, I agree. I agree. Now, earlier, you talked about Tik Tok, and that you’re of the opinion that Tik Tok will kind of jump up to become number three, and kind of from a from a media social perspective. Tell us a little bit more about what that how should advertisers think about Tik Tok as an ad channel?

Dan: Yeah, it is definitely an upstart. And an interesting one, the way I like to think about Tick tock, as a consumer, myself is what TV was, you know, 20 years ago, and it’s what YouTube was three years ago. It’s the next video channel, that is actually an audio platform. So you know, like I do, tick tock gotta start as musically where people did lip synching. And it’s carried that that audio DNA forward into its Tik Tok life, and it’s, it’s during the pandemic, every age, not just teens and tweens, you know, jumped onto the platform. Adults in large numbers have adopted Tik Tok as a as a tool for entertainment as a tool for creativity as a tool for engagement. So what we’re seeing, you know, it used to be I think they had 15 million active users in the US and they had 80. 

And then they released their numbers for the first time in their history. And it was, you know, some impressive 100 million active users in the US and I think already there now up to 130 150 active million active users in the US. 150 million active users in the US. And so it’s going to keep growing. And that’s not anywhere close to Facebook numbers. It’s not anywhere close to Instagram numbers, obviously those those are mature platforms. But the interesting thing about Tik Tok is that of those 130 say million active users in the US, only 30% of them are teenagers. The other 70 the other 80 million or 90 million of those people have incomes. 

They’re either their recent college graduates, they’re in the workforce, or or they’re, they’re middle aged adults, or they’re 30. So they’re, you know, they’re millennials, they’re 30 somethings, whatever their age. And they’re spending as much time on Tik Tok as they are on Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat and Pinterest and all the other channels. So Tik Tok is showing all the all the right vital signs of vibrant growth across demographics. So the really clever thing about Tik Tok of course, is its advertising is organic, in in the experience so if you’re on Facebook, you know you’re being served a Facebook ad you’re being targeted, it feels salesy. 

If you’re scrolling through Tik Tok, and you’re watching you know, the video on your, on your, on your for you page, which is sort of where videos get served to you based on content you’ve consumed or liked or commented on in the past, you’re seeing ads that look nothing like ads, they’re being organically placed by brands, you know, whether they’re, you know, grocery store brands or automotive brands. And it’s just, it’s just Tik Tok users who have a following, using the product and enjoying the product. So it’s nothing like an ad on TV. It’s nothing like you know, pre roll on YouTube. It’s nothing like a Facebook or an Instagram, that feels like an ad. It’s all very organic, which is super clever, and super effective. 

So the the outcome there is that lots of people who see who see stuff on Facebook or buying stuff on Facebook. About 40% I think the data shows of people who see an a product advertised on Facebook, have bought have bought one in the past. 50% of people have seen a product advertised promoted, you know, commented on or you know, reviewed on Tik Tok have bought it. So as a performance channel, it’s a much more favorable environment for consumer outcomes than than what we’re seeing from Facebook and Instagram. So it is definitely one to watch. You can target on Tik Tok just like you can target on all the other social. They’re doing it right. Tik Tok is definitely doing it right.

Steffen: It sounds a lot more like influencer marketing at the end of the day, what you what you find on Instagram, because, you know, people, as you said, using the products are showing videos. So it’s it’s it’s not from a corporation directly. It’s through an individual basically at the end of the day.

Dan: That’s right, that’s right. Now, that said, there are and, you’re right, influencers are definitely being used, but you even you see Chipotle. Chipotle he has a great Instagram presence. If you’ve not ever seen any Chipolte posts on Instagram, you’re missing out because they’re very entertaining. And they’re doing the same thing on Tik Tok. Chipotle is engaging with influencers and having them interact with their product in a way that is like super entertaining, and also impossible to do yourself. 

They’re creating these trends around Chipotle that are impossible to do without a bowl or a burrito in front of you. So it’s sort of ingenious in terms of how they’re compelling you to buy a product to to engage in a trend, and also haven’t have a good meal, right. But it’s a really neat new way of thinking about getting people to purchase your product.

Steffen: Yeah. Now, as we’re talking about geo fencing and marketing and location based advertising, Dan you mentioned there is just targeting available in the platform. But how does your platform or your software Reveal Mobile help to use for example of Tik ToK to to achieve this location based approach?

Dan: Yep. Yeah, what we see is our our customers use our product, it’s called visit local to create custom audiences on Facebook or Tik Tok, or Instagram or any ad or in display any any digital advertising channel. So what they’re doing is they’re getting a list of mobile ad IDs out of visit local, mobile ad IDs of devices that have been seen in a Starbucks or in a park or the you know, at the movie theater, wherever you name it to 10s of millions of places across North America. And they’re taking those mobile IDs and then serving ads to those people who maybe are in market for Toyota, or the people who want to see the next Hollywood blockbuster or people who want to have a pizza for dinner. 

And they’re using those audiences and only those audiences so they’re really eliminating wasted ad spend. They’re not just marketing to people who love food. They’re marketing to people who’ve been to Pizza Hut specifically so they know. Well, you’re going to get your pizza hut people to come back or if your Papa John’s or your some other pizza franchise. You can mark it just to the people who’ve been to Pizza Hut and say hey, you know what? Stop eating that Pizza Hut stuff come on over to Papa John’s where it’s much better and I’m making this up, of course. But sure, that’s the idea. So you’ve got advertisers who are being laser focused in segmentation, and in audience targeting, and, you know, variably eliminating any any unwise ad dollars.

Steffen: Yeah. That makes sense. Well, Dan, we’ve we’ve, unfortunately, come to the end of today’s episode. Thank you so much for joining me on the Performance Delviered podcast and sharing your thoughts on location based marketing. If people want to find out more about you and your company, how can they get in touch?

Dan: Sure. Well, thanks for having me, Steffen. It’s been a real pleasure. I appreciate the opportunity. Anyone who wants to learn more about geo fencing, location based advertising, location based marketing, geo targeting, all those things can come to revealmobile.com. We have we publish reports regularly, white papers regularly, case studies, campaign ideas. One of the white papers with 10 location based marketing ideas you can steal right now. So we’re giving you campaign ideas. Come on over, grab those and we’re always happy to chat if you if you want to bounce ideas around. But revealmobile.com is the place to go.

Steffen: Perfect. Well, thanks everyone for listening. If you’d like the Performance Delivered podcast, please subscribe to us and leave us a review on iTunes or your favorite podcast application. If you want to find out more about Symphonic Digital, you can visit us at symphonicdigital.com or follow us on Twitter at symphonicHQ. Thanks again and see you next time.

Voiceover: Performance Delivered is sponsored by Symphonic Digital. Discover audience focused and data driven digital marketing solutions for small and medium businesses at symphonicdigital.com