Selling local services to national brands is one of the toughest challenges facing suppliers of hyperlocal marketing technology and services, as well as local media and digital agencies. They should take a look at a new survey-based study that’s geared to helping big brands and retailers support their local affiliates. In it they’ll find pointers towards possible solutions for industry pain points.
Street Fight’s forthcoming report on The State of Hyperlocal, which we previewed at our recent conference in New York, indicates that servicing national-to-local marketers is difficult for most. Vendors we surveyed rated it among the top challenges facing their companies, as shown in the figure below. Street Fight has also surveyed that type of big company and we’ve got a series of reports that should help suppliers sell to them.
Meanwhile, Brandmuscle, a provider of local marketing software for national-to-local marketers to support their affiliates and franchises through co-op programs, has released a report based primarily on a survey of some 2,100 of those affiliates. The survey respondents are mostly very small businesses, many in insurance, automotive services, and mobile phone and B2B tech resellers. There aren’t many retailers, restaurants or consumer services in there, but otherwise the data and analysis should be useful for hyperlocal vendors selling to either side of that market — the big brands or their small business resellers.
Brandmuscle’s analysis of its own customer base shows that co-op support is not aligned with digital and social media marketing, even though over 90% of those affiliates plan to maintain or increase their spending there. The survey shows that nearly 60% of them manage their marketing themselves, though their digital efforts are more effective if they outsource management to agencies or vendors. That confirms Street Fight’s recent analysis of urban small businesses we surveyed in partnership with ProspectWise.
The figure below is a snapshot of Brandmuscle’s advice for the local marketers in brand compliance, channel marketing, and the digital groups at the national brands. The brown balls are digital marketing channels and tactics and the red ones social media marketing. Traditional media, where most co-op programs focus, are in dark blue and events are light blue. I’d be cautious about over-interpreting Brandmuscle’s effectiveness scoring, which shows some some tactics like Snapchat and hosted events that aren’t widely used by the survey respondents as relatively effective compared with more common tactics. But otherwise, the message that digital tactics are where the action is, yet which need more support from the brands, rings true.
Some takeaways from the study that Street Fight readers should explore include:
- There’s a clear need for integrated campaign management tools and data. That is, services and programs that can help the brands help their affiliates co-ordinate direct mail, print and radio with email, websites, social media, and search should be a ripe opportunity.
- Mobile advertising and search are still fairly rare among the small business affiliates. Ditto mobile-optimized sites. Yet those that used mobile sites deemed them much more effective than non-optimized sites.
- The affiliates complain about a lack of brand-supplied content for digital and social media distribution. That could be a content marketing opening for local media.
- Nearly half of the affiliates surveyed participated in some kind of local event or community-sponsored program, and they rated those tactics very highly. Events are a good place for local media presence, as proven by players like Spirited Media’s Billy Penn.
David Card is Street Fight’s director of research