Where Local Agencies Help Brands Most

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About a quarter of multi-location brands use local media agencies to help manage and evaluate their local digital advertising and marketing programs, according to Street Fight’s latest survey. There’s a modest correlation between using agencies and marketing effectiveness, and the agencies seem to help the most with TV and display advertising, rather than other key local tactics like search or local sites.

Street Fight surveyed 250 decision makers at big brands and retailers about their marketing and advertising in support of their local branches, stores, and distributors. Twenty-six percent of the respondents said they used local agencies, and we took a look at how that affected their success. The survey asked respondents to rate on a 5-point scale the effectiveness of their overall digital programs at achieving typical marketing objectives. The figure below compares the results of those that used local agencies versus the overall base, by the proportion of each group that said they were very effective at a given objective.

Overall, more of the the agency users said they were successful than the average. The biggest improvement difference was in increasing conversion, with raising brand awareness showing the highest overall rate. Across all the objectives, local agencies seemed to help brands be a third more effective, by this measure.

We also examined agency users’ effectiveness by marketing and advertising tactics, both traditional and digital. The figure below shows how many of the brands counted particular tactics in their top 5 for effectiveness. I sorted the list by the overall results, and left out some of the tactics where local agency users showed little or negative differences from the average.

The result is that local media agencies appear to help the most with local TV advertising, as well as with online display ads and paid social media. They also appear to increase the effectiveness of traditional media more than critical digital tactics like email, search (both SEM and SEO), or local branch or store websites.

Since search is generally a big part of generating transactions and the brands that used agencies said they were good at conversion, the survey results show the necessity of evaluating marketing with more sophisticated techniques than simple last-click attribution. In fact, more brands that use local agencies use those advanced marketing techniques, including media mix modeling (30%) and multi-touch authentication (27%).

Some other characteristics of the brands that use local agencies include:

  • Compared with the overall survey respondents, they were a similar mix of size and revenue. They were a little more likely to be in the technology/telecommunications industry.
  • Across the board, they regularly use more tactics, both digital and traditional.
  • The share of their digital marketing/advertising spend that is local is similar to that of other enterprise marketers, although over 30% of the local agency users have a mix over 50%. And they’re twice likely to say they’re increasing their local mix significantly.
  • Over half of them say they’re increasing spending on each of the six types of digital marketing we asked about, which is above the norm. They’re particularly keen on social media and mobile marketing, and on their local branch or store sites. They list real-time location data as the top new technology on their radar.
  • They collect and deploy a richer set of customer information than their peers. And they’re more likely to use third-party data sources for location data, shopping data, and media ratings. Their marketing department usually owns customer data, with advertising often having the second most influence. Customer service also plays an important role.
  • Overall, they’re a little more decentralized in their local marketing decisions than the average respondent. They’re more likely to coordinate between local/regional offices and HQ, or to have local management lead.
  • Since they use use a broader variety of tactics and data, they also use more management tools. Notably, they’re relatively heavy users of data management platforms (42%).
  • When asked about digital marketing pain points, the agency users are more likely to rate “managing multiple providers” as difficult, but, like their peers, proving ROI or attribution is a key challenge.

We can do profiles like this on a variety of different types of company in the Street Fight survey, based on characteristics such as industry, tactics , and spending. That analysis should be useful for brands in identifying best practices, and for marketing providers trying to meet their needs. Based on Street Fight’s latest survey of 250 multi-location brands, the report Enterprise Local Marketers 2017: Benchmarking and Best Practices examines current trends in their local marketing tactics, channels, and operations. By analyzing the survey data and correlating digital marketing effectiveness with spending, tactics, and management,the report identifies enterprise local marketing best practices.

David Card is Street Fight’s director of research.

Click here for more on the Street Fight Insights report, Enterprise Local Marketers 2017: Benchmarking and Best Practices.