Survey: Some National-to-Local Marketers Still Need Convincing on Digital Effectiveness

National-to-Local Marketers 2016 Report - feature image

What do big national brands and retailers need to support their local marketing efforts? According to our survey analysis, although they believe they are pretty effective at supporting their local branches, stores, and distributors, they’re still relying on traditional media. They say they’re growing their digital budgets, but they don’t rate many digital technologies among their Top 5 tools.

To help suppliers of hyperlocal marketing technologies and services better meet the needs of these national-to-local marketers, Street Fight surveyed over 200 managers and decision makers at big companies in retail, financial services, and other industries. We asked them about spending patterns, perceived effectiveness, pain points, etc., around their local marketing and advertising efforts. The full report is available for download here.

Nearly half of them said they spend $1 in $3 of their digital dollars on local marketing, and 40% of them expect that mix to increase. Their favorite technologies targeted for growth this year include social media and mobile marketing. Many expressed interest in mobile push offerings (41%) and real-time location data (32%).


When asked to name up to five of their most effective local marketing tactics, these big brands rated e-mail number one, with social media advertising also showing well. Yet they rated direct mail and local print, TV, and radio higher than digital technologies. And some tactics like SEO, digital display, and paid search look like they could use some improvement. This contrasts with small business marketers, who tend to favor digital marketing programs as their most effective.

No doubt some of that perception coincides with a tendency among the big brands to focus digital advertising and marketing on driving interactions and transactions with their corporate websites. But our survey also uncovered that their top digital marketing pain points centered on integrating marketing technologies and contradictory data analytics tools.

As these companies invest in mobile marketing and tie together cross-channel campaigns and programs, they’re going to find those difficulties increasing. They’ll need to make use of multiple data sources across audience walled gardens from Apple, Facebook, and Google, and they initially won’t be able to rely as much on their own customer data. More of them will have to adopt cross-channel dashboards and use ad tech like data management platforms more broadly across marketing initiatives. And mobile search may be a whole new ballgame.

All this presents suppliers with opportunities to help them with those challenges. Our survey suggests big brands aren’t necessarily looking to buy from a single source, as most prefer to buy “best of breed” and do the necessary integration.


And the majority (61%) of respondents said they were “somewhat” or “very” comfortable buying from smaller suppliers and startups. In fact, those national-to-local marketers that said they were very comfortable seem to be the most effective at achieving their digital marketing objectives, as shown above. That’s a good indication that they’re adopting innovative technologies from newer suppliers and seeing positive benefits from doing so. They should make great case studies to help convince any laggards on the value of new solutions.

David Card is Street Fight’s director of research.

Click here to purchase a copy of the Street Fight Insights report, National-to-Local Marketers 2016.

  1. June 8, 2016

    Hi David:
    I’ll be interested in reviewing the complete report.

    I am wondering about the correlation between the people, systems and processes that National brands have in place and the marketing techniques they perceive as the most effective. We are in the restaurant digital marketing space and many national brands have people and online systems in place that support the more traditional forms of marketing.

    For example, it is much easier for a local franchisee to get print materials created and distributed with the support of the corporate office than it would be to coordinate a local digital advertising campaign. A major part of the problem is the learning curve it takes to understand how to leverage local digital marketing. The other problems are access to the digital tracking data captured with the corporate online properties and making the data available to the local markets.

    Email marketing is a well understood “digital marketing” channel. It is also strongly supported by the corporate office and that is why you see it at the top of the list. I believe digital advertising will be the preferred channels once the systems, processes and people are in place at corporate to take advantage of more cost effective digital marketing over traditional media.

    Dave Gonynor, CEO
    That’s Biz

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