When it comes to marketing, the world isn’t flat. For companies that need to perform marketing to people in different geographies, they quickly learn that different regions have different values, dialects, and purchasing habits. This is especially relevant for businesses that rely on branch offices or franchises – these places depend heavily on foot traffic, word-of-mouth, and local knowledge. What goals should these businesses set when it comes to creating region-specific marketing campaigns?
Brands that tune their marketing to specific regions will out-compete their industries
First, let’s talk about why location-specific marketing matters in the first place. With the wealth of information-gathering services available today, it’s possible to know more about what your consumers want – and where they want it – than ever before. In turn, consumers are extremely willing for marketers to take advantage of this information. Google notes that 80% of consumers want ads to be customized to where they live or where they are at the moment. Consumers don’t just want localized ads, they want to buy local. Again according to Google, when it comes to searches that lead to purchase within 24 hours, 20% of these searches are seeking local products or businesses – and just 7% of these searches are non-local.
Brands that take advantage of this information enjoy real success. Kleenex, for example, was able to use a combination of social listening and location data to understand where – in real time – customers were starting to complain of sore throats and runny noses. In other words, Kleenex was charting the course of the flu and the common cold. They then bought ad space in these areas, and as a result, their sales grew by 40% year over year.
Can franchise companies replicate this success?
Kleenex is not a franchise company and does not rely on branch offices. They used available data creatively and strategically. But in many ways, franchise or branch-based offices have an advantage over their monolithic peers when it comes to regional marketing. First, companies who exist across multiple locations tend to do their homework before they move in. Their research helps validate that the demand for their products or services exists in these regions, and offers specific insights for why. In addition, these organizations have the advantage of local employees who are able to provide information and context that can help shape the marketing programs that will run in their own communities.
Of course, simply having employees with local knowledge is no guarantee of marketing success. So what are some other strategies companies are leveraging to fine-tune their regional marketing approaches?
- Hotels achieve success by working with local influencers
Partnering with influencers is a known path to success. Research shows that companies generate about $6.50 for every dollar they spend on influencer marketing, and that they capture a higher quality of customer. Hotels have been capitalizing on this trend by working with influencers who live in key markets and whose followers fall into key demographics. The key takeaway here is that companies shouldn’t rely just on the influencer’s efforts. They should seek marketing tools that help them amplify and extend those efforts. Modern systems make key functions easier for marketers, such as segmentation to build smart target lists, and automated, multi-channel messaging to reach consumers where they are.
- Car dealerships create a vertically integrated approach to marketing
Potential auto buyers get marketed to by both dealers and manufacturers. When these selling entities don’t synchronize their approaches, messages often get confused – imagine getting ads from a manufacturer for a new car right after you’ve bought a vehicle from your local dealer. Dealerships and manufactures are beginning to realign their approach, standardizing their marketing cadence by breaking down the silos between separate business units. Fiat-Chrysler recently embarked on an important project to share CRM data between the manufacturer and its associated dealerships. This allows the nationwide manufacturer to make intelligent choices when following up on actions their customers have taken at regional dealerships.
- Real estate “farming” takes specialization to a new level
When it comes to regional marketing, residential real estate agents are the original specialists. And now in the digital era, this specialization is being taken to a new level. “Farming” refers to the practice of closely monitoring a neighborhood to find exclusive listing opportunities. By using deep learning to analyze data such as commute time, income, spending habits, and many more data points, agencies are able to identify homeowners most likely to be selling. And with the help of marketing systems, agencies can perform 1-to-1 marketing without requiring 1-to-1 effort from their agents.
Success in regional marketing relies on integrating new techniques and technologies
In the examples above, geographically-distributed organizations have been able to achieve new success by adopting new strategies. These strategies revolve around marketing concepts and technologies that weren’t around five or even ten years ago – influencers, artificial intelligence, and marketing automation, to name a few. Achieving success in different regions requires a new and more intense focus on the customer. Each of these strategies focuses on allowing companies to engage with customers more deeply – ingesting detailed data about the consumer and then tailoring outreach at the individual level.
For modern distributed enterprises, this personalized data capture and outreach needs to happen at scale: from thousands to tens-of-thousands to hundreds-of-thousands to millions of consumers at a time. When other franchise and branch-office companies set their sights on regional expansion, this menu of strategies can be looked to as a starting point.
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