I had the honor to meet Jonathan Barouch, the founder of the social media management company Local Measure recently. The Sydney-based entrepreneur started one of Australia's first e-commerce businesses as a young teen in 1999 and it’s nice to see that he doesn’t seem to have lost even a bit of his bursting energy when we met in MediaBUZZ’s office in Singapore.

His company captures a customer’s location when entering a certain area, called geo-fencing, and correlates that demographic usage to create targeted communication, offers and promotions over a certain period to look for patterns or relationships that would be valuable to resellers and advertisers.

jonathan_barouch1The start-up’s cloud software solution offers analytics on local content for Instagram, Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter, helping retailers to identify loyal customers, respond in real-time to consumer feedback and engage and retain regular customers. In other words, Local Measure gives businesses access to a powerful social media monitoring tool on a store-by-store basis.

The company’s mission is bringing distinguished social media data together, based on location and in real time, providing brick-and-mortar companies with an ideal social marketing tool that helps gaining insights into social media conversations at their stores. Understanding what customers like or dislike, and being able to react in real-time, gives businesses a competitive edge. By leveraging aggregated data across social media platforms, Local Measure provides meaningful insights in real-time, allowing brands to adjust their strategy or marketing campaign immediately, based on live feedback.

“With billions of pieces of social data broadcast online every day, Local Measure aims to make sense of all the noise by creating meaningful insights about social behavior and consumer interactions at a store’s business location. What we built is Google Analytics for the real world, for bricks-and-mortar businesses, based on customer data from social media platforms”, Jonathan said.

Admitting that there are thousands of competitors in the social media monitoring business right now, Jonathan explained that there are, however, still only a few that help brick-and-mortar companies to understand their customers. Instead of just monitoring social media chats, Local Measure allows retailers to view any customer feedback communicated inside the store, even if the shopper didn’t specifically name the brand. So, to no surprise, Jonathan and his team identified a real demand from smaller businesses that wanted a simple, effective tool to listen and engage with customers at their stores. In fact, the Local Measure platform works as a targeted marketing channel that provides businesses with the tools to:

  • Engage directly with people who are interested in their brand or business;
  • Generate demand and grow interest in their product offering or service;
  • Manage their local messaging across multiple social platforms.

An online dashboard offers analytics and shows, for instance, how many people are talking, where the conversations are taking place, or what platforms are being used.

The company’s proprietary technology, which uses geo-location to find and discover activity taking place publicly on social media, definitely gets the attention of retailers. It pulls in public check-in data from Facebook and Foursquare, combines it with geo-tagged tweets and Instagram updates, and adjusts that content to a location.

Just recently Local Measure announced its first customer in Singapore and the Philippines – Gelatissimo – that will use their social media tool in over 40 stores. The announcement comes off the back of Local Measure’s plans to expand its presence into South East Asia, where the company sees great business potential.

“The volume of conversations you get in Asia is incredibly high and as expected mainly experienced on mobile devices in real time”, Jonathan affirms.

Considering that mobile devices can capture trillions of bytes of unstructured information about customers, we can imagine how social network sites are further fueling the exponential growth in data that can be analyzed and be of great value for retailers and the economy as a whole, can’t we?

Local Measure even allows businesses to tap into a company’s social media 'blind spots', considering that in most conversations a brand’s name often isn’t specifically mentioned, making the solution just more interesting.

“Imagine someone complaining in the cinema about it being too cold or about a restaurant toilet being dirty”, Jonathan explained. “With our monitoring tool the operators can fix complains immediately, as we know exactly who the customers are, or how often they come. It’s a terrific operational tool – a kind of social CRM tool – that provides valuable insights from the data gained through the user generated content that is analyzed language agnostic”, Jonathan added.

Picking the right analytics tool is crucial for getting insights into customer sentiments and knowing how to tailor-make marketing strategies to target valuable customers and improve customer experience. Only then, retailers can leverage the information properly to determine the next step to assuage customer concerns.

Asked what he sees as a key challenge for a social media monitoring company, Jonathan replied immediately what we already expected, “finding the engineering staff to build such a platform that scales and finding appropriate partners”.

But how about meeting him in person on June 14, 2013 at ad:tech Singapore when he presents The New Social Metrics – Geo Data Adding The Missing Context To The Social Media Puzzle.

I won’t miss it, for sure!

By Daniela La Marca