Survey: Many Opportunities to Connect Local Media With National-to-Local Marketers

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National-to-Local Marketers 2016 Report - feature image

This post draws on data from Street Fight’s National-to-Local report, which delves into enterprise marketers’ experiences, needs, and spending outlook.

National brands and retailers remain wedded to traditional media and marketing for their local branches, franchises, and resellers. However, they are increasing their spending on digital channels, and over half of them feel it’s important to associate their campaigns with local media and content. Those attitudes point to opportunities for hyperlocal media and suppliers of digital marketing tools and services to help them with cross-channel campaigns.

Earlier this year Street Fight surveyed over 200 managers and decision-makers at big companies in retail, financial services, and other industries about their local marketing and advertising. Aside from email marketing, which they deemed their most effective local tactic, they tended to rate traditional media and marketing higher than digital. Whether that’s due to inertia, integration issues, or too much focus on the corporate site, digital players can use our analysis to help address that challenge.

Despite media fragmentation and newspaper woes, these national-to-local marketers see a lot of value in local media. We asked them “How important is it to your company to have its advertising and marketing associated with local media and content like city- or neighborhood-based newspapers, sites, entertainment, hyperlocal social networks, etc.?” Over half (54%) responded very or somewhat important, while a quarter disagreed.


We thought it would be useful to compare the behavior and attitude of these two groups so local media and digital marketing suppliers could tune their offerings and positioning. We’ll present that analysis in a future report, but here are some highlights. The companies that said local media was important:

  • Were bigger than the other group. Over a quarter (27%) had over $2 billion in annual revenue.
  • Were more likely to be retailers (46%), with a dose of financial (22%) and professional services (9%).
  • Were more likely to rate their digital marketing as effective across a variety of objectives.
  • Were more likely to say they were increasing their digital spending, especially for social media, email, local websites, and digital display ads. They also said they were increasing spending on mobile, but the other group said the same.
  • Are interested in mobile push offerings – although a little less so than the other group – and very keen on real-time location data and programmatic ad buying across digital and traditional media.


We compared the local media fans’ perceptions about the effectiveness of their local marketing channels and tactics by asking each group to list its top five. As shown in the figure, there’s no single channel or program that dominates, though the local media fans rate local print (including inserts, flyers, directories, and coupons) and direct mail as their most effective, followed by local TV.

Some observations based on these responses and other parts of the survey:

  • Marketing tech suppliers and local digital media should focus on helping these big brands and retailers solve the perceived ineffectiveness of display ads and search, and/or assist in improving their already-effective email and social media advertising by integrating them with traditional media campaigns and programs.
  • Generally speaking, the primary digital offering from local newspapers and TV stations is display advertising on their sites. At the risk of heresy, I’ll suggest that email newsletters with coupons remain a riper opportunity than mobile, at least for the immediate future. Coordinating email and direct mail campaigns could be promising.
  • There’s not much TV, print, or radio inventory available through current programmatic media-buying marketplaces. That is worth exploring, and could present the opportunity for private local marketplaces with hyperlocal targeting. Publishers like Gannett and iHeartMedia, and the cable operators appear to be more aggressive in building out this capability than TV station holding companies or broadcast networks.

David Card is Street Fight’s director of research.

Click here for more on the Street Fight Insights report, National-to-Local Marketers 2016.