Giving National Campaigns a Local Edge

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Today’s brands are looking for innovative ways to effectively target the right consumers with their marketing messages. Traditional media such as television spots, direct mail and email are becoming less effective, especially as consumers turn to mobile and social for their media consumption. However, for every challenge there is an opportunity, and this year it’s all about working “local” into your marketing strategy.

To clarify, when we talk about local, we don’t mean corner stores or local brands. We’re talking about national campaigns that pinpoint consumers at the neighborhood level. Think of the millions of marketing dollars wasted each year on national campaigns that aren’t truly for everyone. For example, a car maker wants to create targeted awareness of their brand for all of their buyers. Not everyone in the country is an intended buyer of their brand — however, they still need to target a lot of people, but need to be smart about it. Imagine a better, more efficient and more effective way to target existing and prospective customers.

In order to achieve this level of precision, companies are turning to “big data” solutions. These solutions analyze billions of data points consumed by neighborhoods across the U.S. such as offline point-of-sale data, social media, videos, music, local Web pages and online magazines.  This data can be used to score each neighborhood and determine its interests — perhaps it’s neighborhoods across the country with residents most interested in a healthier lifestyle, in the market for a new car or who currently use your competitor’s product. By analyzing these data sets, companies can look at clusters of people who are most likely to be interested in their products or services.

In many cases, brands will use this local approach to complement an existing campaign. Recently, a national health insurance company wanted to supplement its traditional direct mail campaign with digital advertising to increase the number of completed and approved membership applications. By using a localized approach to its digital advertising campaign, the company was able to pinpoint the neighborhoods where the most qualified members reside and market directly to this group.  The campaign was split into two groups – the control group (direct mail only) and the target group (direct mail and digital advertising). Neighborhoods receiving both digital ads and direct mail generated 12 percent more applications than those with direct mail only. And, the applications from these same neighborhoods led to a 40 percent higher approval rate of memberships.

Targeting at the neighborhood level across the entire nation helps to curb that wasteful ad spending (in the case of the insurance company, waste was cut by 75 percent). By finding a relevant audience at a national level, brands can combine reach with efficiency and serve the right ads to the right potential buyers at the exact right time to create demand for a product.  For example, retailers have excess inventory that they need to move before being forced to mark it down, they can create campaigns that incentivize local consumers to come in and make purchases.  The same holds true for restaurants that are charged with driving guests into their restaurants, particularly during slow times of the day or week.  In this case, national chains can target particular neighborhoods with targeted promotions that will drive patrons across the country into their local restaurant and help build a diverse customer base.

While most advertising programs require brands to create campaigns weeks or months in advance of when they’d like to drive interest in their product or services based on the time of year or a special event, highly-localized digital campaigns of any size can easily be created in a matter of hours by reusing digital assets to drive consumers into stores. For example, according to a recent RSR study on localized advertising in retail, there is an enormous opportunity to re-use video content created for a mass TV campaign by putting it directly into an online video advertising campaign.  This also provides consistency across channels and increases the opportunity for return on the creative’s investment.  Video ads can also be customized with a specific store address or specific offer to leverage a local message.

By developing a highly-customized local digital advertising strategy that complements existing campaigns, retailers and brands can consistently and effectively drive sales that help to increase revenue and create a more personal relationship with customers.

Chris Kozloski is Vice President of Sales at MaxPoint Interactive.  To review examples and insights critical to building your localized advertising roadmap, download the free RSR report at


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