Meet the Digital Shoptalk Podcast hosts - our team of franchise digital marketing experts: VP of Marketing, Josh Allen, CEO Alex Porter, and Senior Director of Strategy, Vera Shafiq.
Location3 has been around for over 20 years. As a digital agency, our goal is to help our clients be profitable by delivering comprehensive digital advertising services with measurable results. With our podcast, we hope to bring our expert strategy and guidance to our listeners.
JA: Hello everyone and welcome to the inaugural episode of Digital Shop Talk, the podcast version. My name is Josh Allen. I am the Vice President of Marketing at Location3. Also joining me as co-hosts on this journey as we go forward are my colleagues, CEO of Location3, Alex Porter, and Senior Director of Strategy, Vera Shafiq.
Alex, welcome, we've we have a bit of a history with digital shop talk in YouTube video blog formats, but for those who don't know Location3, tell us a little bit about Location3 as a business and maybe even Shoptalk and our previous history.
AP: Absolutely thanks for restarting this this wonderful podcast. So Location3. We've been around for over 20 years as a digital agency, one of the first agencies to really get involved in Search. I personally started my job at Location3 by moving bids up and down by a nickel on the Overture platform. Way, way, way back in the day. We've come a long way from that. Overture, the precursor to Yahoo. And now Location3, is very focused on the local marketing space. We believe that we are the best at local digital marketing. We work with a lot of small businesses and franchises and our goal really is to make them profitable, so it's a very exciting world that we live in.
So, Digital Shoptalk we did I think you said 50 episodes on YouTube and I'm sure we'll have a link here if you want to go back into the annals of history. I'm sure you could see some funny stuff in there, but I’m looking forward to kicking this back off. And Vera tell us about yourself.
VS: Yeah hi everyone, as Josh said I'm senior director of strategy here at Location3. I've been lucky enough to work over my career in both corporate marketing teams as well as franchise and enterprise spaces and agencies. So, I even had founded and owned my own small boutique marketing agency for about 12 years. Really, I'm passionate about marketing. I think marketing is like being on a rollercoaster ride. It is always exciting, is always challenging and you have to ride with the changes, right, from one moment to the next. So, definitely has its ups and downs, but I'm super passionate about being here at Location3 and really excited about this podcast.
JA: Awesome, yeah, I think Alex our first ever YouTube version we published in April of 2015 and then episode 50 was about 3 1/2 years later in December of 2018. I think my favorites were when we would host them at the Christkindl tent - kind of year review in downtown Denver, with some Christmas cheer! Maybe we can do that at some point with this [podcast] down the line. But having said that, as we go forward, I think it's not a secret to anyone - there is a large volume of - not just marketing podcasts - but increasingly popular, franchise marketing podcasts, and multi-location marketing podcasts, if you will. And that's obviously, you know, Alex, as you mentioned, a focus of ours. You know, as we go forward when we think about, you know, what audience members who listen to Digital Shoptalk, what can they expect and where is our industry focus? You know. Maybe expand on that a little bit. If you don't mind.
AP: Yeah, so I think that what we did a really good job of is staying up with current events and talking a lot about the changes that we were seeing in the industry and giving our point of view. One of the things that I'd love to for us to do more of - and I know that the podcasts that I like to listen to have really great guests. Get different perspectives, whether that's clients of ours or people that are in the space, in the technology space. I know the podcasts I like to listen to are the ones that are providing fresh kind of perspectives on things and have really great guests. And you know, we've been in this space collectively for really, really, long time and have a great network of people. So, that would be my goal would be to get some really great guests and talk about things that are happening in the digital marketing world. And hopefully our listeners can get some real value out of out of what we provide.
JA: Awesome, now you know Vera, I think there's a lot of themes we have talked about internally at Location3, whether that's some of the work that we're doing on behalf of our partners in multi-location and franchise marketing, some of the shifts that we've seen in our industry - whether related to the pandemic, or just more broadly from a marketing perspective, what do you think - if we just look back a little bit over the past six months, what kind of topics and themes have really stuck out to you that from a strategic perspective at Location3? We're keeping an eye on and things that we hope to discuss here on this podcast as we go forward.
VS: Yeah, I mean, we all know the pandemic has caused major shifts, you know, in consumer behavior, and you know it's massively propelled digital media consumption. And so, I think you know, with the last six months or even the last 18 months or so, obviously we are focusing in on how to how to craft our clients marketing strategies so that they're really in sync with these new customer behaviors and preferences. So, you know, that's been top of mind because you know these new channels that are emerging, things like CTV, digital audio, digital out of home, things like that. These are really very popular and very viable solutions now. So you know, we definitely want to make sure that we're integrating those into our client strategies. On top of that, you know we all know the privacy changes that we've seen and are coming - a lot of focus on third party cookies deprecating, the iOS 14.5 update, or Facebook. So these are things that our clients are asking us a lot about, and these are things that we have been very immersed in over the past few months.
JA: Awesome and to that point on the privacy piece - quick, selfish plug here: Vera is going to be hosting a webinar on this very topic with the International Franchise Professionals Group. So, if you're a member of that group and you're listening, I believe it's October 13th. There's more info on the IFPG website. But you said it: privacy, first party data versus third party cookies. I think we all agree is something that is going to be top of mind, certainly as we go forward. To that end, too, Alex, I know we’ve talked a lot about MarTech. MarTech has been a big thing. You know that continues to evolve in the space. There seems to be new platforms, new tools, new technology solutions virtually every week popping up, you know, as we think back over the past six months and even look forward a little bit, where do you see MarTech being kind of a theme and a factor for discussion on this podcast and in general?
AP: Marketing technology is my favorite topic. They just had the – the MarTech conference just concluded a couple weeks ago. I haven't even really been able to dive into 10%, probably, of the content from that conference, but I think that we could leverage a lot of those topics. I think customer database platforms are continuing to be the top topic and MarTech right now. And when we do a kind of a straw poll of our clients, many people don't even know what that word means. So there's a lot of opportunity for education around that bit. That would be - I think CDP would probably be my number one thing that I want to to dive into in the next few podcast sessions as well.
JA: Maybe to kind of wrap today's kickoff episode, you know here we are at the start of Q4. It's kind of hard to believe, I think. Everybody was so focused on how our space and our world, quite frankly, changed in 2020. I can't believe we're sitting here at the start of Q4 in 2021. I don't know where this year has gone, but when we bring it back to the business side over the next 90 days as we make this Sprint to the new Year, Vera, what would you say we're really focused on? Not just as an agency, but kind of from a digital marketing perspective. As we look to wrap this year and start to look to what next year could look like.
VS: Yeah, well, there's obviously the seasonality perspective of Q4, which is pretty much one of the busiest quarters for a lot of our clients, if not the busiest. So, we’re definitely immersed in a lot of Q4 strategy in terms of ramping up the marketing and just kind of being able to sell product and get the exposure that we need during this time of the year. But this is also a really busy time for planning for the next year. You know, 2022 strategic planning is in full force right now, and we're really integrating that first party data strategy element that you talked about into our clients 2022 strategy plans. So you know, I think it's about being really smart, being forward thinking and really thinking about, you know, how we are going to make the best impact for our clients with all the changes that we know are coming in 2022.
JA: Alex, what would you say broadly industrywide. I know you talked about MarTech, but we're coming fast into 2022 – what’s top of mind for you in particular?
AP: I would say, I’m going to take it from the other perspective and really look at the franchisees. That's an area that we spend a lot of our time - educating franchisees. And it's, you know, from the overarching strategy perspective, [it’s about] incorporating first party data and things like that. Those are some things that we have to manage with our corporate marketing teams. But the franchisee doesn't need to know about that, and I don't think they want to know. So, one of our continuing quests is just education. How do we have the franchisee, the small business owner, really understand all the different areas of digital marketing. In an ideal world for us, we're running paid search, we’re running programmatic, we're running social, we're doing retargeting. We're engaging with reviews and all these pieces of the puzzle come together, and there's more and more and more on top of all that I just mentioned. So, I think a quest for us in 2022 is - how do we help the franchisee understand the digital marketing mix and knowing that these all these sources combine to provide a great experience and drive revenue, right? Our goal is to make our clients more money. So, if we can do a better job of educating them on how we're doing that and let them not really kind of have to worry about it, that's a great goal for us to have, right?
JA: Yeah, I think to wrap that, too, you know that it's no secret as we continue to kind of navigate, what, hopefully - fingers crossed - is the tail end of this pandemic as we come to know it - is that you know, both at the brand level, but certainly at the franchisee level, costs have increased. So you know, hopefully for those listening here, you know we're able to bring forward in future episodes ways to really maximize efficiency and marketing, certainly at the local level. I know it's one topic that we're all -or just theme, I should say - you know, excited to kind of discuss in more detail. You know, as you said, our hope is to have some really thoughtful, experienced guests on to share their perspectives, in that same vein as well. But you know, we're looking forward to keeping this rolling for those listening. I think the hope is that we will publish every few weeks at a minimum, once we get into a more regular routine and schedule. But really looking forward to kick Digital Shoptalk off, once again. I will enjoy personally not having to be on camera, compared to previously doing it on YouTube. But thanks Alex, thanks Vera, for joining today. Looking forward to having you both as co-hosts as we go forward. And for those listening, looking forward to having your attention hopefully here again soon.
AP: Awesome, I can't wait. I'm glad we're restarting this! Just so our viewers are aware, Josh does have to do a spoonful of hot sauce because this was supposed to go live in September. It's not going to go live in September so his penalty is 1 hot sauce. So I don't know if we can get that on video, but we might post that - a link to a YouTube of that.
JA: Yeah, ugh. I can’t take spicy food either, that's going to be terrible, but a deal is a deal so. alright well thanks everybody we'll see you on episode 2.