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About Our guest

John Rougeux - Vice President of Marketing at Skyfii

John is obsessed with B2B branding because it's his goal in life to help the best ideas win

John is the VP of Marketing at Skyfii - an emerging technology company that provides data analytics and marketing services to physical venues. Prior to his role at Skyfii, he founder a SaaS startup and worked in marketing for Yum! Brands.

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Show notes

Part 1

John’s Background And Getting Into Data & Services Business for Brick and Mortar Retail (03:15)

My career path was a little bit unorthodox. I studied English and my first job out of college was actually in Finance. From there I moved into project management and then program management.

Later on, one of my friends started a business that was trying to disrupt a social gaming space. So back in 2010, I joined this gaming company which allowed you to take actions in the game. For example, spending money in the game. All of that activity supported real-world charitable organizations - providing meals, shoes, and clothes for kids. We were also involved with some animal causes.

From there we started a new company called Causely, which helped local businesses generate word of mouth referrals on social media - especially Facebook and Instagram. 

The Overall Landscape of Brick and Mortar Businesses (06:20)

This is an interesting time for brick and mortar retail. In the past couple of years, media was full of sensationalist headlines about this retail apocalypse and how Amazon was taking over everything. Those are still concerns and there’s no lack of challenges when it comes to the brick and mortar space.

In my opinion, some of these things were overblown because retail is reinventing itself from being a place which is purely driven by transactions to a place which is more driven by experiences. That space is there to provide tangible experience. For example, many people will go to a store to lay down on a mattress before they decide to buy it. Brands are aware of that.

Warby Parker is a great example. Their salespeople are more focused on helping you find the right glasses and less about pushing you to make a transaction straight away.

The Integration of The Tech Community Into The Brick And Mortar Space (10:11) 

A digital property would never really succeed without a really clear understanding of who's on their site and how they behave while they're there. That being said, a brick and mortar retailer, has very little data about who their visitors are.

The number one challenge that they face is that transition from being focused on transactions to experience. Another important challenge is related to data - it’s very hard to consistently make good decisions if you don't have enough quality data.

What we do at Skyfii - we help businesses take data from the digital and from the physical world, and we put that together to give them a more comprehensive understanding of customer behavior.

Collecting And Merging Data Together (12:25) 

The structure is different from business to business. We start with things such as email campaign performance, website analytics, shopping, and even things like point of sale. These are the data that most businesses have.

The physical side of things is a little bit more interesting. We will take data primarily from WiFi, Bluetooth foot counters, and cameras. They provide information on how many people visited the venue, how they behaved while they were there, how long they stayed, and even their profile.

Privacy Concerns (15:55)

That’s something that we take pretty seriously. And we look at data as a way to improve the experiences for the people that the brand interacts with. For some people, the best experience is to be completely anonymous, and we are not trying to trick them into providing us data.

Many customers will have an interest in sharing data because they recognize that by doing so, they are able to get a more relevant information and more informed experience while at that location.

GDPR is not mandatory in the US yet, but we have been on board with it from day one.

How Does Merging Online and Offline Data Help Improve The Customer Experience (18:07)

You have to start with understanding who your customers are. If you don't then it's really hard to come forward with the right messaging, the right experience or the right offers. Also, without rich data you are only focusing on a few sources.

Part 2

How Brick and Mortar Companies Attract People Back To Their Stores (03:20)

We could focus on two practices that digital marketers have done for years, but that are relatively new to the physical space. They are visitor segmentation and conversion tracking.

Most marketers are aware that visitors to your website don’t fall within a single buyer persona. For digital properties, tools like Google Analytics provide a fairly amount of data. They can also do surveys or use other tracking sentiment tools.

For a physical venue, that's always been a little bit of a challenge. Sometimes they were manually taking survey data, but it was always kind of challenging to get data at scale.

What we are finding is that nowadays, shopping centers can map different data points together to create richer and more tailored shopper profiles.

Conversion Tracking (07:17)

Conversion tracking is the holy grail of marketing. If you know what campaigns actually drove action, then you know where to continue to invest your time and if you know what doesn't work, you can eliminate that or try something else.

What we're finding is that once shopping centers or other retailers can engage visitors digitally - on their phones or laptops while they're in that space - that creates the door to start some initial conversion tracking.

Once people connect to a place digitally - they'll usually provide some sort of contact information such as email, phone number, social media login. This opens the door of opportunity for retailers to then send messages or offers to those visitors.

The Future Of This Space (09:25)

It's hard to say how it's going to shake out but I think there's going to be a balance there. On one side we have security issues and how people’s data is used, and those are good concerns to have.

On the other side, we are starting to see that experiences can be more interesting, more useful, and more fun.

Advice For Young Marketers Interested In This Field (11:50) 

We are launching a podcast in the next couple of weeks called “People in Places”. We will be interviewing people who are experts and practitioners in this space so be sure to check it out for some great advice.

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