Local Marketing is Essential to Brand Growth
Advertising and Marketing has typically been a combination of art and science. Sometimes equal parts of both, other times, not so much. The science of marketing, however, is where growth has occurred at an exponential rate. It has become far more expansive and effective than ever before to target niche consumer segments. Marketing at the local-level provides brands the ability to tailor communication to a specific demographic or community (and in some cases even personalize the message) in order to increase brand awareness and sales. Because of the ability to now hyper-focus messaging and brand communication, brands can foster loyalty to help drive advocacy and repeat purchase.
Earlier this year we provided tips for how brands can address local marketing while transitioning to “the new normal” of 2020. However, local marketing is always essential to growing your brand, and should consistently be reviewed and optimized. We’ve compiled several key strategies for OEM’s to be thinking about when supporting their channel partners at the local-level, but also key strategies for local channel partners to help market their business best to their local community to increase brand awareness and sales at the local-level.
How OEMs can support channel partners at the local-level
Create, offer, and make accessible standardized brand content to your channel partners
- Ensure that you have a portal, universally accessible to your channel partners that provides standardized brand content. All channel partners should have access to branded creative assets in order to ensure uniformity for all brand touchpoints.
Provide a way for channel partners to create content that can be customized with pertinent local information
- Frequently local franchisees will require the ability to customize brand content in order to adhere to local media buys, such as including updated addresses, specific promotions, alternate logos or co-branded partnerships. Variable asset customization provides the ultimate flexibility to your partners allowing more efficient content creation and instills trust in channel partners. Ensure your program has a suitable auditing capability as well in order to measure and ensure conformity to guidelines and brand standards.
Assist with local media planning and buying by supporting group media buys
- Local franchisees may not always have the time and resources to source effective media buys. Additionally, they may prove to be too costly of an investment. At the brand level, create a process and system that allows seamless opportunities for local channel partners to buy-in to local or regionalized media programs. By utilizing brand-level resources, it’s often more efficient and effective to set up group buys for your channel partners, typically organized by specific Designated Market Areas (DMAs).
Offer cooperative funds to local channel partners to help support brand campaigns
- Cooperative funds often give local partners the opportunity to extend existing marketing efforts while also investing in new opportunities that typically can place a larger amount of risk onto franchisee’s or dealers. By offering cooperative or market development funds, brands can help alleviate the pressure of expensive marketing tactics and either subsidize or help co-share the investment
Provide turnkey marketing packages with semi-permanent or permanent retail POP materials and other event support materials
- Many brands offer a multitude of resources and materials to franchisee’s or dealers. If not, it’s important to provide these resources to dealers, often at a discount, in order for them to have brand materials featured at point-of-sale. These typically consist of in-store signage, posters, event materials, etc. and should be organized into specific packages supporting brand initiatives, sales events and promotions, etc..
How channel partners can deliver an effective brand-centric campaign locally
Regardless of marketing initiatives provided at the national brand level (many outlined above), the onus still falls on most channel partners to provide supplemental marketing support to ultimately “activate” the brand-centric program at the local-level. To borrow the age-old adage, this is where the rubber hits the road. This can be completed any number of different ways, but to ensure the most relevant and impactful results, local channel partners should at minimum implement a combination of digital, social and content-driven strategies focusing on Paid, Earned, Shared, and/or Owned media. Below are additional details on four relevant tactics:
Conduct SEM along with local SEO
- Complete and review a keyword search. Ensure you are buying the most relevant search terms, especially considering user search behavior has drastically changed in the previous 6 months. Following this keyword audit, you are able to see what terms people are searching and buying against and where the traffic is in order to construct ads and campaigns to target them accordingly.
Perform digital audits on both your competitors and your brand
- Assess what your competition is doing and what competitive offers they may feature on their website, social media, or digital media. On your site, find out where your traffic is coming from—without retail door swings this year, where are your digital door swings coming from? Optimize your SEO behavior as needed following this review.
Buy hyper-targeted traditional advertising at the local-level
- Traditional media is becoming more fragmented but consumers are spending more and more time online and with local OTT and on-demand channels streaming digital content. This provides a unique opportunity to source prime placement on relevant channels with your local audience by surveying your audience demographic and buying the most relevant air times for your product or service. With the aid of brand-level group media buys, this may be an extremely cost effective use of marketing dollars. Just be sure to check your run reports and confirm that your ads aren’t running multiple times back-to-back or in the wee hours of the morning. If so be sure to ask for make-goods and it never hurts to always ask for some “added value.” And lastly, don’t forget to supplement your OTT or on-demand buys with traditional digital advertising.
Don’t forget to be social – especially during difficult times
- More than half of the world’s population actively engages on social media. It’s imperative to have a social presence for your brand at the local-level, especially if you are an individual retailer, dealer, or franchisee for a national brand. By engaging with local consumers on social media, you have a direct line to provide up-to-date information about the business (hours, website, new product offerings), answer questions, share current inventory or promotions, etc. thus enabling you to connect with your community more deeply than the national brand. Most importantly, you have the ability to start and encourage “local” conversation. To effectively manage your social presence, consider working with a local marketing partner (or implementing a process in-house) to develop strategic approaches to targeting your most engaging customers on social media. And finally, in order to foster loyalty and aid in overall brand growth, ensure your regularly posted content is consistent with outlined brand guidelines.
Local marketing can be one of the most effective ways to communicate to your most applicable target audience. Whether you’re a CMO going through next year’s strategic planning or you’re a local franchisee looking to maximize the use of your cooperative advertising dollars, it’s important to understand your options for local marketing tactics. With the use of our proprietary technology, and white-glove concierge level service, we’re able to maximize your ROI for your local marketing programs as well as optimize your channel partner relationships. Contact us HERE today to learn how we can take your partner marketing programs to the next level.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan Parker is a Senior Account Executive at Cooperate Marketing. Ryan has 5 years of Marketing and Advertising experience and has earned a BA in Entrepreneurship & Corp. Innovation, as well as Marketing from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. After helping to support Cooperate’s social pages and new business growth, Ryan enjoys writing music.
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