Why it’s time more Aussie businesses embraced location-based marketing

Location-based marketing company SweetIQ’s founder talks about why Australian retailers need to brace for change or face a slow and painful death

Global businesses serious about getting noticed through the noise of digital, mobile and social are turning to location-based marketing more than ever before. But Australian businesses still show an alarming level of complacency, according to SweetIQ founder, Mo El Barachi.

“In Australia, what’s really interesting to see is that the majority of businesses aren’t really doing anything,” the marketing services company leader told CMO.  “They’re not managing listings or just pushing their phone numbers – I think they’re a bit behind compared to other markets like the US and Canada.”

El Barachi said he is still shocked and amazed at the number of brands still sharing their store information in an Excel spreadsheet.

“The problem many businesses have with location-based marketing is the overwhelming amount of work it takes to manage their online listings and get noticed by customers,” he said. “So we walk in and find a better way to manage their location information, listings and reviews, gather the right analytics to see how they can leverage their presence better online – and basically make sure they are found when consumers are looking for them."

With the likes of Amazon, voice activation and VR set to disrupt Aussie retail, SweetIQ’s founder, Mo El Barachi warns businesses to act fast or die a slow and painful death
With the likes of Amazon, voice activation and VR set to disrupt Aussie retail, SweetIQ’s founder, Mo El Barachi warns businesses to act fast or die a slow and painful death

Recently launching in Australia, the Canadian company is already working with some of the country’s largest retailers to boost location-based strategies. But at the same time, El Barachi said addressing local pain points has to start with education and awareness.

“I don’t believe in shoving a product down someone’s throat, it’s about providing awareness and education and going from there,” he said. “Where we come in is to start educating the Australian marketplace, and we’re working on releasing a new playbook to educate the local marketplace and how we can offer solutions to some pressing pain points.

“I think it’s an exciting market with specific nuances and a large number of strong and successful businesses, so it’s an exciting time and opportunity for SweetIQ to be in Australia.”

Earlier this year, the company was acquired by global digital marketing company, ReachLocal, which meant Sweet IQ’s solutions now form an integral part of ReachLocal’s digital marketing suite.

“The way we operate hasn’t changed at all since being acquired by ReachLocal,” he said. “Our focus at SweetIQ has always been to tackle the world of location-based marketing, and to look at how major brands and retailers connect with the hyperlocal consumer to buy the product or service they need.”

The company today powers over 250 brands and marketing agencies, covering 50,000 brick-and-mortar locations across Canada and the United States, including many in the Fortune 500. But despite these significant changes, El Barachi said the company’s main business vision and focus remains unchanged.

“We were acquired because of our deep focus on discipline and today we have tech and software that operates at scale, we have very close relationships with the Googles and Yelps of the world, but our overall focus and business vision hasn’t changed,” he added.

El Barachi said retailers need to look at the fact consumers are buying everywhere – whether it is in-store, online, on social, mobile, voice technology and eventually, in the VR world – and adapt fast in order to remain competitive.

“Retail just needs to reinvent itself – you need to be able to buy literally everywhere,” he said. “That’s why Amazon is opening stores itself. And the fact you can order a Dominos pizza on Twitter - that’s an example of how retail should be everywhere.

“So you’re either going to catch up, or you’re going to die a slow and painful death.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu   

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