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Meineke heads top merchants for local relevance in mobile marketing

Meineke Car Care Centers’ ability to drive foot traffic with locally relevant content  pushed it to the head of a list of 150 national brands competing effectively in local markets, according to a new survey.

Meineke, Charlotte, NC, also was named the top digital marketer within the automotive industry category in Placeable’s evaluation of 1,000 national brands.  The recognition for Meineke, which offers full-service auto repairs, underscores the value of being able to meet customers’ demand for fast access to services via their smartphones, especially during automobile-repair emergencies.

“Meineke especially excelled in the visibility dimension, which means its site structure, including mobile site structure, usability and performance, enables it to capture higher search engine rankings and greater traffic,” said Michael Bevan, director of marketing at Placeable, Denver.

“It is able to drive Web traffic and conversion through its mobile-optimized and highly useful local landing pages.”

Crucial tools
The rankings reflect the extent to which brands properly implemented online locators, local landing pages, and mobile locators – tools crucial for boosting the ability to gain online and mobile visibility, capture Web traffic and convert digital visitors to location visits.

Meineke, with more than 900 centers that service approximately 3 million cars a year, finished first on the NatLo Top 150 list, ahead of Nationwide Insurance, Papa Murphy’s, TitleMax and Ruth’s Chris’ Steak House.

BestBuy was seventh, followed by PetSmart, Ramada Worldwide and State Farm Insurance. Holiday Inn Express was number 14 on the list, Days Inn 16 and.Office Depot 17. Walgreens was number 19 and Bank of America 22.

“You simply must have a mobile-optimized store locator and mobile-optimized local landing pages with enriched content in order to compete effectively,” Mr. Bevan said.

“If you don’t ensure the accuracy and precision of your geo-data, you are missing out on customers, damaging trust in your brand, and wasting your mobile marketing dollars through imprecise geo-fencing and incorrect store directions.”

The survey recognizes that national brands face special challenges in marketing at scale on the local level.

“You are competing with local and regional businesses that have created rich and deep online presences,” Mr. Bevan said. “A national restaurant chain with a local page featuring just phone, address, and hours will have trouble winning customers when local competitors are providing a much more engaging and informative online experience.” 

The hospitality and entertainment industries produced the highest percentage of brands in the list, while automotive and retail had the lowest percentage.

Financial services and hospitality earned the highest average scores, while childcare services, transportation and storage and business and professional services scored lowest.

Retail was the second-lowest performing industry when it came to implementing the three required digital marketing assets. Only 14 percent of retail brands in the study met this NatLo requirement.

The retail industry had the lowest average visibility score due to generally poor rankings for search engine optimization along with lagging desktop and mobile performance.

Compelling experiences
With 84 percent of consumers going online before or during their most recent trip to a store, it is essential that retail brands correct these issues to boost their presence, Placeable said.

“Many mobile marketers are investing in sophisticated ad technologies and programs without first making sure that their pins are in the right place for every location, and that they are creating a compelling customer experience with mobile-optimized local pages that feature reviews, photos, videos, personalized discounts and offers,” Mr. Bevan said.

“The challenge is that customers are using online search for virtually every type of purchase, and if you do not implement a strategy that wins the search results page and then provides the information customers are seeking, they will go elsewhere.”

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily New York.