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.