6 Ways National Brands Can Improve Their Local Campaigns

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brainThe hyperlocal technology that brands need to reach consumers locally is available and ready, so why aren’t more brands taking advantage of the opportunity? Only 7% of national marketers say they have effective local campaigns in place, according to a 2013 study by Balihoo, and the issue was a major point of discussion at the Street Fight Summit in October.

Rather than viewing hyperlocal technology as just another tool in a crowded toolbox, Urban Airship’s Brent Hieggelke told the crowd at the Street Fight Summit that brands should make it their “number one priority.” Here are six strategies for helping brands make the most of their local campaigns.

1. Always start with clean data. “It all starts with accurate and accessible data. Once your data is clean and normalized, you can connect it to any marketing channel you like. From there, you can take customers to local landing pages for more information and a richer experience.” (Brian Vacanti, Placeable)

2. Don’t be a nuisance. “Consumers can, and often do, tune out email marketing messages when they don’t offer enough value, but the consequences of failing to deliver value when using more intrusive mediums like in-app marketing or push notifications are even more significant. Consider the retailer app that sends the same message every day when you drive past a store on your way to work. You eventually find the notification to be annoying and uninstall the app. If that same app gave you an exclusive offer while you were shopping in the store, it would be much more likely to stimulate action. Tying consumer value creation to location is an incredibly powerful combination for marketers.” (Rob Murphy, Swirl)

3. Remain focused on the connection with consumers. “What customers most want is a connection with the brand. They want to feel like the brand is speaking directly to them and giving them rewards for staying loyal. This is why loyalty and reward programs have become so successful in past years.” (Karen Moritzky Bigelow, Mocapay)

4. Use social media to increase relevance. “The great thing about national campaigns is that they’re highly efficient, but that efficiency comes at a huge cost: relevance. National brand messages are not, by their nature, locally relevant. That’s the key advantage local businesses enjoy. Their messages are relevant to the consumers and communities in which they operate. So this is the challenge for national brands, both in the CPG and retail categories. How do they market nationally with local relevance? The answer is through digital channels like Facebook, Google, Foursquare, Instagram, Yelp and even Twitter to some degree, with an emphasis on mobile. It’s not just extending a national campaign to the local level. The messages and creative need to be locally relevant, as opposed to just being locally targeted.” (Rob Reed, MomentFeed)

5. Form partnerships with location-focused apps. “With six million check-ins per day, a lot of people are using Foursquare to connect with the businesses they love. On the brand side, this is a huge opportunity to reward loyal customers or offer specials to get new customers in the door. Other location-focused apps like car service Uber also offer interesting product and brand tie-ins. We encourage customers to be aware of apps related to their industry and look for opportunities to make partnerships that help them connect locally.” (Aaron Everson, Shoutlet)

6. Combine location and time for maximum efficiency. “Tailoring an email or online ad based on a person’s physical address or zip code is one way to localize marketing messages, but today’s technical capabilities allow marketers to go even further. Using technologies like Bluetooth Low Energy Beacons, retailers can deliver push notifications with messages to consumers the moment they walk into a store. These messaging opportunities allow even greater relevance than GPS-based campaigns, because the marketer knows the person is in the store shopping. It truly is the ‘moment of truth’ in the consumer purchase cycle.” (Rob Murphy, Swirl)

Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.