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Episode 3: Ethan Chernofsky, Placer.ai
Episode 314th March 2022 • The Backstory on Marketing • Guy Powell
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About Ethan:

Ethan is the VP of Marketing for Placer.ai and loves helping businesses unlock the power of location analytics.  Prior to Placer, Ethan was the Director of Corporate Marketing at SimilarWeb and the Vice President of Headline Media.  Ethan shares his expertise in applying location data to marketing research questions and business goals, especially for retail businesses.  Ethan explains how studying location data and asking the right business question drives marketing ROI.

Guy’s Exclusive Offer:

Guy wants to offer podcast listeners exclusive content from his upcoming book, The Post: Covid Marketing Machine: Prepare your Team to Win.  Check out Guy's exclusive offer to access excerpts from the book and receive a free consultation from the ProRelevant team!

Links:

Placer.ai website

Ethan Chernofsky LinkedIn

Guy’s exclusive offer

Pre-order The Post-Covid Marketing Machine

Find out more about ProRelevant

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Transcripts

Guy Powell:

Hi, I'm Guy Powell and welcome to the February

Guy Powell:

episode of the Backstory on Marketing. If you haven't

Guy Powell:

already done so please visit pro relevant.com. And sign up for

Guy Powell:

all of these episodes and podcasts. I am the author of the

Guy Powell:

upcoming book The Post-COVID Marketing Machine: Prepare Your

Guy Powell:

Team to Win. You can find more information on this at my

Guy Powell:

website marketing.machine.prorelevant.com.

Guy Powell:

Today we're speaking with Ethan churn offski. He is the Vice

Guy Powell:

President of Marketing for playster.ai. And prior to play,

Guy Powell:

sir, he held senior marketing roles at similar web and

Guy Powell:

headline media. Welcome, Ethan.

Ethan Chernofsky:

Thank you so much guy. Great to be here.

Guy Powell:

Yeah. So glad to have you. I'm always really

Guy Powell:

impressed with the place or offering and, and I just find

Guy Powell:

that that whole technology to be fascinating. But before we get

Guy Powell:

started, tell us a little bit about the genesis of how you got

Guy Powell:

into marketing.

Ethan Chernofsky:

Sure. So I actually kind of my marketing

Ethan Chernofsky:

career started in, in kind of public relations and the PR side

Ethan Chernofsky:

of things. And originally I had want, I finished kind of grad

Ethan Chernofsky:

school and I wanted to be a journalist and I had offers to

Ethan Chernofsky:

go work at a couple of a couple of outlets. And I saw how much

Ethan Chernofsky:

those outlets were paying. And we were pregnant with our first

Ethan Chernofsky:

child. And I realized that I probably wasn't going to be a

Ethan Chernofsky:

journalist. So I went to PR thinking it was the flip side of

Ethan Chernofsky:

journalism, obviously, it's far from it. But it was just this

Ethan Chernofsky:

really interesting entry point into into marketing and under

Ethan Chernofsky:

getting to work with, you know, dozens of really exciting

Ethan Chernofsky:

companies and understand how they approach marketing, how

Ethan Chernofsky:

they view the building brands, and then taking that that's kind

Ethan Chernofsky:

of how my career got kicked off.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, interesting. And I guess PR, yeah, the

Guy Powell:

opposite of journalism would be maybe PR for like a politician

Guy Powell:

or for whatever, something like that. But yeah, PR in the

Guy Powell:

business world is definitely like journalists. Well, I don't

Guy Powell:

mean to say it's not journalism, but certainly different.

Ethan Chernofsky:

It's a it's, it's fascinating, because I

Ethan Chernofsky:

think it's your first, any the really big value that comes from

Ethan Chernofsky:

starting a career in PR is you are slapped in the face with the

Ethan Chernofsky:

wreck, I guess unless you work for like Apple or Uber, you're

Ethan Chernofsky:

slapped in the face with the idea that nobody cares. And if

Ethan Chernofsky:

the starting point is nobody cares, you need to figure out

Ethan Chernofsky:

how to make them care. And that means telling your story in an

Ethan Chernofsky:

effective way. It means really thinking about the audience of

Ethan Chernofsky:

your audience. It means understanding how to create that

Ethan Chernofsky:

win win with the channel you're looking to tell your story

Ethan Chernofsky:

through. And so so many of the lessons that you learn in that

Ethan Chernofsky:

PR setting are widely applicable as you kind of expand your

Ethan Chernofsky:

marketing focus in these kind of in house roles.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, and in reality,

Guy Powell:

that's what marketing is all about. And certainly geolocation

Guy Powell:

services, you know, makes that even better. So you know, where

Guy Powell:

you really then know exactly who your client is. And and almost

Guy Powell:

in many cases, you can almost get down to a one to one

Guy Powell:

relationship to where you are really personalizing that

Guy Powell:

message and that experience, specifically for that person.

Ethan Chernofsky:

So it's so it's really interesting, because

Ethan Chernofsky:

I think the the geolocation space, and it's kind of widest

Ethan Chernofsky:

reach, you have this spectrum. So on the one hand, you do have

Ethan Chernofsky:

kind of companies that attempt to enable that, that one to one

Ethan Chernofsky:

relationship and kind of location based advertising. And

Ethan Chernofsky:

in that case, think, you know, I love Starbucks, I love blueberry

Ethan Chernofsky:

muffins. When I walk past to Starbucks, they want to be able

Ethan Chernofsky:

to say Ethan, get 50 cents off this blueberry muffin, if you

Ethan Chernofsky:

buy a coffee. That is a really interesting kind of channel,

Ethan Chernofsky:

there's a lot of value to and it's super fascinating it what's

Ethan Chernofsky:

what's really interesting is how different that is from what we

Ethan Chernofsky:

do, though we're part of the same space. So place or when you

Ethan Chernofsky:

think of when we kind of think of ourselves is really a

Ethan Chernofsky:

research platform. It's enabling you to understand what's

Ethan Chernofsky:

happening at a macro level, at retailers across the country. So

Ethan Chernofsky:

if you think like, you know, people vote with their feet,

Ethan Chernofsky:

we're showing you how they vote. But we the The really

Ethan Chernofsky:

interesting thing is it's essentially a storytelling

Ethan Chernofsky:

platform. So whereas like an advertising platform would say

Ethan Chernofsky:

again, how do I reach Ethan when he walks past a Starbucks? We're

Ethan Chernofsky:

a platform is giving you all this information about what's

Ethan Chernofsky:

happening in the world. And then we're saying to the marketers

Ethan Chernofsky:

that utilize it. Okay, now that you have this information, what

Ethan Chernofsky:

decisions would you make differently? How would you

Ethan Chernofsky:

operate a little bit more effectively? And I think that

Ethan Chernofsky:

research orientation has been really fascinating, especially

Ethan Chernofsky:

as a marketer working for placing

Guy Powell:

well and especially also, you know, you're not

Guy Powell:

necessarily just getting you know, a sample size through some

Guy Powell:

circles. Have a and it's never large enough. And then here, you

Guy Powell:

know, you can basically say, you know, hey, I did this ad. And

Guy Powell:

you know, in 45% of the people that we were kind of targeting

Guy Powell:

in these regions went to this went to the retail location or

Guy Powell:

did something different. And then but over here, something

Guy Powell:

else happened that and that that level of information is, is

Guy Powell:

incredibly valuable to a marketer as they are now really

Guy Powell:

trying to always get that last half a percent 1% 5% better, you

Guy Powell:

know, and this, this kind of capability reels that really

Guy Powell:

allows them to do that.

Ethan Chernofsky:

Yeah, I agree with you completely. I think the

Ethan Chernofsky:

fascinating thing is, in so many areas, it is that incremental

Ethan Chernofsky:

improvement of, we're doing a really good job, we want to get

Ethan Chernofsky:

a little bit better at all these elements. But in so many cases,

Ethan Chernofsky:

you're it's just a fundamental shift in how they view a process

Ethan Chernofsky:

when you think of something as simple as a trade area. Right.

Ethan Chernofsky:

So every retail location, every restaurant has their assumption

Ethan Chernofsky:

about who they're reaching, with any given location. And, you

Ethan Chernofsky:

know, if you think about five, six years ago, this was a

Ethan Chernofsky:

circle, drawn around the space and at a certain mile radius

Ethan Chernofsky:

length and said, this is this is what it is, this is who we

Ethan Chernofsky:

reach. When you look at the actual true trade areas within

Ethan Chernofsky:

our system, you see that, you know, you see that trade area

Ethan Chernofsky:

and all this amorphous weirdly shaped glory, and challenges

Ethan Chernofsky:

very basic assumptions about how you would operate where you're

Ethan Chernofsky:

succeeding where you're missing an opportunity, how close by

Ethan Chernofsky:

that opportunity might be, how far you're actually reaching and

Ethan Chernofsky:

why. So I think this ability to provide that level of clarity

Ethan Chernofsky:

and visibility at the worst case, it's the incremental

Ethan Chernofsky:

progress, but in many situations, it's, it's again,

Ethan Chernofsky:

it's bringing a lens that provides visibility that just

Ethan Chernofsky:

wasn't there before.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, absolutely. And certainly, you know, you

Guy Powell:

bring up retail trade area, but the flip side of that is also

Guy Powell:

where do I place my stores? And, you know, so you also have them

Guy Powell:

the the development side on a, you know, for retail, so that

Guy Powell:

they can make sure that the traffic patterns and whatever

Guy Powell:

else is really ideal for that location, and for that business

Guy Powell:

versus somewhere else. So it really, really fascinating how

Guy Powell:

you can use the data?

Ethan Chernofsky:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you think

Ethan Chernofsky:

about the lifecycle of the entire lifecycle of a retail

Ethan Chernofsky:

location. I'm trying to figure out what site I want to build a

Ethan Chernofsky:

shopping center in, drop a traffic pin to understand who's

Ethan Chernofsky:

passing by and what are the audiences nearby? And is there

Ethan Chernofsky:

an opening? And okay, then we decide there is we build this

Ethan Chernofsky:

center, what should should we fill it with? Who should we be

Ethan Chernofsky:

able to get this great anchor tenant who has the best cross

Ethan Chernofsky:

shopping and CO tenancy patterns with that? Alright, so that

Ethan Chernofsky:

Center continues on what marketing events do we want to

Ethan Chernofsky:

run to help drive traffic to that center? How do the

Ethan Chernofsky:

retailer's within that center better leverage, you know, the

Ethan Chernofsky:

data to to make these decisions, but then someone else comes in,

Ethan Chernofsky:

and they want to buy that center and make that decision and how

Ethan Chernofsky:

to reorient it. And so the whole lifecycle of a low retail

Ethan Chernofsky:

location, whether it's the shopping center, the specific

Ethan Chernofsky:

retail space itself, the ability to provide value throughout this

Ethan Chernofsky:

from the start finish of that lifecycle is one of the things

Ethan Chernofsky:

that I think gives the platform a whole lot of power. And it

Ethan Chernofsky:

gives us this really interesting viewpoint, to start trying to

Ethan Chernofsky:

understand what are the factors that influence success or lack

Ethan Chernofsky:

thereof, on a, you know, whether it's by retail segment by

Ethan Chernofsky:

retailers, you know, by specific retailer, by region, by type, it

Ethan Chernofsky:

makes it really interesting when you can get to that level of

Ethan Chernofsky:

granularity.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, absolutely. And, and then not only that, but

Guy Powell:

you can also see what's going on with your competitors. So you

Guy Powell:

can see you know, what your traffic pattern is, or could be,

Guy Powell:

and then you can also see, then, you know, there's a, there's a

Guy Powell:

competitive store, you know, a mile away, or in the same

Guy Powell:

shopping center, or wherever it is, and you can then start to

Guy Powell:

see whether, you know, you're, whether they're advertising or

Guy Powell:

your advertising has an impact, but also then, generally how the

Guy Powell:

whole category is working. And I think that that information is

Guy Powell:

so much better than what you otherwise get. So yeah,

Ethan Chernofsky:

it's not even it's the, it's all of a sudden,

Ethan Chernofsky:

you're able to view everything through a single lens. So one of

Ethan Chernofsky:

the biggest challenges with data is having proper context. And

Ethan Chernofsky:

so, you know, we say this at the time, if you're a retailer, in a

Ethan Chernofsky:

specific region, and during the pandemic, your visits were down

Ethan Chernofsky:

5% Is that good? Is that bad? It means nothing in and of itself.

Ethan Chernofsky:

Because if I'm down 5%, but all of my competitors are down 10%

Ethan Chernofsky:

I'm doing great. If I'm down 5% my competitors are up 20% I'm

Ethan Chernofsky:

getting crushed. And so that contextual understanding of

Ethan Chernofsky:

performance and the ability to to then go one level deeper and

Ethan Chernofsky:

say, Okay, why? And how do I how do I break this resource down in

Ethan Chernofsky:

other ways to give me an indication of what are they

Ethan Chernofsky:

doing well, that I'm missing out on where are there opportunities

Ethan Chernofsky:

that I might want to focus on in the future? How do I get you

Ethan Chernofsky:

know, one of the things I always love is when you think of a

Ethan Chernofsky:

concept, we will look at a brand you know, for launches their

Ethan Chernofsky:

store in store concept, right? It with with, with Kohl's. When

Ethan Chernofsky:

we look at Petco and Lowe's, we're taking that Sephora Kohl's

Ethan Chernofsky:

interaction as some sort of benchmark, there's a way to

Ethan Chernofsky:

learn from that experience. And that's across retail. And I

Ethan Chernofsky:

think what's really fascinating is, if you could learn from

Ethan Chernofsky:

other people, if you could understand what competitors are

Ethan Chernofsky:

doing, if you could take inspiration from sectors that

Ethan Chernofsky:

you're not even operating in, that's what this product gives

Ethan Chernofsky:

you the ability to do to almost kind of transport yourself to

Ethan Chernofsky:

any retail location and get that insights as if you were visiting

Ethan Chernofsky:

the center itself.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, absolutely. And I find that also valuable

Guy Powell:

not only for retailers, but the manufacturers that are selling

Guy Powell:

in retail and so that they can see that when they run a brand

Guy Powell:

ad or the retailer runs a co op ed to see then what the what the

Guy Powell:

impact is on traffic patterns. And whether they're actually

Guy Powell:

driving people to the store or not. And whether then, you know,

Guy Powell:

the overall traffic goes up, maybe you know, any ad write

Guy Powell:

rises, raises all boats, but it could be that my ad actually

Guy Powell:

gets people into my stores or my my retail outlets better than

Guy Powell:

what the competition does. So there's also a value at the at

Guy Powell:

the manufacturer level,

Ethan Chernofsky:

completely, I had a colleague who put it put

Ethan Chernofsky:

it best, someone asked him who gets value out of place your

Ethan Chernofsky:

data. And I by the way, obviously, I'm incredibly

Ethan Chernofsky:

biased. I think we're the greatest from the space and, you

Ethan Chernofsky:

know, data in general, for this for these spaces, I think it's

Ethan Chernofsky:

important to kind of give that wider lens. But this colleague

Ethan Chernofsky:

said, Walk drive down your street? And how many shopping

Ethan Chernofsky:

the main road in your town? How many shopping centers? Do you

Ethan Chernofsky:

see? All of those are customers? How many tenants Do you see

Ethan Chernofsky:

Filling the spaces in the shopping centers, think of all

Ethan Chernofsky:

the products and services that are sold through those tenants,

Ethan Chernofsky:

the people who build around it, you know, that's the people who

Ethan Chernofsky:

invest in those companies, the people who kind of try to the

Ethan Chernofsky:

civic organizations that are attending to attract those

Ethan Chernofsky:

retailers into their, into their communities. This is the breath

Ethan Chernofsky:

that you can reach. And I think the thing that we one of the

Ethan Chernofsky:

elements that we get most excited about is that ability to

Ethan Chernofsky:

establish a single language to cross those chasms between and

Ethan Chernofsky:

you know, you're bringing up the manufacturing brands is a really

Ethan Chernofsky:

important one, we saw this during the pandemic, we had a

Ethan Chernofsky:

customer tell us that year over year data, they would have been

Ethan Chernofsky:

having a discussion with a major retailer about demand planning.

Ethan Chernofsky:

And your your data was kind of you had threw it out the window,

Ethan Chernofsky:

because what you're supposed to do with it situation was so

Ethan Chernofsky:

different. Yep. There, the point of sale data that they got was,

Ethan Chernofsky:

you know, four to six weeks delay. For six weeks, things

Ethan Chernofsky:

change so dramatically. And they were looking at visit data and

Ethan Chernofsky:

correlating demand with visit data because that they could

Ethan Chernofsky:

get, you know, with a three day lag. And so what's so

Ethan Chernofsky:

fascinating is in a changing environment, what we've seen the

Ethan Chernofsky:

last two years is just this rapidly changing scenario where

Ethan Chernofsky:

you need to adapt so quickly. If you I think data helps in any

Ethan Chernofsky:

situation. But if you don't have data to help you make those

Ethan Chernofsky:

decisions and pivot as effectively as possible, you're

Ethan Chernofsky:

going to be over reliant on guesses, and it's going to put

Ethan Chernofsky:

you at risk.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, absolutely. And especially nowadays, if

Guy Powell:

somebody if your competitor has the tool, and you don't, they

Guy Powell:

are absolutely at an advantage. And they and I don't know how

Guy Powell:

much difference it would be. But it's it can be significant, you

Guy Powell:

know, for retailers. Now, what about other industries? Where

Guy Powell:

else would you see the use of of this kind of data?

Ethan Chernofsky:

So I think, I think retail is the primary

Ethan Chernofsky:

space, but it's all the the spheres of retail. So again, the

Ethan Chernofsky:

shopping center, the retail, real estate, the manufacturing

Ethan Chernofsky:

companies, the investors, the civic organizations, and so just

Ethan Chernofsky:

that it's quite a sizable group of companies. When you think

Ethan Chernofsky:

also office real estate, you know, if I'm dealing with

Ethan Chernofsky:

multifamily at a large scale, this is going to interesting

Ethan Chernofsky:

data, just understanding the shifts in areas. So take

Ethan Chernofsky:

something as simple as migration patterns, how different they've

Ethan Chernofsky:

been as a result of the pandemic. So really interesting

Ethan Chernofsky:

data that we've seen, but also from other sources like urban

Ethan Chernofsky:

digs, which looks at leasing patterns in New York City. And

Ethan Chernofsky:

you found at certain points during the pandemic, there was

Ethan Chernofsky:

this really fascinating shift of people who are a little bit

Ethan Chernofsky:

older, maybe had stuck around in major cities a little bit longer

Ethan Chernofsky:

than they would have traditionally moving to the

Ethan Chernofsky:

suburbs, and that being replaced by younger people who can now

Ethan Chernofsky:

afford to move into the city. And what's really interesting

Ethan Chernofsky:

here is, if I understand those patterns in those shifts, on an

Ethan Chernofsky:

area level, I can identify opportunity. So Raleigh, North

Ethan Chernofsky:

Carolina, great proximity to amazing universities. People

Ethan Chernofsky:

want to can choose flexibility and therefore emphasize an area

Ethan Chernofsky:

with a higher quality of life, they don't have to spend as much

Ethan Chernofsky:

living in let's say, San Francisco, they can stay there

Ethan Chernofsky:

and still find a really high quality tech job. And that

Ethan Chernofsky:

understanding of where those shifts are happening, where that

Ethan Chernofsky:

opportunity might exist, it's a really powerful lens that can be

Ethan Chernofsky:

used to make much better decisions. For the companies.

Ethan Chernofsky:

We're operating at that scale.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And very

Guy Powell:

interesting, I didn't think about the, you know, the, the

Guy Powell:

patterns of how people change and where they move to and from,

Guy Powell:

during the pandemic versus pre pandemic, and now maybe, you

Guy Powell:

know, post pandemic, so that makes, that makes a lot of

Guy Powell:

sense. So, if I'm a retailer, and let's say, um, I don't know,

Guy Powell:

Lowe's, or maybe that's not a good example. But if I'm a major

Guy Powell:

retailer and got stores around the country, what is their ROI?

Guy Powell:

So what, what's the ROI on your data? What is the value to them?

Guy Powell:

What is that'd be pretty big, what is,

Ethan Chernofsky:

so it's gonna be different values for

Ethan Chernofsky:

different groups of the company. So in the ideal scenario, your

Ethan Chernofsky:

site selection team is using the product to figure out where

Ethan Chernofsky:

should we put the next door? Try to understand which stores are

Ethan Chernofsky:

performing well, and which ones aren't. I need to right size

Ethan Chernofsky:

because I'm overextended in a certain region, which store do I

Ethan Chernofsky:

remove? Do I remove the store that has the highest sales, the

Ethan Chernofsky:

lowest sales? Or do I move the store that's cannibalizing the

Ethan Chernofsky:

most? And by removing, I'd have the least impact on an overall

Ethan Chernofsky:

market? How do I understand performance over time? How do I

Ethan Chernofsky:

understand it compared to kind of the key competitors? And that

Ethan Chernofsky:

takes us already into kind of that competitive intelligence

Ethan Chernofsky:

strategy team? How do I really understanding my performance. So

Ethan Chernofsky:

if we try a new initiative, if we how we're doing overall, how

Ethan Chernofsky:

is the wider space we're operating in, in general are

Ethan Chernofsky:

doing overall. So think for, you know, Lowe's is a great example.

Ethan Chernofsky:

Lowe's, Home Depot, Tractor Supply, setting the world on

Ethan Chernofsky:

fire in 2020 2021, a lot of those months visits are down

Ethan Chernofsky:

year over year. But it's not because they did bad, it's

Ethan Chernofsky:

because they just went so high that they when they dropped

Ethan Chernofsky:

back, they were still higher than they were before. But the

Ethan Chernofsky:

only way to understand that is by having a context for the

Ethan Chernofsky:

entire market. Then as a marketer, I want to do other

Ethan Chernofsky:

things. I want to know how different campaigns worked in

Ethan Chernofsky:

different regions, I want to understand the impact of my

Ethan Chernofsky:

competitors campaigns, and what's what's moving the needle

Ethan Chernofsky:

there? And understanding how do I figure out which types of

Ethan Chernofsky:

activities are really moving the needle for my organization. So

Ethan Chernofsky:

this ability to go from that market planning, site selection,

Ethan Chernofsky:

real estate team, to the store operations team, to the strategy

Ethan Chernofsky:

team, to the marketing team, and enable all of them to have that

Ethan Chernofsky:

conversation with the same data. That's one of the biggest

Ethan Chernofsky:

pieces. I mean, I'm not telling you anything, you that's going

Ethan Chernofsky:

to surprise you. But one of the biggest challenges with with

Ethan Chernofsky:

data is that even within an organization, many of us are

Ethan Chernofsky:

using different tools. And so I say I'm seeing X percentage

Ethan Chernofsky:

change based on this tool, and they say, Well, I don't see that

Ethan Chernofsky:

I see something totally different with my tool. So the

Ethan Chernofsky:

idea that you have a language that can help traverse those

Ethan Chernofsky:

divides, and can be used by all these organizations. I think

Ethan Chernofsky:

that's almost, you know, as valuable as anything, you know,

Ethan Chernofsky:

we were talking, you know, before the show about, you know,

Ethan Chernofsky:

different places in the world in different languages. If you put

Ethan Chernofsky:

a, you know, a German speaker, a French speaker, you know, an

Ethan Chernofsky:

Italian speaker, and someone who speaks Japanese in the same room

Ethan Chernofsky:

and ask them to do its collective task, it's gonna be a

Ethan Chernofsky:

lot harder than if everyone's speaking German or English or

Ethan Chernofsky:

whatever it may be. And I think that's one of the things we view

Ethan Chernofsky:

as a huge long term value is that ability to have that single

Ethan Chernofsky:

language.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, absolutely. And way back when I'm sure

Guy Powell:

you're familiar with the Kodak brand and Kodak, film and stuff

Guy Powell:

like that. And I remember talking to the to the VP of

Guy Powell:

research, and he said, you know, what's really bad and what he

Guy Powell:

tried to do within the company is have a benchmark and a

Guy Powell:

language that everybody can use, so that if everybody gets their

Guy Powell:

bonus The CEO also gets his bonus, because he said, what

Guy Powell:

happened is everybody made their numbers they all, you know,

Guy Powell:

figured out how to game the system. And the CEO says, Well,

Guy Powell:

yeah, but sales went down, where's my money. And so to your

Guy Powell:

point about using common language across the company is

Guy Powell:

critical, because it has to then be something that really aligns

Guy Powell:

exactly with the your corporate code with your corporate

Guy Powell:

objectives. And if it doesn't, if you're measuring the wrong

Guy Powell:

thing, then you know, garbage in garbage out, it's going to be,

Guy Powell:

it's not going to be helpful for anybody.

Ethan Chernofsky:

Yeah, I think I think company alignment, and I

Ethan Chernofsky:

can, you know, it's interesting. So I joined this company, when

Ethan Chernofsky:

we were 20 some odd people, today, we're well over 300. And

Ethan Chernofsky:

the, the strength you get as an organization, when you are

Ethan Chernofsky:

viewing the world, as a unit, and not as lots of disparate

Ethan Chernofsky:

elements all pulling in different directions, is a huge

Ethan Chernofsky:

asset for us. It's a credit to our leadership, and you know, to

Ethan Chernofsky:

the, you know, people who are founders and those who had that

Ethan Chernofsky:

initial vision, we're able to pull all of us into that vision.

Ethan Chernofsky:

And I think it's anywhere, the more you can create alignment in

Ethan Chernofsky:

how you're viewing the world, the better you'll be able to

Ethan Chernofsky:

attack it as a as a group.

Guy Powell:

Yep. Yep. Absolutely. Absolutely. So now,

Guy Powell:

of course, then there's the all this kind of privacy and

Guy Powell:

legislation coming out. Tell us how plates are fits in that and

Guy Powell:

what do you see kind of as the future for, for those

Guy Powell:

discussions?

Ethan Chernofsky:

So I think, again, we kind of touched on

Ethan Chernofsky:

this at the top of this, this spectrum of companies and what

Ethan Chernofsky:

you're trying to do, you can, you can almost think of it as

Ethan Chernofsky:

relating to three core questions. What type of data do

Ethan Chernofsky:

you take in? What type of data do you show? What type of data

Ethan Chernofsky:

do you make money off of? So again, partially, because this

Ethan Chernofsky:

was a key part of our ethos, but also, you know, we're a company

Ethan Chernofsky:

that, you know, we only launched in 2018. So GDPR was already a

Ethan Chernofsky:

thing, CCPA was already a thing. So we're a privacy by design

Ethan Chernofsky:

company, and we don't ingest any personally identifiable

Ethan Chernofsky:

information into our system. So we don't take in any personal

Ethan Chernofsky:

information, we certainly don't show anything in our platform,

Ethan Chernofsky:

you can build in processes to ensure that you know, any place

Ethan Chernofsky:

under a certain number of people, you don't show on the

Ethan Chernofsky:

platform at all. And so you create these built in

Ethan Chernofsky:

limitations so as to account for privacy. And then all we sell is

Ethan Chernofsky:

our estimations. And so that's the that's the product

Ethan Chernofsky:

ultimately. And in that way, we make sure that we're aligned

Ethan Chernofsky:

with privacy interests. And I think what you want to

Ethan Chernofsky:

ultimately see in this space is two things, one, regulation that

Ethan Chernofsky:

makes sense for the different players within the space. So if

Ethan Chernofsky:

I'm, if I want, again, to do that location based advertising,

Ethan Chernofsky:

which means I want to know where Ethan is right now. Okay, but

Ethan Chernofsky:

then there should be a very specific set of regulations and

Ethan Chernofsky:

options and the like. And the same for research companies, you

Ethan Chernofsky:

know, that we need to be treated in a very specific way to ensure

Ethan Chernofsky:

that our practices are in line with user interest. And I think,

Ethan Chernofsky:

the more sophisticated we get about this conversation, the

Ethan Chernofsky:

better regulations, we're going to come to, the better products

Ethan Chernofsky:

we're going to build. But I also think it's unbelievably

Ethan Chernofsky:

important to the simplicity that happens in the privacy debate is

Ethan Chernofsky:

not very helpful, because it misses out on the levels of

Ethan Chernofsky:

nuance, and what the fact that there is so much opportunity to

Ethan Chernofsky:

find that Win Win where you can provide the value without having

Ethan Chernofsky:

to infringe on privacy.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, and I agree with that, of course, I'm in

Guy Powell:

marketing. And I think that I think that advertising messages

Guy Powell:

have a value, and people are interested in them. Because at

Guy Powell:

the end of the day, they are going to buy something, and it's

Guy Powell:

much better to have them more well informed so that they're

Guy Powell:

going to have a better customer experience. And they're gonna be

Guy Powell:

more satisfied with what they buy, as opposed to buying

Guy Powell:

something that they that may not fit. So marketing, to some

Guy Powell:

extent is is also about education. And so I think, you

Guy Powell:

know, getting that stuff right is critical,

Ethan Chernofsky:

but it doesn't what's the value? Ultimately?

Ethan Chernofsky:

Yeah, think. Alright, think about Sears. Sears wasn't a

Ethan Chernofsky:

stupid company. They were incredibly successful. They were

Ethan Chernofsky:

overextended. And therefore, it was really challenging to have

Ethan Chernofsky:

to make the move as quickly as they needed to in order to

Ethan Chernofsky:

adjust. What if Sears had been able to right size, their

Ethan Chernofsky:

properties more slowly over time with data like this? They're

Ethan Chernofsky:

likely still around today look at Macy's or JC Penney,

Ethan Chernofsky:

companies were amidst these more significant right sizing

Ethan Chernofsky:

projects. And they're doing some really strategically and that

Ethan Chernofsky:

means that more Macy's are staying open, serving their

Ethan Chernofsky:

audiences, keeping the people who have jobs, they're going

Ethan Chernofsky:

paying rent to the shopping centers that they're sitting in.

Ethan Chernofsky:

It's a net positive but even think about the small business

Ethan Chernofsky:

so guy imagine you and I we decide to open our own pizza

Ethan Chernofsky:

chain. We'll opened up our first one in Atlanta, Georgia, right,

Ethan Chernofsky:

we opened up our second one in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, and

Ethan Chernofsky:

we're doing well, with both, it's time to open up number

Ethan Chernofsky:

three, we're choosing between three locations. The problem is,

Ethan Chernofsky:

if we get it right, great, if we get it wrong for a business as

Ethan Chernofsky:

small as ours, it's gonna have a massive impact on our company

Ethan Chernofsky:

might even close it. So the fact that we can, we can have access

Ethan Chernofsky:

to affordable data, not just something that Pizza Hut and

Ethan Chernofsky:

Domino's can use, but us and our small pizza chain can use

Ethan Chernofsky:

increases the likelihood that we can go from one store to three

Ethan Chernofsky:

stores to 10 to 50. And that ability to kind of support that

Ethan Chernofsky:

50 to 100 location chain, the smaller ones, even then that

Ethan Chernofsky:

creates this much greater diversity is much better ability

Ethan Chernofsky:

of smaller businesses to grow and scale and to do so in a

Ethan Chernofsky:

sustainable way. That creates a net benefit for the wider

Ethan Chernofsky:

economic situation as well.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, absolutely. And fair enough, I, you know, I,

Guy Powell:

you're you went more on the research side, which absolutely

Guy Powell:

has value and, and definitely see that because, you know, here

Guy Powell:

you have an investor, as, as me the pizza owner, and you and the

Guy Powell:

pizza owner here in Atlanta. And if we are able to make those

Guy Powell:

decisions better, we are going to be able to hire more people.

Guy Powell:

And also, you know that that is a benefit not only to those

Guy Powell:

people, but to the customers that are interested in what

Guy Powell:

we're selling. And so, yeah, that that, that makes a lot of

Guy Powell:

sense. And it's interesting, I like the the other point that

Guy Powell:

you make is that you're more on the research side, as opposed to

Guy Powell:

the execution side. And I think that's a very different are a

Guy Powell:

very interesting distinguishing characteristic in terms of what

Guy Powell:

you're offering versus what you what you might typically see as

Guy Powell:

geolocation services in optimizing my advertising and

Guy Powell:

getting them these, these kind of unwanted or maybe not so

Guy Powell:

wanted, commercials are believed to be unwanted commercial.

Ethan Chernofsky:

Yeah, I think we need to, we need to empower

Ethan Chernofsky:

the consumer. I mean, this was, you know, to talk in our kind of

Ethan Chernofsky:

advertising, marketing language, how this wasn't all that long

Ethan Chernofsky:

ago, we were having a big conversation about native,

Ethan Chernofsky:

native advertising. And there were some people who were like,

Ethan Chernofsky:

This is the worst thing that's ever happened in the world, and

Ethan Chernofsky:

others who were like, This is the greatest The reality was

Ethan Chernofsky:

somewhere in between, but we need to take the steps to ensure

Ethan Chernofsky:

that consumers, users, viewers, readers, are given enough

Ethan Chernofsky:

information so that they understand what's happening in

Ethan Chernofsky:

front of them, and maybe they can make those decisions, you

Ethan Chernofsky:

know, and that native advertising conversation. No,

Ethan Chernofsky:

look, we've been looking at editorial content for years, we

Ethan Chernofsky:

didn't ban it, because it's an opinion, we said, we have to

Ethan Chernofsky:

make it clear that it's an opinion, but that's okay, we can

Ethan Chernofsky:

consume opinion too. So I think if we focus on end user

Ethan Chernofsky:

empowerment, giving them easy access to the tools to make

Ethan Chernofsky:

their decisions to opt in and out of what they do and don't

Ethan Chernofsky:

want, but also that they understand what they're seeing,

Ethan Chernofsky:

I think we're going to end up in a much better situation than

Ethan Chernofsky:

then attempting to create kind of blanket restrictions that

Ethan Chernofsky:

don't necessarily make sense. And most people probably don't

Ethan Chernofsky:

want.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, well, and, and unfortunately, on legislation

Guy Powell:

and regulation, it's it has to do then also with the education

Guy Powell:

of the the legislators and the regulators, so that they really

Guy Powell:

can understand the difference and the value that's that's

Guy Powell:

behind there. Because I think you're right, I mean, some of

Guy Powell:

these some of these proposed legislation, and you know,

Guy Powell:

they're kind of like, Hey, we're gonna block everything. And, and

Guy Powell:

that really doesn't just doesn't make sense. Yeah, absolutely. So

Guy Powell:

let's talk about the future where, where now, or what do you

Guy Powell:

see as the the promised land in three or four years from now for

Guy Powell:

Pacer?

Ethan Chernofsky:

I think the there's a couple of things. I

Ethan Chernofsky:

think there's three pillars. pillar number one is continuing

Ethan Chernofsky:

to build out our own platform. Right. So how do we continue

Ethan Chernofsky:

adding features, creating simpler workflows? So I have a

Ethan Chernofsky:

specific business question. Here's the tool that helps you

Ethan Chernofsky:

answer that specific question as quickly as possible, right. So

Ethan Chernofsky:

to put empower our users to get from point A to point B faster

Ethan Chernofsky:

than ever before, and to give them more ways, you know, more

Ethan Chernofsky:

point A's and point B's to get to. The second level is a big

Ethan Chernofsky:

focus on what we kind of our marketplace, which is our

Ethan Chernofsky:

marketplace brings in other data sources, so like demographics

Ethan Chernofsky:

data into the platform so that they can be layered on top of

Ethan Chernofsky:

our platform and more easily accessed and utilized. So this

Ethan Chernofsky:

investment in how do we expand the number of perspectives that

Ethan Chernofsky:

we can bring into play so that we can understand a space and

Ethan Chernofsky:

any setting it's happening in the physical world more

Ethan Chernofsky:

effectively. So a simple example. Traffic is down. Year

Ethan Chernofsky:

over year in a certain space What if I showed you that there

Ethan Chernofsky:

was a massive storm that day, and that's why it was down, I

Ethan Chernofsky:

was in more information to get to that decision understanding

Ethan Chernofsky:

faster. If I show you a place, and I show you the crime rates

Ethan Chernofsky:

around it, and I show you plan developments that are happening,

Ethan Chernofsky:

and I show you drive time analysis and all of these other

Ethan Chernofsky:

layers, it's only going to enrich your ability to make

Ethan Chernofsky:

better decisions based off of the data. So that's a huge focus

Ethan Chernofsky:

for us as well. So enhancing our capacity, partnering with more

Ethan Chernofsky:

companies that are able to bring in all these new perspectives

Ethan Chernofsky:

into the mix, we have this wider view on what's happening. And

Ethan Chernofsky:

I'd say the last bit is, is a constant effort to improve those

Ethan Chernofsky:

areas that are the pillar of what we do. So how do we get

Ethan Chernofsky:

ever better on the data accuracy side? So if we're, we feel like

Ethan Chernofsky:

you know, he's got a 5% margin of error? How do we get it to

Ethan Chernofsky:

four and a half percent? 4%? excetera? How do we get better

Ethan Chernofsky:

at partnering with our customers? So understanding

Ethan Chernofsky:

their needs better, being more as invested as we can be at

Ethan Chernofsky:

scale? And then the accessibility piece, how do we

Ethan Chernofsky:

make it as simple to use, I think one of the things that

Ethan Chernofsky:

always is ever present when especially when you talk to more

Ethan Chernofsky:

experienced professionals is they'll look at a platform like

Ethan Chernofsky:

this, and they go, this is great, but you know, I've never

Ethan Chernofsky:

know how to use this, this is too complicated for me. And we,

Ethan Chernofsky:

we vet very aggressively push back on this concept, I think,

Ethan Chernofsky:

you know, you're learning to utilize data. And there's always

Ethan Chernofsky:

going to be space for, you know, consultants and those who enter

Ethan Chernofsky:

data science teams, and those who really get it internally and

Ethan Chernofsky:

externally. But we, the more we teach people to become familiar

Ethan Chernofsky:

and to engage with and to show that, actually, we're kind of

Ethan Chernofsky:

constantly dealing with data every single day of our lives,

Ethan Chernofsky:

and most of us are using it quite effectively. That level of

Ethan Chernofsky:

engagement is just going to increase that conversation we

Ethan Chernofsky:

were talking about before, which is just to make the wider

Ethan Chernofsky:

ecosystem for data is so much more effective.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, no question about it, and and our business.

Guy Powell:

More data, accurate data, vetted data, complete data is always

Guy Powell:

better than less. And, and I like your point where you are,

Guy Powell:

you know, bringing in more pieces to help either, you know,

Guy Powell:

all your clients or this potentially, you know, some very

Guy Powell:

specific ones, so that they can make those data, make those data

Guy Powell:

driven decisions better and be able to place that, you know,

Guy Powell:

that pizza, that pizza joint, or pizza joint in Atlanta

Guy Powell:

significantly better. Because I that is that's what everybody

Guy Powell:

wants, I mean, if I'm going to invest in data, and I'm going to

Guy Powell:

pay, you know, whatever it is, I want to make sure I'm getting

Guy Powell:

return on it. And I want to in in an ideal scenario, I want to

Guy Powell:

be able to use it in as many places as I can, and then be

Guy Powell:

able to take as good value as I can. And each one of those

Guy Powell:

different, you know, operation or operational areas that that

Guy Powell:

might be where it might be valuable.

Ethan Chernofsky:

Yeah, no, absolutely. I think one of the

Ethan Chernofsky:

things we talked about quite a bit is this the the kind of the,

Ethan Chernofsky:

the nice to have, and you hear this as a vendor very often, if

Ethan Chernofsky:

you've ever worked, if you've ever kind of worked with or a

Ethan Chernofsky:

technology company, you'll talk to a company in the last few

Ethan Chernofsky:

Well, are you a need? Or are you a nice to have? And I I have

Ethan Chernofsky:

increasingly increasingly resent the question because if you look

Ethan Chernofsky:

at retail, specifically, look at Target and Walmart. In the midst

Ethan Chernofsky:

of the pandemic, they had grocery delivery, buy online,

Ethan Chernofsky:

pick up in store, curbside pickup stuff that they were able

Ethan Chernofsky:

to roll out instantly. They didn't make it up. Now, they had

Ethan Chernofsky:

been investing in these capabilities for years and years

Ethan Chernofsky:

prior having a sense of where retail was going what they would

Ethan Chernofsky:

need. And essentially, they were constantly investing in the nice

Ethan Chernofsky:

to have where is the future? Because if it's a need, you're

Ethan Chernofsky:

too late, you should have been investing in this before. And I

Ethan Chernofsky:

think the more we educate, whether it's retailers,

Ethan Chernofsky:

technology companies, whoever else marketers operations, you

Ethan Chernofsky:

know, market planning, learning to live in the nice to have is

Ethan Chernofsky:

how you stay ahead of the curve.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, and actually, there is a really good article,

Guy Powell:

I'll have to send it to you the from on Steph Curry. And, and it

Guy Powell:

sounds like you may have seen it, but the article is just it's

Guy Powell:

he his goal is to do much, much, much better on getting three

Guy Powell:

pointers and he practices but he is he practices so that he gets

Guy Powell:

his margin of error is down into like the one or two inches he

Guy Powell:

could be three or four inches off, but he wants to get his

Guy Powell:

margin of error on that basket. are going through the hoop by

Guy Powell:

over two inches. And what's interesting is to your nice to

Guy Powell:

haves versus your need to have is that the top performers think

Guy Powell:

of things like that as a need to have because I have to keep

Guy Powell:

getting better. And I can't just stay the same I have to get

Guy Powell:

better and better he has to get like, you know, a millimeter a

Guy Powell:

millimeter a millimeter on average better. And the best

Guy Powell:

performers realize that that that want to have is not a want

Guy Powell:

to have it as a need to have because they they have to then

Guy Powell:

stay ahead of the game. And and so then I think you're right I

Guy Powell:

think place her is one of those things. It's not a it's not a

Guy Powell:

you know, a nice to have it as a need to have for exactly those

Guy Powell:

reasons.

Ethan Chernofsky:

No, I think you I love I love the Steph

Ethan Chernofsky:

Curry example. You know even it's interesting, I was having a

Ethan Chernofsky:

conversation about this with another marketer have you think

Ethan Chernofsky:

of the brilliance of the warriors, is they built a team

Ethan Chernofsky:

around something that used to be nice side world players. So

Ethan Chernofsky:

three point shooting thing, Steph Curry's dad, great three

Ethan Chernofsky:

point shooter, there's a wonderful role player alongside

Ethan Chernofsky:

some great players. Were the main pieces. Steph Curry Klay

Ethan Chernofsky:

Thompson, these three point shooters became the core of a

Ethan Chernofsky:

strategy. And they said are how do we build around this

Ethan Chernofsky:

strength? I think increasingly what we want to see in retail,

Ethan Chernofsky:

but this applies to any business is understanding. What are your

Ethan Chernofsky:

strengths? What are the things you do really well? How do you

Ethan Chernofsky:

measure those things? How do you kind of measure improvements?

Ethan Chernofsky:

But how do you build around those strengths? The fact you

Ethan Chernofsky:

know, it's interesting one of them one of the most fascinating

Ethan Chernofsky:

conversations we've had in the retail space is off price retail

Ethan Chernofsky:

and omni channel, I think where we were in 2020 Burlington

Ethan Chernofsky:

stores closed their ecommerce site A month later, the pandemic

Ethan Chernofsky:

hits every article is basically like Burlington, you morons. You

Ethan Chernofsky:

are so out of touch, say goodbye to Burlington. Within a year

Ethan Chernofsky:

Burlington, his numbers are higher than they've ever been.

Ethan Chernofsky:

They're crushing. They're one of the best performing retailers in

Ethan Chernofsky:

this space. And that takeaway isn't that ecommerce is bad or

Ethan Chernofsky:

omni channel is bad. It's just that Burlington ecommerce

Ethan Chernofsky:

shouldn't be Macy's, e commerce or target e commerce or Amazon.

Ethan Chernofsky:

It should be Burlington, e commerce. And the more companies

Ethan Chernofsky:

utilize data, their data, other people's data to understand who

Ethan Chernofsky:

they are and what they should be in their market. That's where

Ethan Chernofsky:

success comes take Amazon as well. Look at Amazon's grocery

Ethan Chernofsky:

push. Amazon buys Whole Foods. Is it the greatest success we've

Ethan Chernofsky:

ever seen? Probably not. Did it help define Amazon, Amazon Go

Ethan Chernofsky:

and Amazon Fresh which are proving to be far more Amazon

Ethan Chernofsky:

ish in their nature and likely a better long term solution for

Ethan Chernofsky:

what they want to provide? Absolutely. And so this ability

Ethan Chernofsky:

to kind of understand yourself test things, but build around

Ethan Chernofsky:

your core built around your strength? That's what's going to

Ethan Chernofsky:

drive a lot of great things in the retail space.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, absolutely. And even Walmart's acquisition

Guy Powell:

of jets initially. I don't know whether but they certainly have

Guy Powell:

been able to get their ecommerce going. And I think they are

Guy Powell:

going to give Amazon as hard as it is they are going to give

Guy Powell:

Amazon a good run for the money on the on the E commerce side.

Ethan Chernofsky:

Completely. We I mean, I love that the Walmart

Ethan Chernofsky:

jet example to me is incredible, because it is was the

Ethan Chernofsky:

acquisition successful? If you just read the acquisition of

Ethan Chernofsky:

jet? Probably not. Did it make Walmart amazing at ecommerce?

Ethan Chernofsky:

Absolutely. Yeah. And I think that that's a company that, you

Ethan Chernofsky:

know, we don't always think of as being super innovative, but

Ethan Chernofsky:

constantly investing and trying to figure out what their future

Ethan Chernofsky:

looks like. And that's why they are still such a massive retail

Ethan Chernofsky:

giant. That's why we even think of them as capable of competing

Ethan Chernofsky:

with Amazon. It's because of that investment and that focus

Ethan Chernofsky:

on innovation.

Guy Powell:

Well, and that's kind of where the where Steph

Guy Powell:

Curry's example comes in, it's the best, always striving to do

Guy Powell:

slightly better. So but anyway, before we close, is there any

Guy Powell:

one big message that you'd like to get across? I'd love to keep

Guy Powell:

talking to you. Because I think there's really good stuff. But

Guy Powell:

at some point, we have to close. So is there any one big message

Guy Powell:

that you'd otherwise like to get get across?

Ethan Chernofsky:

I think the data accessibility and the data

Ethan Chernofsky:

conversation, we need to start embracing that everyone in the

Ethan Chernofsky:

organization needs to access data. And the more we do this,

Ethan Chernofsky:

the more great ideas we're going to come up with, the better

Ethan Chernofsky:

we're going to be able to embrace data in the future, and

Ethan Chernofsky:

the better decisions we're going to make.

Guy Powell:

Yeah, I agree with that. You know, data

Guy Powell:

transparency and data, data is is like a liquid and if it gets

Guy Powell:

across to everywhere, then that That is that is ideal and, and I

Guy Powell:

think to your point that using the same data across the entire

Guy Powell:

organization really, really makes a lot of sense. So

Guy Powell:

unfortunately, I do have to close this out but Ethan, thank

Guy Powell:

you really so much. Thank you, thank you. It's been awesome I

Guy Powell:

you know, I'm a definite fan of the of this have the data and

Guy Powell:

the research the components that you that you provide and and it

Guy Powell:

certainly helped to educate me and hopefully, you know, the

Guy Powell:

audience will also see the same thing. So in any case, then

Guy Powell:

please visit place or.ai place or.ai And then you'll find a lot

Guy Powell:

more information on how you can use this geocentric data to your

Guy Powell:

advantage especially in retail but there are certainly many

Guy Powell:

many other applications. And then lastly, please stay tuned

Guy Powell:

for many other videos in this series on the Backstory of

Guy Powell:

Marketing. Please visit marketingmachine.prorelevant.com/getting-started.

Guy Powell:

That's a mouthful, but marketingmachine.prorelevant.com/getting-started.

Guy Powell:

So Ethan, thank you so much.

Ethan Chernofsky:

Thank you, Guy. So much fun to do this.