Innovations in marketing technology don’t only apply to your online channels — you can apply location- and affinity-based martech for offline tracking, measurement, and attribution too. To learn more about how to bridge the online/offline marketing gap, catch up on this VB Live event!

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“There are very exciting things going in the digital space, so a lot of brands and retailers, understandably, have put a lot of time, effort, and energy, and a huge amount of resources into becoming very good around tracking and attribution and customer acquisition costs and lifetime value in their digital ecosystems,” says Mark Coffey, SVP of strategic partnerships at GasBuddy (which currently has 12 million monthly active users). “And what we’ve discovered is some brands and retailers have done this almost at a cost to their offline channels.”

They may have a ton of data on a very small portion of their overall audience, while not even identifying the data they have on their offline customers.

“I don’t think anybody needs to be told at this point that you need a solid strategy for online,” he says. “But you need a solid strategy for offline too. For non-digital natives, and for most brands and most retailers, offline is where they meet the customer most of the time.”

Yes, people are omni-shoppers, in that they’re seamlessly transitioning from online to offline, but the reality is, for most brands and retailers, customers are meeting them in the physical world. And then, whether it’s the purchase-level data or location data, there’s a whole host of data sets out there that continue to sit in isolated silos.

“My first caution to people is, really pay attention to your offline strategy first, and then map that back to your online strategy,” he says.

Overall, GasBuddy’s primary use case is a tool for bridging the online and offline worlds, helping users locate the best price in gas near near them. It currently has 12 million monthly active users and is the seventh most highly rated app of all time in the Apple store. And as an always-on, highly permissioned app, the company gets an extraordinary amount of location data.

“Location is very quickly becoming one of the most powerful solutions to the long challenge of online to offline,” Coffey says. “Being able to see where consumers go is one of the strongest high fidelity signals of their preferences.”

Signals on location are becoming significantly more accurate with GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, BLE, IOT, all which allow the company to cross-reference, plus add dwell time — understanding not only where a customer is but also how long they spent there. For instance, typically it takes about three minutes to gas up a car, so anything above five minutes typically suggests a convenience store visit.

With a technology partner, they’re able to leverage first-party location at the data device ID level, which allows GasBuddy to help brands and retailers not only see which consumers are visiting those locations, but get historical location data from a user and re-address them.

The company is also able to access trip data, understanding the beginning and end point of trips, and also the various waypoints that are between those trip ends.

“So essentially what we’re doing is, as the third-most used travel app, we get an extraordinary amount of location data,” he says. “We then work with technology partners that are specifically focused on solving that online to offline dilemma. Then we’re working with brands and retailers by making these offline audiences, that have been typically completely invisible, or certainly not addressable, both highly visible and addressable. We’re both a data source and a platform for addressing the audience itself.”

Leveling up with attribution-based marketing

But you can go from that high fidelity signal to what he calls the highest fidelity signal, card-linked offer marketing.

“Location data and card-linked offer marketing really become the ultimate one-two punch,” he says. “On the attribution front, card-linked offer marketing is a miracle solution for retailers. There’s no hardware or software integration required at POS.”

A solution they’re bringing to market next year will allow a user to link one of their credit cards to their GasBuddy wallet. When that user loads a specific offer from a participating merchant onto that card and uses it, they’ll be earning, typically, 10 percent gas back on that purchase.

“That is the purest signal, where the brand has invested in marketing to drive awareness, consideration, and intent, but when that card is swiped, that consideration, awareness, and intent is now very visibly seen as conversion attribution,” he says. “Now there’s this CPR, this cost per revenue, where you’re not paying for impressions. You’re not paying only when you acquire a customer. Now you’re basically paying for that customer after they’ve made that transaction.”

Coffey believes that card-linked offer marketing over the next five to 10 years will replace or become the primary part of almost every single loyalty program, which previously have been not extraordinarily effective, and are expensive to set up, run, and manage.

240 percent boost in conversions

In a proximity-based marketing campaign test with Dunkin Donuts in Chicago, the company identified a large segment of users who had not been to a Dunkin location in the previous 90 days; they had never been Dunkin customers or had lapsed. Using GasBuddy, this audience was targeted when they were at a specific location or in proximity to the location, i.e., looking at the app or getting ready to stop for gas. Proximity-based marketing allows that user to get a highly contextual reminder: turn around, there’s a Dunkin Donuts, and here’s a great offer.

“Even though these would have been the most challenging consumers to convert, we were able to get the users who received a Dunkin Donuts offer to visit a Dunkin location 240 percent more often than those who were not exposed to the mobile ad,” Coffey says. “I’ve been in the marketing business, particularly on the digital side, for more years than I’d like to admit. But I’d never seen results like this.”

Leveraging your audience at POS

The company actually got into the attribution game two years ago with their Pay with GasBuddy card, which is the country’s first fully federated brand-agnostic fuel payment card. Close to half a million GasBuddy consumers have linked their bank accounts to Pay with GasBuddy. Once a customer is within the payments ecosystem, they have access to the Gas Back product, which is a unique attribution currency for the offline world, where a customer is able to earn free gas.

“It’s a perfect use case: GasBuddy is able to address a huge audience directly at the point of purchase,” Coffey says. “We can reach them with a highly contextual message offering them an in-store incentive with the Pay with GasBuddy card or the Gas Back attribution vehicle, truly for the first time unlocking that typically invisible, unaddressable audience at point of purchase.”

Coffey explains that the performance of the average digital marketing campaign is “extraordinarily depressing,” with average clickthrough rates on a banner ad somewhere around 0.003 percent.

“We got used to the majority of media pushed in in the digital space really not reaching and generating impressions, and definitely not impact,” he says. “We stepped back to figure out how we can do better than this, and meet the consumer where they are at the right time, the right location, and the right context and proximity.”

He says GasBuddy has one of the largest addressable audiences of drivers in the US: 40 million Americans spend a billion dollars a day on gas purchases. Fuel and convenience is a $600 billion business. But 60 percent of people who gas up their cars on a daily basis don’t go into the convenience store, despite the fact that for the retailers and brands, that’s where the healthiest margins are. That’s the problem Gas Buddy is tackling.

The Miller/Coors case study

GasBuddy just finished a proximity marketing campaign with Miller/Coors. Sixty percent of all the beer in the U.S. is sold at fuel and convenience locations, but it’s a very frustrating market for most brands, because 60 percent of the 157,000 gas stations in the U.S are also single owner operated. It’s a big, lucrative market, but it’s frustratingly fragmented for brands to address holistically.

With the payment tool, the company knows where the customer is, what they’re doing, and that they’re just a few steps away from a convenience store. The campaign pushed an offer of $5 worth of gas back on a $12 to $13 purchase of a Miller or Coors product.

“Number one, it was a highly efficient media dollar investment, because you’re reaching a very specific audience doing a very specific thing in immediate proximity to a participating retailer and brand,” Coffey says. “But then we also had an attribution vehicle that, when we actually pull that person from the pump to the convenience store and they made that purchase, we were able to show to the brand and the retailer, leveraging both location data and now purchase data, that we had fully bridged what’s typically that online to offline dilemma in a very visible and powerful way.”

To learn more about how martech is bridging online and offline worlds, how to break through consumer inattention with proximity-based marketing, and new offline strategies in an online world, catch up on this VB Live event!

Don’t miss out.

Access for free on demand here!

Attend this webinar and learn:

  • How to use martech to digitize offline channels
  • How to integrate traditional marketing efforts into their newer tech-driven marketing stack
  • The importance of combining online and offline marketing
  • How to track offline conversions


  • Evan Jones, CMO, Fender
  • Mark Coffey, SVP of Strategic Partnerships, GasBuddy
  • Myllisa Patterson, Senior Director, Event Cloud Marketing, Cvent
  • Shannon Ryan, Head of Marketing, CI&T
  • Dilan Yuksel, VentureBeat

Sponsored by Cvent