Localize to Optimize
A new study from the CMA Council, "Localize to Optimize Sales Channel Effectiveness," reports that localization of messages, images, creative executions, offers, deals, and interactions is still critical to marketing effectiveness and customer relationship building across many business categories.
While the Internet has eclipsed the Yellow Pages book as the primary go-to resource for finding things locally, says the report, consumers still desire a very local buying and service experience from a trusted community participant and presence.
Local marketing multi-channel and digital marketing platforms and solutions are enabling national or regional marketers to produce, package, distribute, and digitally repurpose multiple versions of content, collateral, advertising, direct mail, promotional, and in-store merchandising materials very cost-efficiently and effectively.
Marketers are able to localize and customize campaigns by community and to accommodate factors such as climate, geography, ethnic composition, demographics, shopper-graphics, psychographics, politics, and even neuro-sensory influences.
The study finds that 86% of national marketers surveyed intend to look for ways to better modify, adapt, and localize their marketing content, messaging, and prospect engagement practices, but only 52% of marketers are satisfied with the leadership, innovation, and effectiveness in this area.
Just 12% of marketers believe they have highly evolved campaigns and analytics on a local level in contrast to nearly 50% who see themselves as underperforming or needing new strategic thinking and capability development in local marketing.
Findings from the online survey across all leading industry sectors indicate traditional print and broadcast/cable media are losing ground to more targeted, personalized, interactive, and measurable forms of local engagement across diverse audiences and communities.
The most preferred channels for localized marketing are experiential and relationship-building events, direct mail, localized websites, social networks, and electronic messaging. These were far more popular selections than cable and broadcast television, radio, local magazines, and even daily and weekly newspapers. The Yellow Pages (online and offline) and local online deal delivery networks lagged behind all channels of localized marketing choice for national brands.
Significantly, says the report, are these key factors from the study:
- 49% of marketers believe localized marketing is essential to business growth and profitability, particularly as it relates to demand generation and sell-through of products and services
- 30% of marketers have embraced local marketing automation platforms, resources and tools, compared to 62% who either don’t have them or only now evaluating these options
- 23% of marketing respondents allocate over 50% of their marketing and merchandising budgets to local programs; another 41% spend between 20 and 50% of the budgets on local marketing
- 36% of marketers have a formalized process or system for tracking the impact of national brand advertising on local market development and customer acquisition. 61% either don’t measure this or have an ad hoc system for tracking national advertising effectiveness
- For those who do track the impact of national brand advertising on local business performance, the most common methods include response to offers or deals (45%); awareness and recognition studies (41%); lead and prospect flow (37%); web site analytics (37%); field and channel feedback (31%); local inquiries and calls (30%) and share of market data (28%)
- Cable and broadcast television, local magazines, and radio reportedly deliver the lowest return on spend, compared to top performers like local events, direct mail or FSIs, local partner or channel web sites, social networks and electronic messaging
- Factors that most influence localization of marketing messages include demographic (45%); geography/location (44%); socioeconomic (28%); psychographic (27%); cultural (22%); shoppergraphic or buying history and behavior (19%); as well as language (19%)
- Major obstacles or challenges to marketing localization include understanding local market dynamics or variables (30%); determining the right cost/benefit models when it comes to spend (24%); and measuring and evaluating campaign effectiveness on a local level (23%)
- Top benefits and competitive advantages from localized marketing strategies and programs include: 1) greater customer relevance, response and return (67%); 2) better customer conversations and connectivity (39%); 3) improved loyalty and advocacy (29%); 4) brand differentiation, distinction and preference (27%)
The report concludes by noting that this CMO Council study reveals huge upside potential for brands implementing localized marketing strategies that enable their sales and customer-facing networks to be more adept in connecting and communicating with consumers and prospects on a more personal and relevant level.