Using mobile location data to track the Amazon bump, and other retail data innovations

March 16, 2018 – CIO The new partnership between Amazon and Kohl’s is just the type of forward-thinking experiment retailers may need to succeed in today’s competitive commerce landscape. These companies looked past their competitive motivations to make consumer experience priority number one. And all bets are on that this won’t be the last time we hear about retailers using their natural symmetries to find their way forward.

Innovative retailers are experimenting with all sorts of novel ways to increase shopper foot traffic in their bricks and mortar locations. In today’s retail environment, it’s no easy task. Data shows that some such initiatives, such as a recent partnership between Kohl’s and Amazon could have a positive impact, and I expect that as time goes on consumer data and insights will also be what propel a lot of tomorrow’s retail innovations.

Over the past several months I’ve thought a lot about — and written — about how data and consumer insights can help retailers excel in an increasingly unforgiving consumer landscape. I’ve suggested that retailers can use local-level mobile location data to ensure they have goods in stock that are not only seasonally-appropriate but reflect the interests and previous shopping behavior of local demographic groups. I’ve contemplated a retail future that employs consumer and location data to inform the transition from just places where people “buy stuff” to experiential and social environments where people convene, use healthcare facilities and even visit libraries.

I’ve observed as leaders in the space such as Target have focused on creating a seamless mobile-to-real-world experience for consumers for product research, building shopping lists or when in the store.

However, perhaps no brand makes commerce innovation headlines the way Amazon does. One of the most watched of Amazon’s recent initiatives is its integration with Whole Foods, which Amazon acquired in June. Shoppers are starting to see Amazon devices like Amazon Echo, Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets on Whole Foods store shelves, for example.

To continue reading Gladys Kong’s article for CIO, please click here.

Evaluating location data measurement providers? Here are 5 questions you should ask

February 21, 2018 – MarTech Today – In the world of mobile location data, there’s an acute need for more robust education and understanding of what’s behind the information that marketers receive in measurement and attribution reports. Only by arming marketers with this knowledge will the location data measurement space achieve the high data quality standards and full transparency we as an industry need today.

Truth is, when it comes to measuring the performance of marketing and advertising efforts using mobile location data, most marketers don’t know what type of data or methodology lies beneath their reports.

For those who are ready to carefully vet their location data measurement providers, to open the hood, so to speak, there are five key areas they should address with vendors or include in RFPs, including specific questions they should ask.

To continue reading Gladys Kong’s article for MarTech Today, please click here.

Why retail is the new data industry

February 12, 2018 – CIO – At massive tech conferences like CES, SXSW, Web Summit or even Dreamforce, data is at the core of many innovations and conversations. But it’s time we add another annual event to that list: The National Retail Federation’s Big Show. More and more, the retail industry is driven by data insights and the technologies powering them. So, it came as no surprise to me when visiting NRF in New York last month, data-centric technology innovation was in the air.

The NRF’s Retail Big Show lives up to its name. It’s a whirlwind event jam-packed with smart people and smart conversations. And if you’ve ever been inside the massive halls of Manhattan’s Jacob Javits Center where the event was held, you know what I mean about “big.” So, there was a lot to take in.

After decompressing and mulling everything I was exposed to at NRF, however, I was able to process all I’d learned and distill it into a few key takeaways. Here are the big trends I saw emerge from this year’s event:

To continue reading Gladys Kong’s article for CIO, please click here.

How Mobile Data Integration Is Turning The Shopping Mall Into The Third Place

December 22, 2017 – Retail TouchPoints – Dire headlines about the state of the shopping mall conjure images of department store closeout signs, empty food courts and lonely mall Santas. But as the holiday shopping season approaches, that dreary picture is far off from reality for the innovative retail centers that are fostering modern-day community spaces. By creating experiential and social environments where people convene more than simply “buy stuff,” commercial retailers and brands are establishing what have come to be known as society’s third places — the next stop after home and work.

It’s this lifestyle experience-driven reimagining that is reinvigorating yesterday’s shopping mall, and in many cases, mobile technology and data is behind the evolution.

I know what you’re thinking — isn’t mobile commerce one of the reasons why brick-and-mortar retail and the mall are dying? Well, it’s not that simple. In fact, not only does mobile technology present compelling opportunities for smart retailers, the adoption of mobile is precisely why they have far more information to learn about who shoppers are and how to attract them than ever before.

To continue reading Gladys Kong’s article for Retail TouchPoints, please click here.

Why 2018 will be the year of mobile data measurement and insights

December 13, 2017 – CIO As a CEO of a bustling mobile tech firm, it’s my job to balance day-to-day responsibilities with the need to step back and observe, to spot the signs of important trends that affect our business. It isn’t difficult to spot one trend I believe will define 2018 for the mobile location data space: measurement. In my estimation, next year will be the year of mobile location-based measurement and insights.

Let me explain. Businesses, particularly advertisers and marketers, have employed data and metrics to gauge the effectiveness of their efforts for decades. In the mobile location data sector, the last few years have been dominated by talk of measurement and attribution. More and more marketers have expressed interest in using data showing foot traffic to retail outlets or demographics of mobile users passing by outdoor media, for example.

What’s new and what we’ll see much more of in 2018 is actual spending on this type of mobile attribution and measurement, not just on digital media, but across all media spend. Anecdotally speaking, at Ubermedia, we’re seeing tangible indications that marketers are incorporating measurement plans into their campaign budgets. Over the past year, there’s been an increase in the number of RFPs submitted by clients featuring requests for measurement related data and services.

To continue reading Gladys Kong’s article for CIO, please click here

Creating the Best Place to Work? It’s all about the Intangibles

November 20, 2017 – Women 2.0 – We use the word “team” in business all the time.

We schedule “team meetings.” We ask in interviews whether a potential employee will be a “team player” if she’s hired. But to me, it’s more than just empty business-speak. The sports analogy means something to me. It’s about the importance of keeping an open mind, building a diverse group, nurturing personal and professional growth and winning together.

As someone who believes there are a lot of similarities between athletics and running a business, I saw the camaraderie and perseverance of my own team at mobile data and analytics firm Ubermedia, rewarded recently when it was named one of LA’s Best Places to Work by the Los Angeles Business Journal and a Best Place to Work by Ad Age. Perhaps sports analogies speak to me because I played basketball in high school, ran track at Caltech, or because I am an LA Lakers fan, but most likely it’s because I’m passionate about watching my own kids play basketball. Overall, a lot of the things I see at play in sports are at play day to day at my company.

To continue reading Gladys Kong’s article for Women 2.0, please click here.

Keep Up With Cross-Shopping Customers by Using Mobile Location Data

October 23, 2017 – Dealer Marketing Magazine – It’s no secret that auto buyers shop around. In fact, they’re savvier than ever.

They come to the dealership armed with research they conducted online or with their phones and tablets. They rattle off comparison data about torque and cargo space (even if they can’t tell you what torque actually does), and they’ve got numbers on lease deals from your competitors down the street or in the next town over.

But just as in-market auto buyers have gotten smarter, so have automotive brands and dealers, and mobile location data is helping them get there. For instance, it’s showing them that mass-market brands elicit the most comparison or cross-shopping, while there’s far less dealership-visit crossover when people evaluate luxury vehicles.

This sophisticated information can show not only that buyers who went to a dealership also visited a different dealership, but specifically which competitor locations they visited, and whether they went there before or after.

It can also show when people stopped at a dealership after visiting a home goods or grocery store nearby, or have come directly from a residential location in a nearby city.

It can be combined with other data to indicate the customers’ approximate age ranges, income levels, and other demographic data, such as whether they are likely to have children.

All of this is good news for today’s dealers. It means they have the opportunity to be as data-driven in their roles in the auto-selling process as their customers are on the buy side.

To continue reading Gladys Kong’s article for Dealer Marketing Magazine, please click here.

Location data beyond the marketing department: A look at 3 use cases

October 20, 2017 – MarTech Today As mobile location data evolves beyond just ad targeting, contributor Eric Aledort takes a look at how it’s being applied across the entire enterprise, from urban planning to the pricing of real estate.

More and more marketers are using mobile location data to target their ad spend: In 2015, eight in 10 marketers worldwide used location targeting for mobile advertising, according to eMarketer. In the near future, mobile location data will saturate media buying and attribution reporting in the mobile-first era, becoming a fundamental characteristic of advertising.

But that’s only a partial view of its bright future and potential. Location data is already evolving beyond ad targeting to become a core asset informing strategic decisions across the entire enterprise. And as the use cases for location data expand, so too does the variety and number of enterprises that can leverage it.

In the next few years, mobile location data will continue to expand its reach throughout the rest of the enterprise. It will play a bigger role in the placement of stores, the pricing of real estate, even the layout of cities and transit lines. Here are a few near-term use cases where we are already seeing signs of adoption.

To continue reading Eric Aledort’s article for MarTech Today, please click here.

Everyone’s Grading Their Own Homework

September 28, 2017 – Ad Age In a series of planned public appearances earlier this year, Procter & Gamble Co.’s Marc Pritchard delivered a pointed message to the media industry helmed by the digital duopoly of Facebook and Google. “Stop grading your own homework,” Pritchard said, by which he meant allowing no third-party oversight for the performance of ads on their platforms. In March, both Google and Facebook said they would subject their metrics to oversight by the Media Ratings Council. Spurred on by a resurgent buy-side, it seemed for a moment that third-party measurement was gaining an edge, and that the era of platforms grading their own homework was coming to an end.

Then things changed. Just a month later, Oracle bought MOAT, a third-party ad viewability measurement company, for $850 million. In June, Snapchat purchased Placed, a location-based measurement company, effectively ending its run as an independent measurement option for agencies and publishers. Doubleverify was recently acquired by Providence Equity Partners, en route to “a forever home with a player like Nielsen, Adobe or, more likely, one of the larger marketing clouds,” according to AdExchanger’s analysis. And finally, there is open speculation about who will swoop in to buy Integral Ad Science, the last of the major third-party measurement providers.

Just as major ad players vowed to stop grading their own homework, they starting buying the entities responsible for grading it.

To continue reading Michael Hayes’ article for Ad Age, please click here.

It’s called the ‘Pao effect’ — Asian women in tech are fighting deep-rooted discrimination

September 19, 2017 – USA Today Sysamone Phaphon felt lucky when, after quitting her job in health care to start a tech company, she was approached by an investor at a pitch competition.

It was only after the investor lured her on a business trip to New York that she realized the offer to help her raise money was a ruse to sleep with her.

Phaphon says it’s an all too common experience for Asian women to get sexually harassed in the tech industry, part of routine discrimination that hampers their careers.

“I wasn’t the only woman at the pitch competition,” says Phaphon, founder of FilmHero, a Web app for independent filmmakers. “I was the one he hit on because I was Asian.”

By most measures, Asians and Asian Americans are well represented in tech, with 41% of jobs in Silicon Valley’s top companies. Though Asian women hold fewer of those jobs than Asian men, they’re employed in far greater numbers than other women of color, leading some to assume they do not face the same levels of discrimination as African Americans and Latinas.

Yet research from Joan C. Williams, a professor at UC Hastings College of the Law, shows that Asian women report experiencing as much bias, and sometimes more, than other women do. And Asian women are the demographic group that is the least represented in the executive suite relative to their percentage in the workforce, according to a study of major San Francisco Bay Area tech companies by the nonprofit Ascend Foundation.

“Asian women face a double whammy of racial and gender discrimination,” says Bo Ren, who worked as a product manager at Facebook and Tumblr…

…Even with so many constraints, Asian women are making their mark in tech, from holding management jobs in major tech companies to running their own start-ups and venture funds. And that’s lighting the way for others.

Every time Gladys Kong attends a tech conference, someone walks up to her and asks her a marketing or sales question while her male colleagues fields technical questions.

“I either have to wear a sign that I am an engineer or I have to show them I know what I am talking about,” says Kong. “Yet I am the one behind building the product.”

To continue reading Gladys Kong’s comments for USA Today, please click here