A new study from the Chief Marketing Officer Council shows that many companies, dissatisfied with the effectiveness of local channel and field sales partners, are seeking new digital media avenues and localized engagement activities. The report, “Brand Automation for Local Activation,” finds that only 8% of the 296 brand marketers surveyed were extremely satisfied with the way new product, pricing or promotional campaigns are executed and leveraged by local field sales, reseller, franchise or partner networks. To improve these ties, 52% of marketers say comprehensive brand campaign automation is necessary to strengthen ties between the head office and local customer-facing resources and touchpoints.
Despite 59% of national marketers noting that local demand generation was essential to their business growth, only 7% feel they have highly evolved campaigns and measures in place that can activate consumers at a local level.
Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director of the CMO Council, notes that “... according to the U.S. State Department, American businesses lose $50 billion annually in potential sales because of problems with localization... this localization gap has a significant lost opportunity cost to any business willing to allow 30 days to pass before driving relevant content into a local marketplace... “
So it is even more confusing that the CMO Council’s report shows that nearly one in four marketers is spending more than 50% of budgets on local programs and promotions, and a staggering 61% are not tracking the impact of national advertising on a local level. And as 49% of the respondents agree that localized marketing is critical to business growth, only 30% have embraced localization automation tools or platforms.
When asked what elements in the media mix were being localized to address local market segments or better drive interactions at the local level, marketers are focused on localizing strategy, segmentation and messaging (68%) and direct mail and emails (53%). However, fewer than 50% of respondents are focusing on localized media buys, social media interactions, website or even adjusting sales literature or collateral.
Measurement is also fitting into a more advertising-driven set of traditional metrics around clicks and views. While 30% of marketers are measuring local marketing campaign success by virtue of their impact on bottom-line success and sales, only 6% are measuring at a store-by-store or individual agent level. Yet even in a time when marketers are being asked to measure marketing impact in the language of the business, many of the top measures are campaign- or channel-focused, including cost per click, cost per lead and the volume of lead flow. Few marketers identified customer lifetime value, reduction of churn or lower acquisition costs as a key measure.
Local Market Data Collection (% of Respondents)
Insights & Data
% of Respondents
Images gathered from field and business development teams
3rd party market research
Customer service feedback
Monitoring competitive activity & outcomes
Customer profile data
Viral buzz & social conversations
Insights from franchisees, partners & resellers
IT aggregated data from organization
Source: CMO Council, February 2013
Notably absent from the list of data resources, says the report, is IT as only 6% of marketers indicate that a key point of intelligence comes from partnering with IT to aggregate data from across the organization. Also under-represented are the local customers themselves as only 29% are including online voice of customer intelligence, and only 28% are monitoring and aggregating social conversations. A contributor to this issue could be marketing’s ongoing challenge to develop an accurate and comprehensive profi le of the customer. According to respondents, only 31% of marketers are able to develop a customer profile based on a combination of both structured and unstructured data.
The report suggests several conclusions to executing a local comprehensive strategy: