Why National Marketers Should “Get Local” with their Advertising Plans

By Gene Brandon, SVP National Sales
Published Wednesday, Jun 8, 2016

Why National Marketers Should “Get Local” with their Advertising Plans

Local advertising revenue is forecasted to increase to $146.6 billion in 2016, but how does that impact national advertisers?1 Why (and how) should you bring your national message to a local audience? Let me share a few points to highlight the importance of a relevant, local message — no matter the business size.

A Local Strategy is not just the National Strategy with a smaller font…

Marketers may believe they are using a local marketing strategy by focusing on competitive blunting the nearest big-box stores. But online buying, the move away from malls and the way millennials shop is changing how consumers behave in their neighborhoods as well as online. New retail winners and losers are emerging.

Take a look at the Chicago area grocery business. The local independent grocers have reshaped that entire market by tailoring their product selection – especially produce – to the surrounding neighborhoods. Because of this, these fiercely competitive, quality local grocers have been consistently growing their market share in Chicago. In fact, according to Trade Dimensions, from 2012 – 2015, local grocers in Chicago have increased their grocery store market share by 43% (31.5% in 2015 vs. 22.0% in 2012).

What’s the comparable story in your vertical? If one doesn’t come to mind, that doesn’t mean it’s non-existent. A cohesive national brand message is vital — it’s your marketing foundation. But if you've lost perspective on the competitor around the corner, it's time to take a closer look.

Your data holds the secret.

As time-starved marketers wrestle with their advertising message, they often overlook their own secret weapon — the buying behavior of their own customers embedded in their transaction data. Failure to mine this data to understand the unique geographic and psychographics of your customers is a big risk.

For example, it’s no surprise that consumers in urban areas may have different media consumption habits than those in rural areas. The purchase cycle of a consumer in a warm climate may be very different than in a cold climate. If these (as well as many other variables) aren’t applied to tailor your local messaging effectively, then you’ve potentially squandered the investment you’ve made to capture this data.

Find a partner who will unlock the data puzzle and help you see positive gains.

Ask a local...

When we travel, the best sources of recommendations are local residents, right? When you advertise, “go where the locals go” with at least part of your media spend. Leveraging a national message on broadcast is fine, but locally relevant content draws local attention and that needs to be part of your targeted integrated media plan.

Why? Because relevant messaging increases consumer engagement, and local marketing delivers results. A Balihoo Research study from 2015 states that 50% of national companies surveyed expect the ROI on local marketing expenditures to be higher than that from national campaigns (up from 37% in 2012).

How can you “get local” in your advertising? Consider targeted offline and online media options to expand and/or optimize your community footprint. Bolster neighborhood marketing support around stores/in areas that are key growth opportunities or that face increased competitive pressures.

Local media allows you the flexibility to adjust quickly and react to area needs, all the while keeping local relevance a focus.

And that’s a win for any advertiser — large and small.

1BIA/Kelsey, U.S. Local Advertising Forecast 2016, November 2015 press release