How To Build a Local Area Marketing Strategy

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For anyone who doubts the importance of Local Area Marketing (LAM) strategies, here’s the reality: 85%1 of small business owners rely on word-of-mouth referrals.

Strong LAM strategies are a vital piece in the marketing puzzle.

Successful LAM strategies are not like general marketing – they need to employ slightly different techniques and methods in order to locate, reach, engage and attract local people. But what is ‘local’? Loosely speaking, we’re talking about a market area of roughly 50 miles. Although that can vary significantly. For instance, franchisees may have much more strict operating zones – as will car dealers with their own Prime Marketing Areas (PMAs).

These days, LAM also encompasses local search marketing (aka Local SEO). These techniques ensure that local businesses are pinpointed in search results, yielding location pages and directions and contact details. Smart Chief Marketing Officers need to factor in LAM needs within their plans to maximize potential.

Challenges for You As A Franchisee and Why Local Area Marketing is the Answer

For the franchisee or the network operator, the challenges are coming thick and fast. But the great news is that the power of Local Area Marketing has never been more evident. The online world has changed everything allowing more targeted and customized interactions with local buyers. Shoppers have access to brand and business information at their fingertips and they are using that information to buy better, locally.

For Head Office Marketing teams of large organizations (and Franchisors), there is the unique opportunity. Empowering them with the right tools to conduct ruthlessly efficient LAM strategies, turning local prospects into local customers.

But first, the challenge is to understand the local customer – to really understand them. A thorough analysis of the local market to fully comprehend the audience characteristics within each PMA (Prime Marketing Area) is essential to gauge buying behavior. Head offices should work with the local network operator to assist in developing a clear picture of their target. This will lead to a more targeted approach, more effective LAM campaigns and less ‘hit and hope’ marketing initiatives. Local business operators need access to key marketing data such as:

  • Demographics
  • Lifestyle
  • Interests
  • Media consumption
  • Community and Sponsorships
  • Social Community Database

The next challenge to overcome is providing the operators within the network. With the right tools they can create powerful LAM campaigns that hinge off a nationwide campaign. This allows alignment with head office marketing teams. This goes well beyond simple ‘Brand Guideline’ playbooks and basic instructions on how to set an ad campaign up. The entire local network needs access to a Dynamic Content Creation platforms. This allows them to customize national campaign assets for communication needs. Assets available to the network need to cover all elements of a modern campaign. This includes all media (Social/electronic/ traditional print and press) together. With customizable elements that allow for messaging and visual elements that ‘speak’ to the local audience.

Streamlining campaign rollouts – a challenge for CMOs.

For most CMOs, the ‘rollout pain’ is the same from industry to industry. From briefing the advertising agency, sitting through concept presentations. The occasional requirement for re-briefing and sitting through more presentations to finally arriving at the concept you will roll out across your network. It’s a month long process. Maybe longer. And that’s not to mention the need to get buy in from the network – (which could  include  key  franchise  business  owners and Business Development Managers/Sales Managers) the complexities of traversing media proposals, modifying the campaign  to  suit different regions and target markets – the list goes on.

Finally, you’ve arrived at a national marketing strategy around this creative concept. You’ve executed an expensive advertising shoot (including stills and moving footage across all media types) and you may have even created some regional and language specific assets to assist the local teams in your network to execute the

marketing strategy. Now it’s time for the rollout – distributing the campaign across your marketing network with efficiency and vision.

This is where the challenges of ensuring your campaign is executed consistently in local marketing become evident. The balance of strategic marketing thinking on a larger scale and the adaptability and application on a local level is one of the hardest aspects for CMOs to achieve. The forward-thinking ones will look to incorporate a local market strategy with a smart implementation program. But rarely is there as much attention to implementation compared to the effort put into creative development.

Network usage and application.

So you distribute your files across the network (together with a sales bulletin outlining the key points of the campaign). Files now dispatched, you wait with anticipation of how the market will respond to your strategy – albeit with a certain

trepidation around how the various local areas will apply the campaign within their market and how they will utilize the assets.

And this is where the problems begin.

Approvals, workflows and asset management.

There’s a difference between distributing the files and assets and systematically sharing them with clear approvals processes and usage controls.

To do this manually from a marketing office located in a distant part of the country can be tricky. If you’re relying on good faith from the network and your team ‘policing’ the campaign execution from afar, what you’re likely to experience is significant variance from the campaign during rollout and local area application. Apart from watering down your umbrella concept. This can open you up to serious Rights Management issues – particularly on photographic assets that involve professional talent. There is a real likelihood that there will be secondary costs

after advertisements with sensitive assets hit the market.

Working with many brands across varied industries, MyAdbox has encountered these

problems regularly. The asset management issues are seemingly never-ending, files are shared with little or no transparency. Where they’ve been shared, when they’ve been shared, nor who they been shared with remains allusive . Brands can lose complete visibility on assets and find it difficult to report on their effectiveness and usage. Rights management can add further

to the complexity, where imagery being applied to advertising puts you at risk of potential legal action around misuse (unintentional

or otherwise).

The approval and workflow processes can be even more complex: Who’s authorized to make the call  on  application  of  assets  and  content in that region? Why didn’t Head Office see how

local businesses had changed the visuals? Who approved the new headlines they’re now using in that State?

LAM creative interpretation. Return On Investment.

As if the task of launching your nationwide campaign isn’t difficult enough.

Now for the even more monumental task of ensuring the campaign you’ve chosen doesn’t get watered down and reworked in Local Area Markets. The big question is, how do you ensure the integrity of the concept and your brand position in far-flung regional markets?

Measuring ROI is a challenge for all Marketing teams. But effectively monitoring campaign rollout, engagement and accurately gauging performance in very different geographic markets is nearly impossible without software.

There are platforms out there right now that control and distribute the ever-growing asset management  database.  They  also  enable users to create local content that is founded in the principles of the overarching global brand position and provide diagnostics that are key to analyzing ROI.

There are end-to-end solutions to all of the above brand and campaign challenges.

National and Local Area Marketing made easy with Brand Management Software.

Forward thinking marketers will look to incorporate a local market strategy with a smart implementation program. CMOs who are drawing on new technologies to control their brand and their marketing rollouts are benefiting the most. In particular, we’re talking about Brand Management Software, which has made life a lot easier for marketing teams. It has also empowered their networks rather than force-fitting marketing that has little flexibility to resonate at a local level.

Smart Brand Management Software must incorporate a sophisticated Digital Asset Management (DAM) Platform. With the right DAM, brands are able to completely organize

and distribute media files to their entire network in a centralized portal. Within this platform, they can deliver and control which assets are downloaded and used within their network. Rights managed imagery is controlled, sharing of files is monitored, and approval workflows are established to ensure imagery

is applied correctly across all advertising and communication collateral. The DAM you select must allow asset version control, metadata tagging for search functionality and sorting. Rights Management permission protocols, expiration and activation controls, archiving procedures and more.

Apart from the sheer logic of storing, controlling and distributing your assets in one platform, There is also the enormous time savings achieved with a good DAM. Studies2 have shown that without a DAM, nearly 20% of a marketing team’s time is lost in the hunt for digital assets and the endless back and forth with network users around which assets they can access and use. That’s a lot of wasted

time if you extrapolate that number across a marketing team.

The second, equally important aspect of Brand Management Software is a Dynamic Content Creation system that rolls the campaign

into editable templates for all network users. Sometimes known as an Automated Ad Creation system. This is a formidable component of Brand Management Software. It ensures that local marketing teams are creating content that is 100% on brand, 100% of the time.

Good Dynamic Content Creation systems are capable of producing content into all mediums including TV, social, digital, video, print, outdoor etc. Importantly, this software

will also incorporate in-built workflow approval processes that can be implemented from a macro brand level right down to a Local Area Marketing level. This will give brands complete control and visibility on how advertising is working (or not working) against sales results and provide them with the intelligence to adjust accordingly.

Another important element to consider in selecting a Brand Management platform is its capacity to automate processes that allow

users to create content in multiple languages and character sets. There are pockets of our retail landscape that speak English as a second language, and smart Local Area Marketers

will identify the opportunities to sell to them in their own language. With a Dynamic Content Creation system this is an easy task – strategic variations on content can be made swiftly and put into market fast, providing you with the capacity to conduct A/B testing on this content to lift your conversion rates.

Last, but not least, is the ever-present issue of data security and privacy. Serious Brand Management Software will safeguard your brand at all times, with robust cloud based solutions using a network of servers that

incorporate the highest security levels and are scalable to cater for growth. Security details like Single Sign On authentication and SSL Certificates ensuring encryption in data transfer are also important.

Smart brands are constantly looking for ways to optimize marketing – as are their competitors. Marketing teams that are yet to implement Brand Management Software and empower

their Local Area Marketing networks are leaving substantial gains on the table.



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