Verve’s Bernard Brings Mantra Of ‘Drive The Visit’ To Role Of CMO

June 19, 2015 — GeoMarketing —During Verve Mobile incoming-CMO Julie Bernard’s five years at Macy’s, she helped craft the department store chain’s strategies around driving consumer loyalty and other “data-driven” programs.

As she prepares to officially begin her new job at Verve next week, Bernard plans to take all the questions and concerns she had on the marketer side and show how a company rooted in mobile marketing can use geo-targeting and data to develop a full “omnichannel” strategy.

“At Macy’s, among other things, I was responsible for testing and learning initiatives intended to further extract value from customers’ data and see how it could be applied, not only against traditional marketing use cases and direct marketing, but for insights against the entire enterprise of the business,” said Bernard, who, before Macy’s made her mark during her 14 years at Saks Fifth Avenue. “Whether it’s merchandising or pricing or omnichannel shopping experiences online, in-store, or on mobile, it’s all about driving loyal customer behavior and how to measure against all of that. That’s what I plan to bring to my post at Verve.”

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Verve Mobile Names Retail Marketing Vet Julie Bernard CMO

June 17, 2015 — GeoMarketing — Less than two months after Verve Mobile CEO Nada Stirratt emphasized the need to find a CMO that could help sharpen the company’s identity in the omnichannel marketplace, department store marketing vet Julie Bernard has been tapped for that role.

Bernard brings about two decades of experience in shaping retail marketing through her most previous post as SVP for customer strategy, data science, and loyalty at Macy’s. She’s been recognized for setting the unit that connected sales efforts to interactive loyalty programs.

“Data is a competitive advantage and Verve’s wealth of proprietary intelligence allows us to break through in the category,” said Bernard in a statement. “Verve’s momentum and market leadership is incredibly impressive, and I am excited to dig in with the talented team and continue to build entirely new experiences and benefits for our brands and retailers.”

Before Macy’s, Bernard made her mark over her 14-year tenure at Saks Fifth Avenue. She held a variety of executive posts at Saks, ultimately rising to the role of SVP for retail systems and vendor relations. That last job charged Bernard with developing ways to enhance the “customer experience” through the use of data technology across merchandising, marketing, and store management.

“With the majority of commerce happening at physical stores, we sought a marketing expert with a proven track record in the retail space to help our customers better engage with theirs, ” Stirratt said in a statement. “Julie is an exceptional, award-winning, executive to bring this expertise to Verve. From her experience scaling customer strategies via advanced behavioral analytics and attribution to her strong operational leadership, I couldn’t be more proud to have her join the Verve executive team.”

Verve Mobile Hires Retail Marketing Executive Julie Bernard as Chief Marketing Officer

Former Macy’s SVP of customer strategy to orchestrate marketing functions as Verve scales in-store retail product expansion

NEW YORK, NY – June 17, 2015Verve Mobile, the leading location-based mobile marketing platform, today announced the appointment of Julie Bernard as the company’s new chief marketing officer. Bernard, who brings over two decades of retail marketing experience, will direct the company’s corporate, product, sales marketing and communications efforts.

Following Verve’s acquisition of beacon and mobile wallet campaign platform Fosbury, Bernard’s appointment reflects the company’s commitment to transforming the retail market through the use of location-driven mobile marketing. She will be based in the company’s New York headquarters, reporting to chief executive officer, Nada Stirratt.

“With the majority of commerce happening at physical stores, we sought a marketing expert with a proven track record in the retail space to help our customers better engage with theirs, “said Verve Mobile CEO, Nada Stirratt. “Julie is an exceptional, award-winning, executive to bring this expertise to Verve. From her experience scaling customer strategies via advanced behavioral analytics and attribution to her strong operational leadership, I couldn’t be more proud to have her join the Verve executive team.”

Most recently, Bernard was senior vice president of customer strategy, data science and loyalty at Macy’s, a role in which she helped Macy’s deliver exciting and nationally recognized omnichannel marketing campaigns. Specifically, she was credited with building a best-in-class team that successfully executed inventive initiatives that drove sales and delivered customer relevance, including award-winning highly personalized communications and Macy’s first-of-a-kind coalition loyalty program.

Bernard began her career at Saks Fifth Avenue, where she enjoyed fourteen years in various executive positions throughout the organization, rising to senior vice president of retail systems and vendor relations. In that role, she improved business management, enhanced customer experience and increased profit margins by implementing appropriately unique technology solutions in merchandising, marketing and stores.

“Data is a competitive advantage and Verve’s wealth of proprietary intelligence allows us to break through in the category,” said Bernard. “Verve’s momentum and market leadership is incredibly impressive, and I am excited to dig in with the talented team and continue to build entirely new experiences and benefits for our brands and retailers.”

Bernard is a graduate of Hamilton College, graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government. She serves as vice chair of the board of directors for the Direct Marketing Association and participates in a variety of industry forums as a keynote speaker.

Verve Mobile Acquisition of Startup Fosbury Signals More Beacon Buys to Come

June 10, 2015 — AdAge Verve Mobile, a firm focused on location-based advertising, acquired beacon-centric campaign management technology Fosbury for an undisclosed sum. It’s a small deal, but Verve Mobile’s move portends an inevitable consolidation within the sprawling beacon space.

Verve delivers hundreds of millions of mobile ad impressions each day, typically messages enticing consumers to click to receive a discount or deal of some kind. The Fosbury buy will help Verve act on location data for message targeting more rapidly and allow that targeting to be based on more granular information. It also gives Verve a tech platform to add mobile wallet payment functionality to their ads.

“We would like to add that to every one of our creative units,” said Tom Kenney, president and founder of Verve Mobile, regarding Verve’s mobile wallet capability. “This enables us to do that.”

Beacon technology has been adopted by retailers, eateries and other businesses large and small around the globe, forming a complex web of third-party technologies and partnerships among retailers, shopping centers and mobile tracking and ad firms. This recent acquisition is bound to be among the first of many in the cluttered beacon space.

The deal marks the first major initiative at Verve of Nada Stirratt, who joined Verve as CEO in April following a three-year stint at marketing data services giant Acxiom.

Fosbury’s technology works with more than 10 different beacon hardware systems such as Mobiquity, Gimbal and Roximity, and that’s key for Verve. Think of that universal beacon SDK (software developer kit) as similar to a universal television remote, though in this case rather than helping one TV remote talk to a television, DVD player, or other accessories, Fosbury’s technology will serve as a way for Verve to communicate with multiple beacon platforms through a singular system.

“This helps us bring a solution to the table that’s ready,” said Mr. Kenney. “We now have the ability to go to Mobiquity [for instance] and say, ‘Let’s go.'”

Fosbury’s consolidated technology will streamline Verve’s connections to beacon platforms, and allow it to act on ad campaign opportunities for brand and retail clients more rapidly because the necessary connections to the beacon hardware found in stores and shopping malls have already been made. It also brings a much larger pool of consumers who already have opted in to shopping and store brand apps that feature those individual SDKs, essentially letting Verve target far more pre-opted-in shoppers based on beacon data.

Verve also expects the universality of Fosbury’s platform to help it target messages better to consumers in stores, based on more refined location data than it’s been able to access before. For example, it could now aim ads based on the fact someone is in a particular store department. “This allows us to pick that back up in the store and continue the messaging,” said Mr. Kenney. “It brings us closer to a closed-loop offering in stores.”

Fosbury’s home base was in the Netherlands, though the company came on the scene in the U.S. through its participation in the TechStars startup accelerator program in Austin. The four principals and creators of the technology at Fosbury are not part of the acquisition.

Verve and Fosbury have worked together for around six months previous to the acquisition, according to Mr. Kenney, who said some of the firm’s execs will serve as consultants after Fosbury is folded into Verve.

“It’s a small deal,” said Mr. Kenney of the acquisition, noting that the fact that the startup’s principals are based in The Netherlands led to Verve’s decision to buy the technology only rather than keep it intact with its creators. However, he said he expects many more beacon tech acquisitions to come. “There’s definitely going to be a significant rollup.”

Verve’s Acquisition Of Fosbury Puts Marketers In The Mobile Wallet

June 9, 2015 — GeoMarketing Less than two months after Nada Stirratt took over as Verve Mobile’s CEO, the location ad platform has acquired Fosbury, which has become a major player in the indoor marketing space.

Stirratt’s first acquisition hints at the subtle changes in direction she wants to take the decade-old company, whose roots began as a mobile ad network.

As she concentrates more heavily on serving smartphone ads designed to increase shops’ and brands’ offline retail business with closer ties to agencies as well as publishers, the purchase of Fosbury helps broaden the company’s position by giving Verve greater control over consumer engagement programs while people are in-store and at the checkout counter.

Making Mobile Pay… And Pay

The strategy is an expansion of the one pursued at Verve under Tom MacIssac and James Smith, the New York-based company’s former CEO and CRO, respectively. Over the past year, Verve has worked to tap into the rise of beacons and the use of mobile pay via ads made for Apple Passbook — soon to be called “Apple Wallet” — and through partnerships with the likes of beacon maker Gimbal.

Although some location ad industry observers believe that the best, most scalable use of geo-data based advertising lie in attempts to trace consumers place patterns over time to build better audience segments. The idea is that there is simply not enough scale to target ads at consumers as they’ve already made their decision of what and where to shop.

But Verve cites the expectation that beacons and proximity-based advertising will drive $44.4 billion in U.S. in-store retail sales next year, according to BI Intelligence’s often-reported estimates And since location-based mobile campaigns are the center of the online-to-offline marketing space, Verve is well-placed to take advantage of the growing interest in this area of programmatic advertising. Furthermore, having the data that comes from regular consumers’ visitation rates — which can be measured, in part, by beacons — and the (anonymous) spending info from mobile payments processed by Fosbury’s software.

Fosbury’s clients include brands such as American Express and Chobani, which also should help Verve boost revenues as it’s likely to make further changes in its sales structure under its new CEO.

The Changing Face of Mobile Commerce: ShopSavvy, RetailMeNot & Verve

June 9, 2015 — MediaPost In and around mobile commerce, some things stay the same but things around those things tend to evolve and expand.

Three recent but totally unrelated mobile program modifications caught my eye over the last few days.

First, ShopSavvy, one of my favorite apps for in-store price checking since its launch several years ago, evolved its app to cater to shoppers. The app started aggregating all sales from more than 500,000 retailers and created more than 3,000 navigational product categories.

I now receive push notifications from ShopSavvy highlighting nearby sales. The app gives the option of not being notified, though not sure which mobile shoppers won’t want to be notified of nearby sales.

The app started as a price checking utility, which it still does, but evolved to identifying deals and sales.

A second example is RetailMeNot, a location-based deals app I’ve been using since forever ago.

The Austin-based company just introduced a new products section featuring curated products available at merchants with mobile-optimized websites. A product click brings the shopper to a page for completing a purchase and handling shipping details.

While starting as an app to provide location-based coupons, which it still does, RetailMeNot evolved so that manufacturers of products that sell items through other retailers can advertise directly to targeted mobile shoppers through the RetailMeNot app.

A third example this week is the acquisition by Verve Mobile of beacon software company Fosbury.

“We’re good at driving people to the store and we’re seeing beacons as an extension,” Tom Kenney, co-founder and president of Verve Mobile, told me yesterday.

Verve manages 4 billion ad impressions a day and the beacon capability addition will allow the company to extend the location-ad targeting into the store, based on product proximity, Kenney said.

While starting as an ad serving platform and working with thousands of advertisers, Verve is expanding from driving people to the store, which it will continue to do, to driving consumers in stores to the cash register.

While not related, ShopSavvy, RetailMeNot and Verve are good examples of how mobile commerce is evolving, while still staying the same.

Mobile wallets, smart coupons, and iBeacons: Verve Mobile acquires Fosbury

June 9, 2015 — VentureBeat Location, location, location. No, it’s not the old adage of real estate — it’s the new “last mile” of advertising. While e-commerce and m-commerce are growing fast, old-fashioned bricks-and-mortar purchasing is still 93 percent of all retail sales. Which means that brands and companies who want to address the bulk of consumer spending still need to think hard about local.

Mobile advertising platform Verve Mobile, which bills itself as a “location-based mobile platform,” announced this morning that it has purchased beacon technology platform Fosbury to, it says, further link mobile marketing to offline retail performance.

“Fosbury’s Apple Passbook, Google and Samsung wallet capabilities augment the success and scale of retailers’ marketing and loyalty programs by allowing businesses to advertise their presence to nearby smartphones,” Verve president Tom Kenney said via email. “The Fosbury acquisition allows Verve to integrate Passbook and Wallet functionality as one of our key secondary actions into all of our mobile advertising campaigns, driving more in-store customer engagement and sales.”

In other words, Fosbury isn’t just about beacons.

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Verve Mobile Acquires Beacon Technology Platform Fosbury To Further Link Mobile Marketing to Offline Retail Performance

Integrated solution combines the power of location-based mobile offers with best-in-class beacon technology

NEW YORK, NY – June 9, 2015 – Verve Mobile, the leading location-based mobile marketing platform, today announced the acquisition of Fosbury, an innovator in the beacon and mobile wallet space. For more than a decade, Verve has driven customers into stores with proprietary device location targeting and premium inventory on behalf of some of the biggest brands in the world. The Fosbury acquisition provides marketers with an even greater and more precise ability to both initiate the engagement as well as validate when consumers are in-store and in the purchase mindset.

With beacon-triggered messaging expected to drive $44.4 billion in U.S. in-store retail sales next year, location-based mobile campaigns will be instrumental in how retailers engage consumers and influence sales through relevant messaging. Since 2012, Fosbury has partnered with global brands from American Express to Chobani to drive mobile product innovation and customer experiences.

“What Verve does better than anyone else is engage consumers via their devices and drive them into stores,” said Nada Stirratt, chief executive officer, Verve Mobile, “Fosbury further enhances this ability by maintaining that consumer connection for marketers in a more personalized and meaningful way, with the ultimate goal of driving them to the cash registers. That’s incredibly powerful and available to marketers immediately.”

New Verve CEO: Mobile/Location Combo Will Continue to Increase in Importance

May 1, 2015 — Street Fight Mag In the past two years, mobile ad tech has gone from an immature testing ground to a battlefield with billions of dollars at stake. In this struggle, location data has emerged as one of the most sought after assets in the mobile media mix, fueling the growth of a handful of local-centric mobile marketing startups.

One of the earliest players, Verve Mobile, has reached a turning point in its own evolution. The company parted ways with longtime CEO Tom MacIsaac in April, introducing former Acxiom CRO Nada Stirratt as the new chief executive. Stirratt faces an advertising industry in the throes of a deep transition to programmatic buying, even though mobile media is substantially farther along than its desktop counterpart.

Street Fight caught up with Stirratt to talk about the company’s vision for the future of the industry.

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Verve Mobile Appoints Chief Business Development Officer Brad Herman to Advance Strategic Partnerships and Corporate Strategy

NEW YORK – April 27, 2015  Following the recent appointment of chief executive officer Nada Stirratt, Verve Mobile, the leader in location-based mobile advertising, today announced the appointment of Brad Herman to the newly created role of chief business development officer, effective immediately. In this key leadership role, Herman will report directly to Stirratt and will be responsible for Verve’s go-to-market strategy and accelerating strategic partnerships and business development. 

Herman joins Verve from online video advertising platform Videology. As the company’s chief media officer, Herman was responsible for all media operations, corporate development, product strategy, sales and publisher relations. He was instrumental in building the company’s demand platform and in forging a number of strategic partnerships with prominent media partners including Google and Sony.

“The complexity of serving location-based advertising on mobile devices for marketers of all levels requires continual innovation across many different constituencies,” said Nada Stirratt, chief executive officer, Verve Mobile. “Brad Herman is a proven talent in developing product partnerships and driving unique service relationships to accelerate revenue growth. Having Brad join me to focus on these efforts is a true honor and I’m extremely confident that he will quickly have a positive impact on Verve’s business.”

Prior to Videology, Herman worked for Stirratt at MTV Networks, where he was senior vice president of digital operations. Here he oversaw digital sales and campaign operations, strategy, yield optimization, business intelligence and product development. Herman was also responsible for streamlining MTV’s ad serving system and played a critical role in negotiating a $500 million partnership between Viacom and Microsoft, granting the latter the exclusive right to market Viacom’s unsold advertising inventory.

“Today, the opportunity for location-based advertising is significant and global and the seamless integration of product and corporate strategy is critical,” said Herman. “I am excited to join Verve and help accelerate the investments of such an innovative company.”

Herman holds a B.A. in economics from Duke University and is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law. His rich legal expertise has generated over $3 billion across a wide variety of transactional, financial and security matters. As the senior director of corporate development at Advertising.com Herman was recruited by the CEO to drive the company’s liquidity strategy and ultimately led the platform’s IPO process that culminated in a $435 million sale to AOL.

He will be based in Verve’s Washington, D.C. office.

How Location Became The Tail Wagging The Future of Mobile Ad Creative

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By: Joel Fisher, VP & Creative Director, Verve Mobile

This article was originally published in Mobile Marketer Daily

Mobile is unique to other advertising channels. Its connection to real-world behavior makes an ad’s context, content and creative critical to its success.

According to eMarketer, time spent on mobile devices has grown by an impressive 529 percent since 2010, surpassing all forms of traditional media including television. It should come as no surprise that mobile ad spend is expected to surpass desktop for the first time this year.

We know that location-informed mobile campaigns yield powerful results. Campaigns that leverage location-based targeting outperform those that do not. 

In fact, mobile campaigns generate three times the amount of foot traffic and produce a 27 percent increase in sales on average, according to our data.

Looking at the most successful location-informed mobile campaigns over the past 18 months, it is clear there are several creative techniques that drive more traffic to the aisles, showrooms and tables of advertisers.

Here is a snapshot of what works best for advertisers on mobile.

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Travel Marketers Put Personalization Back on the Map in 2015

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By: Alison Corbat, Executive Director, Sales Planning, Verve

While travel brands take strides to achieve superior levels of customer personalization, few travel marketers have seen real success. Even brands that have prospered have done so at the macro level and outside the sphere of digital. A mainstream consumer’s travel ‘experience’ – often generic and impersonal – has traditionally left much to be desired, but it appears like things are about to change. 2015 is shaping up to be the year that travel marketers focus on what it means to offer a deeply unique and personal experience to passengers and guests.

Today, brands must adapt to the needs of the on the go, unwearied vacationer by combining distinct, tailored digital offerings and the consumer need for instant gratification in the mobile marketplace.

Hotels brands like Kimpton Hotels have begun to take advantage of the real-time feedback and market intelligence that can be exchanged over mobile devices, and they’re using this information to provide comprehensive solutions to meet the individual needs of consumers.

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The Future Of Dynamic Mobile Ads [Infographic]

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The growth of mobile has snowballed to the point where mobile media has surpassed online traffic, making up 70% of all digital traffic in the U.S. In that time, the smartphone has become ubiquitous and the creative executions more sophisticated and compelling to consumers.

One of the most exciting developments is leveraging location data to inform audience targeting and segmentation. Smart advertisers are now looking to leverage a consumer’s location to tailor ad served to them in the midst of his path to purchase. The below infographic – now live on CMO.com – is a summary of the best performing mobile ad creative (from the past year), showcasing the techniques that best utilize location data to boost engagement and campaign performance.

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CPG Brands Drive Sales With Location-Powered Mobile Ads [Infographic]

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CPG is the fastest-growing category in location-powered advertising—the third largest location-powered advertising vertical — and is on track to continue its heavy spending in 2015. Location-aware mobile advertising is a proven driver of measurable foot traffic to retail. It works best by blending first- and third-party data, location-informed audience targeting, and precise proximity targeting, to ensure CPG brand messages are served in and around a shopper’s real world path to purchase.

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