Marketers intuitively understand the value in messages tailored to geography. But for national brands, creating unique campaigns for every location is not always plausible.
As a result, localized marketing is often left to franchise owners and resellers. Without tight controls, this can jeopardize brand consistency. In addition, tracking locally-created campaigns is often extremely difficult and sporadic at best.
Below are four strategies that return localized marketing to corporate hands. These tools make the practice easier, less expensive and more automated.
1. Leverage Local Content Creators
Personal stories and recommendations are extremely powerful in today’s Yelp-ified world. Compendium provides tools for brands to creatively encourage, curate and promote customer-created content. Patrons are invited to contribute their story in-person, through email marketing or “tell us about your experience” forms, among other avenues.
How It’s Local: Customers write about their experiences and submit photos specific to that location. They are then served tools to instantly share those posts with their own social networks. These stories appear in branded, location-specific blogs.
Business Benefits: National marketers don’t have to create unique content for every location and maintain control with tools to monitor and publish posts as they are submitted. Tracking codes on each article reveal successes that can then be used in other marketing materials. A pet relocation client, for example, might automatically send a story about moving a Golden Retriever from Dallas to London to a potential customer that requests an online quote for a similar move.
2. Deliver Customizable Marketing Assets to Local Affiliates
Digital asset management systems have long been used to make branded materials available to local marketers. But they aren’t specific to a location, nor do they track the promotion’s execution.
“Brands come to us saying ‘I have a localized marketing system in place today, but adoption is really low.’ The reason adoption is low is that system lacks automation.” — Shane Vaughan, Chief Marketing Officer of Balihoo
His product, as well as a similar offering by Saepio, overcome this challenge by automating fulfillment and delivering assets that are customizable.
How It’s Local: Both tools deliver national-quality marketing assets to local marketers who can add in their own addresses, logos, social media buttons and other localized content.
“The goal is to make it really intuitive and easy for the local marketer to use,” Saepio CEO John Thomson said.
These assets include microsites, email templates, direct mail ads, in-store materials, online displays, social media messages, radio spots, outdoor displays and more. Some online assets are embedded with analytics so corporate teams can measure national success for campaigns executed at the local level.
Business Benefits: The corporate marketing team doesn’t have to manage individual marketing assets for every location. The national team can at once make updates to every microsite, for example. Or, if the corporation wants local marketers to execute the campaign, they can set tasks and alerts to indicate action is needed. All materials are pre-approved so the message stays consistent.
3. Use On-Location Displays and Shopping Apps
Adcentricity (formerly Bee Media) allows national brands to grab customer attention at the purchase decision moment–be that in a store, physician’s office or walking through a busy shopping center. Clients can choose from the agency’s network of in-store television screens, location-based shopping apps, in-window displays, digital projectors, radio partners and interactive gaming stations.
How It’s Local: This strategy isn’t just about catching the customer on location. Marketers can target segments by choosing geographically relevant settings. For example, if a company wants to target younger buyers, Adcentricity might suggest media channels in and around colleges.
Business Benefits: Marketers don’t have to research and individually contact each screen, radio channel or app owner. With one contact, they can spread campaigns across multiple media channels in locations ranging from airports to gas pumps. Adcentricity also auto-personalizes the message for the store, day or time. A food manufacturer, for example, might want to do a grocery store display that features deals on granola bars in the morning and quick dinner recipes in the evening.
4. Take Control of Local Search Listings
Yext PowerListings lets companies control their local search listings across 35 search platforms including Yahoo!, Yelp and Foursquare. The technology makes sure the correct address, website and phone numbers are listed. Marketers can also add images and timely promotions to those listings.
“Every business wants to make sure they are everywhere consumers are searching,” says Yext Sales and Services Vice President Wendi Sturgis. Her company has run diagnostics on more than 200 companies’ local search results. At least 50 percent of those listings were wrong or missing. “That’s a huge missed opportunity,” she says.
SIM Partners provides similar local search listing optimization. But the platform couples that strategy with location-specific pages and mobile sites. These sites have the local entity’s address, hours, phone number, photos, videos and other information.
How It’s Local: With Yext, marketers can add custom promotions, descriptions and photos to search listings based on the location. These appear adjacent to the name of the company and address on the local search results page and are specific to that location. SIM Partners also sends the search platforms information from the local sites they created–rather than the national brand–so the listing will appear higher on the search results page.
Business Benefits: Marketers don’t have to individually contact and negotiate with each search platform. Users can also instantly make changes to listings using a account dashboard. These portals track how many times a listing showed up, where, and whether it was clicked.
There are undoubtedly other technologies that make localized marketing easier–and still more that address challenges not mentioned here (Google Adwords, Yelp! and Facebook). What solutions have you come across? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.
Photo courtesy of Colin Mutchler