Localized Marketing is All About Education and Customization

We’re in Austin for Localogy’s Place Conference, covering some sessions and tidbits as available. Stay tuned for more session coverage today and retrospectively over the coming weeks. See all session coverage aggregated here

Social media marketing has become a core component of local marketing. That goes for national and global brands (particularly multi-location brands) as well as small businesses. The latter has latched on to Facebook en masse, given their personal familiarity with it.

But for global brands, it’s a different story and a bit of a double-edged sword. They have deeper pockets and marketing departments, but also more moving parts. That’s particularly true for franchise-based businesses who range from centralized to decentralized (franchisee-executed) structures.

This challenge was batted around the stage in a panel discussion to kick off Day 2 of Localogy’s Place Conference in Austin.

Tiger Pistol has seen this challenge firsthand by extending from a channel approach (reaching local businesses through resellers) to a direct enterprise approach that equips global brands to reach local audiences. The key is giving each approach the attention and dedicated strategy it deserves.

“They’re each geared to use case and associated nuances,” said Tiger Pistol CEO Paul Elliott. “We have people that handle the channel and enterprise side. The ability to maintain that separate business unit is key.”

But though these strategies and business units should be delineated, the opposite is true when it comes to marketing technologies, such as search and social. A holistic approach should be considered. More accurately, says Kenshoo Local’s John Dobrowlski, both capabilities should be sharpened in order to customize a unique mix for each business.

“The social/search distinction is irrelevant,” he said. “It’s about providing the best local marketing. It’s about personalization and relevance. Sometimes that means driving conversions in-store, measured through digital marketing… There are a lot of ways multi-location advertisers and SMBs are thinking about local marketing.”

Joining these common challenges is an additional layer: There’s a wide variance in digital competence and sophistication across global and local companies. And back to the divergence of centralized versus decentralized franchise-based businesses, the variance in digital sophistication becomes even greater. So it’s all about the eternal battle for education says Location 3’s Crystal Ware.

“CMOs see the need for franchisees to invest in their local markets,” she said. The tough part is making them understand digital. Ten years ago, they had mail, YP and things they could tangibly feel. We roll into digital, and they have no concept of pixels and cookies. The education piece has been the biggest challenge for us to overcome.”

Regardless of that technical sophistication, everyone understands financial results and ROI. So location marketing providers can disambiguate the technological divide by speaking the language of non-tech local marketers. That means translating technology to results they can understand.

“How do you get a global brand to spend money?” posed Elliott. “The answer is that you have to prove it. That means the need for pilots and proof of concept. They don’t know that the model is going to work for them at the same time as having to prove that we’re the right provider. Proving both points involves more than talking about CPMs and CPCs.”

Stay tuned for more session coverage today and retrospectively through video over the coming weeks. 

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