For companies with multiple locations, it can be quite difficult to prove the ROI from local marketing campaigns. Very often marketers know that things are working at the local level, but knowing exactly how well they're working and why can be a different story. That's why many brands institute regional marketing teams to focus on bolstering brand marketing effectiveness across specific locales. For example, a brand might designate a marketing manager to oversee all the locations in Detroit or across the whole East Coast. With a regional marketing team at their disposal, local franchisees and dealerships have extra firepower to deploy an effective marketing strategy for their store.
So how do top multi-location brands use regional marketing teams most effectively, and what does this all mean for local marketing ROI?
The place to start is to understand the key roles and responsibilities that most regional marketers are given. How do they contribute to local marketing success and what tactics do corporate teams employ to help them overcome the common challenges that local affiliates throw at them?
How Top Multi-Located Brands Maximize Marketing ROI with Regional Marketing Teams
Responsibility #1: Understand Local Affiliates
Regional marketing teams are first and foremost tasked with understanding the brand's local affiliates and their customers. Often, a regional marketer's success is judged by the sales performance of the locations they serve. One of the largest responsibilities regional marketing teams have is to evaluate how those locations have been doing, and what progress they're making against their sales targets. To do that, they need to understand their affiliates' operations inside and out. Unfortunately, because they work with lots of affiliates and don't get the front-line experience that the franchisee, dealer or agent has, this can be a tricky job to do well.
Regional marketers typically have some information about ongoing sales performance from the operations team or PoS reports, but it's the local affiliates who are the real experts. They know and understand the customer, their products/services and how they connect best with the customer. To get up to speed, regional marketing teams should:
- Get to know each local affiliate personally. Work with your local affiliates to really understand what their goals and ambitions are before putting together a plan to boost marketing performance. Your dealers are all unique, and the one with a small family business is very different from those that have built their own mini-empires.
- Be empathetic. Remember, local affiliates are not marketing professionals, nor do they have the expertise needed to deliver a coordinated marketing approach. Work at your local partners' comfort level by giving them best-use tactics and tools that you know they can actually use.
- Talk to local affiliates about their priorities. Many local affiliates prioritize day-to-day operations over marketing. But that doesn't mean they don't have their own ideas for campaigns! Regional marketing teams should work with each local affiliate to understand what they've been thinking about and make a plan to fill in any gaps related to marketing development and deployment.
To get over the learning curve for each local market or location, regional marketing teams need to listen, get feedback and continuously lend an empathetic ear to their local affiliates.
Responsibility #2: Develop Unique Regional Marketing Campaigns
Over the course of a year, Polaris Industries hosts up to 100 sales events. Polaris is a leader in the worldwide power-sports industry and has a vast international community of 2400 dealers. For Polaris and companies with similar models, it falls to regional marketing specialists to oversee campaigns for these types of events. A main part of that job is taking a national message and squaring it up with a specific region's unique tastes. As you can imagine, there are a lot of moving parts.
This is where so often the customer experience that the brand is hoping to create with a particular event or promotion can break down. Brand assets and marketing materials have to reflect the same branding from one location to the next, but with so many regional efforts going on at the same time it doesn't just happen by accident. Regional marketers need to step in and make sure that they coordinate the most effective campaign for their region, but also keep things in line with the brand's guidelines.
When regional teams have to deal with numerous locations at the same time, this gets even more complicated. When affiliates don't deliver the right branding it leaves a lasting negative impression on the consumer. Brands look to their regional and field marketing teams to smooth things out so that the brand stays the same wherever it appears. Field marketers who manage the brand experience while running regional marketing campaigns always do the following:
- Stay in contact. Be in frequent communication with local dealers and franchisees to remind them about ongoing sales events, offers and promotions the brand has created that they should be using.
- Preparing local affiliates. Give plenty of lead time to let your affiliates know about upcoming campaigns. Make sure each affiliate you're working with has the proper staffing, materials and training needed to deploy and run the campaign successfully. In Polaris's case, marketing pieces like postcards, emails, in-store displays, banner ads, radio spots and more all have to be shared with the dealerships well in advance.
Many enterprise brands have invested in Local Marketing Automation (LMA) tools to help their local affiliates deploy highly engaging regional marketing campaigns. These platforms help the regional marketing specialists to tailor campaigns in the right way for their local partners, and can even give them visibility into what marketing tactics are most popular in their territory.
Responsibility #3: Adapt Brand Assets for Local Usage
Regional marketers have to make sure the brand's marketing assets are relevant for their collection of stores. Just like with a whole campaign, getting the local flavors right in each individual asset can be a tricky job. A headline that has some attitude could work well in New York, but it comes across as a little too snarky in Memphis. Or it could just be irrelevant to the customer in that market. When adapting brand assets to each location, regional marketers are often a big help. They can easily check in with corporate about a given approach and make recommendations on how best to adjust an ad based on their experience with many other stores. Still, it is usually helpful to get franchisees to produce some of this marketing collateral themselves, and having tools in place that offer marketing templates for affiliates can make things more efficient.
For a company like Penn Station Subs, a Northeastern sandwich chain, promotional templates for their franchisees could be necessary to keep their stores on track. As the best marketing copy is usually written by the brand team at headquarters, the regional team may choose to distribute this copy and creative through templated marketing material to the right locations. Here’s how teams like this can help franchises comply with brand standards and still give their marketing a localized touch:
- Provide easy access to assets. With a local marketing tool (like CampaignDrive) local affiliates have ready-access to all the brand marketing materials that the regional team decides are relevant for them to use. This could include templates for print or digital pieces, and much more.
- Educate them about legal standards. Regional marketing teams can get ahead of possible compliance issues just by providing information and guidelines about what franchisees or dealers can or can't say in their local marketing.
- Encourage localization. Depending on the amount of control you give to your local partners, encourage them to add their own local flavor to their marketing pieces. Adding an image of your local neighborhood or including some localized terminology goes a long way in showing the customer you really identify with them.
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Responsibility #4: Monitor Regional Marketing Performance
A regional marketing manager's success is ultimately tied to the performance of the stores within their regions and territories. So when it comes to monitoring performance, field marketers have to be proactive about tracking the progress of marketing campaigns at each individual franchise or dealership.
However, even the best regional marketing managers know their local partners won't hit a home run every time. Again, owners, store managers and their employees tend to focus more on customer service and in-store operations than they do on marketing. So performance can often be choppy, just because they have to pay attention to so many other things besides marketing. On top of that, at the local level, it can be tough to get accurate metrics so you can report on how well a campaign is doing. So how do regional teams cope and still make sure they know where they stand each month? In order to guarantee local marketing success, regional marketers need to consider:
- Checking in weekly. How is the local marketing campaign performing on the ground? Unfortunately, the local affiliate probably won't be able to give you all the concrete data or metrics you want to support these claims, but even if you just do a gut-check each week they'll be able to give you some insight into how things are going - at the very least they'll be sure to tell you how busy their employees or cashiers have been since the new campaign started. Use this rough information to figure out where you should dig a little bit deeper to find those extra nuggets of insight.
- Making reporting easy. Give your regional marketing teams an unfair advantage by leveraging the power of Local Marketing Automation. With tools like CampaignDrive, regional marketing teams can monitor how assets are being used, explore the marketing trends going on in each area and more.
Getting the Most from Regional Marketing Teams
The most successful enterprise brands know the importance of those marketers-in-the-middle known as the regional marketing team. That's why they're equipping regional marketing teams with the resources and tools to overcome the industry's most pressing challenges. Together, corporate and regional teams work to support the unique goals of their local partners - the franchisees, dealers or agents and brokers who are invested in their brand. With the right software, regional marketing teams get to maintain the oversight they need and can access all the data required to improve campaign performance and drive business results.
With access to easy-to-use print and digital templates, local affiliates can execute regional marketing campaigns that excite their customers and employees and make their regional specialists proud!
Download the Local Marketing Playbook for access to the world's top local marketing templates, campaigns, tools, and more.