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Ebates exec brings expertise to Savannah

  • Belinda Baugniet

As director of marketing, Canada for Ebates Inc., one of the biggest rewards-based online shopping sites, and former head of marketing, Canada for Yahoo, Belinda Baugniet knows what it takes to capture potential customers.

Next week, Baugniet will be the guest speaker at Georgia Tech’s final 2017 Learners & Leaders session held from 11:30 to 1 p.m. Thursday at the Savannah Morning News building where she will share her expertise on current state of digital marketing and trends, including mobile technology, livestreaming, wireless and one-click payments.

Savannah Morning News reporter Katie Nussbaum recently spoke to Baugniet ahead of the session to find how small and local businesses can get the most from their marketing efforts.

What are some ways small, local businesses can utilize digital marketing?

More and more consumers are targeting the way they look for information to be more local. Search interest in the term “open now” has tripled in the last two years. Search is a key part of a small business digital marketing strategy, local businesses can maximize impact by ensuring simple things like address, directions and click to call information are front and center when consumers are looking for their product or service.

How do you recommend a new business with limited marketing experience get started with digital marketing?

As with any marketing strategy, understanding your consumer is the key. Understanding the daily online habits of your customers will help identify the key places in their digital day when your marketing message will have the biggest impact, whether that is via email, social or other digital channels.

How has social media marketing changed the industry?

Social media has created an interesting platform for customers to share their sentiments (good or bad) in real time. How businesses respond to negative comments and leverage good reviews can be a full-time job in itself! According to recent a recent consumer review survey, 7 out of 10 consumers said positive reviews on social make them trust a business more – so your online reputation can have a direct impact on a consumer’s decision to buy from you.

How often should a company reevaluate their marketing plan?

I think that digital marketing provides an exciting opportunity for businesses to be constantly reevaluating. Marketers have access to real time results and can understand what to continue, repeat or pause based on the success of their campaigns. At a minimum, I would say that reevaluating digital marketing tactics on a quarterly basis is critical as new technologies and advertising formats and features are being released all the time.

What are some of the bigger digital marketing trends for 2017 and what can we expect to see in 2018?

Mobile. Mobile. Mobile. Smartphones are empowering consumers to communicate, search for businesses, and even purchase, no matter where they are. The typical mobile user spends an average of 5 hours a day using their phone, and 70 percent of the U.S. population owns a smartphone. As more consumers use these devices as their primary source of accessing the internet, having a mobile marketing strategy that includes a mobile optimized experience is becoming essential to reach them.

Baugniet’s talk, which will include remarks followed by an interactive discussion, will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Savannah Morning News, 1375 Chatham Parkway. Lunch and networking will begin at 11:30 a.m.; the program will run noon to 1 p.m. Cost, including lunch, is $15. Register at http://pe.gatech.edu/Sav-Learners

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