From franchise owners to dealers, you know the success of your brand lies in the hands of your front line associates. Learn how you can win the hearts of your local marketers and become their best friend, while positively impacting your distributed brand.
What Is Local Marketing?
Local marketing refers to the set of tools, tactics and techniques that are used to raise awareness for a business and generate demand for its products and services within a well-defined area around the business location. Depending on the nature of the business, the term “local” might refer to a geographic region as small as a few blocks, or as much as several dozen miles.
The emphasis on location is key. By concentrating its marketing activities within a precise service area, the business can elevate chances that communications will yield response, whether through increased traffic in the store, or increased ordering via telephone or Internet based means.
The Benefits of Local Marketing
Businesses that devote themselves in a sustained and disciplined way to local marketing enjoy a large set of advantages over their more passive competitors.
- Greater brand awareness: When a local business executes their marketing initiatives with brand-compliant marketing assets, they tap into two complementary and positive forces. First, by leveraging a well-known brand, they increase the impact and visibility of their marketing, effectively deriving a greater impact out of each marketing dollar. And second, by reinforcing the brand, they help to improve its presence and reach, thereby making it more powerful over time.
- Greater brand consistency: Although the effects of brand consistency have been well documented for decades, local marketers often fall prey to the promises of local media, who suggest that off-brand promotions will have an immediate impact on sales. But brand communities that make consistency a top priority can give their local marketers revenue-generating tactics that are executed consistent with brand voice, and thereby achieve both short-term and long-term benefits at the same time.
- Faster, more nimble local marketing: Nothing frustrates a local marketer more than missing an immediate opportunity, or failing to respond to a competitive threat in a timely way. Brands that support local marketers with self-service tools and systems find that they can support local marketing activities on these shortened time frames, without sacrificing quality and brand compliance.
- Lower creative production and rework costs: Brand discipline doesn’t just elevate quality. It also helps reduce costs, by providing a mature and well-documented platform for the rapid development of promotional materials. Instead of re-inventing the brand “wheel”, local marketers can leverage layouts, concepts, headlines, images, and copy that are the product of a disciplined brand execution. The savings across an entire community of marketers can easily scale into millions of dollars, when executed properly. And these savings redound not only to the benefit of the brand, but in vitally important ways for each local marketer.
- Higher local marketer satisfaction: This last benefit is important whether your community is composed of franchisees, dealers, or inside sales representatives. When local promotions achieve success, they help to motivate and focus local marketers, binding them more closely to the brand. This effect may not appear in the revenue or profit numbers in the early years, but over time it compounds to help form a substantial barrier to competitors — and thereby builds the long term value of the entire enterprise.
What Happens When Local Marketing Chaos Sets In
The benefits of brand discipline are well known. But even so, we have seen a vicious cycle of local marketing chaos set in when brand communities lose their way.
In this cycle, the brand and the local marketers often find themselves working in isolation from each other, and at cross-purposes. If this state of affairs persists, distrust and lack of communication can set in, and local marketing can become a matter of “every location for itself” in the struggle to survive. Denied the benefits of a strong and consistent brand, each local marketer finds that they need to mount more and more aggressive promotional efforts to fend off the competition and meet their marketing goals.
Faced with this critical situation, many brand authorities will determine that they have no choice but to “crack down” on non-compliant marketing executions, and so they institute a regime of strict approval regarding any local marketing activities. Lengthy approvals and arcane rules can make local marketers feel like the brand is not only failing to support them, but is also actively impeding their efforts to succeed. This dis-satisfaction, of course, only serves to deepen the adversarial relationship between the brand local marketers—and the cycle deepens.
The Five Essential Components for Local Marketing Success
To prevent this unhappy situation, distributed brand communities need to build their marketing operations around five key components.
- Easy, secure access to approved brand assets: Often known as digital asset management, this component allows for brand approved assets to be distributed to the people who need them, and to be discovered quickly and easily, through simple brows and search methods. Generally speaking, this means much more than a shared-folder on the Extranet, or a file-transfer facility. It means a well-managed marketing-asset library, using well-proven technology, and well-documented practices regarding the management of brand assets.
- Self-service customizable templates: Local marketers today want more than access to brand assets. They also want to be able to tailor those assets to address their immediate marketing situation. Research shows that local marketers are more than happy to live within clearly defined rules regarding the use and customization of brand layouts and content. But increasingly, they have come to expect that the brand will make those rules easy to obey, with templates that guide the user to successful brand-compliant executions. And this flexibility should apply across all media types—traditional, digital, and social alike.
- Deep integrations with brand content (product, corporate, etc.): Local marketing requires a lot more than fast access to brand logos and images. It also means having access to current, legally approved and brand-blessed content—headlines, copy blocks, product descriptions, legal disclaimers and more. The most successful brand communities have made the process of local marketing a simple matter of “pick and mix”, so that local marketers can produce a high-quality, brand-compliant, fully customized marketing tactic in a matter of just a few minutes—and often, without even touching the keyboard!
- Easy to configure workflows for review and approval: The key to enforcing brand discipline is to make sure that brand authorities have the ability to turn approval loops on or off as the need dictates. In some cases, this means granting some local marketers higher degrees of freedom than others. In other cases, it may mean turning on approval processes for some templates, while leaving other templates ungated. No matter what the balance of freedom and control may be right for your brand, you’ll need a system that allows you to strike that balance and adjust as your brand community and marketing conditions evolve.
- Real-time insights into local marketing activity: Finally, a disciplined brand team needs the ability to monitor field-level marketing activity, so they can determine what brand assets are getting play, and which are getting ignored. They need to know which markets are activating the brand, and which have gone quiet. Finally, they need to know which assets are most popular and which are having the most impact on revenues, so they can double down on those kinds of materials and build on their success.
The Results of Successful Local Marketing
When brand communities get the equation right, they make high quality, brand-compliant local marketing look easy. And from the local marketers perspective ease of execution is tremendously important—because they have many more hats to wear than marketing alone. If you’d like to learn more about real world examples of effective local marketing, take a look at some of the case studies here.
CampaignDrive by Pica9 is a local marketing management platform built to help corporate organizations empower their affiliates to launch local marketing campaigns. With CampaignDrive, companies can quickly and efficiently create and distribute approved branded marketing assets to franchises nationwide, with support from experts who understand your business. Speak with a local marketing expert today.