Brands Must Balance Local Engagement with Scale

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With human-to-human interaction and in-person engagement put on hold for much of 2020, local marketing took an obvious hit. Will that continue into 2021, or will local businesses find ways to adapt and evolve their human outreach strategies?

Despite only being weeks into the new year, Alex Nocifera sees plenty of reasons to be optimistic. As the founder and CEO of Field Day, a local marketing startup, Nocifera believes that marketers in 2021 will be tasked with deciding when and how to diversify their budgets back to a balanced blend of online and offline spending.

“I’d argue the largest opportunity to gain share and separation from competition will be finding the seams in the market where to yield cost-effective engagement with local consumers and businesses,” Nocifera says. “I believe there’s an incredible opportunity to optimize local or field marketing to re-engage with your targeted local communities.”

With the hope that Covid-19 was just a once-in-a-lifetime health crisis, and that the global community will be climbing out of the wreckage in 2021, Nocifera says now is the time for businesses to focus on how they can connect with their customers and help local communities. Brands have an opportunity to engage and help their customers, just so long as they can find the right balance of engagement and scale when putting together their marketing stacks.

“Empathy will also play a key role in re-establishing relationships with local communities,” Nocifera says.

Despite the financial pressure many families were under in 2020, research shows consumers were still willing to try new businesses and products. More than three-quarters of consumers who were surveyed (76%) said they have changed stores, brands, or the way they shop during the pandemic. This points to an additional opportunity, particularly for businesses that focus on winning over customers with added convenience and value. Surveys have also shown that consumers are more likely to be loyal to brands when they believe those brands have responded positively to the pandemic.

Field Day targets businesses near where their brands have physical stores and leverages local communities as a common bond. It also provides businesses with the tools and last-mile talent resources needed to activate grassroots marketing campaigns.

Nocifera says his company’s mission has remained the same throughout the pandemic. However, prior to Covid-19, Field Day’s primary technology aimed to give brands a way to “take their local marketing message to the streets” using human connections, or community ambassadors. With personal interactions sidelined for so much of 2020, Field Day was forced to change up its human outreach component to include localized phone outreach.

“I do believe what Field Day is doing in the local marketing arena is truly disruptive in that we’re taking hyper-local engagement and injecting programmatic, measurable plumbing to deliver a healthy balance of engagement and scale, in a cost-effective manner,” Nocifera says.

Field Day isn’t the only martech company evolving its strategy. According to research by McKinsey, the majority of business-to-business companies have shifted their model from traditional to digital in the past year, with a heavier reliance on video and online chat for sales. In-person interactions have dropped 52% since the start of the pandemic, and digital interactions with sales reps via videoconferencing have gone up 69%.

As for what’s on the horizon in 2021, Nocifera believes marketers and brands are going to be tasked with getting ahead of the curve to engage with local communities to tell their stories.

“The rebuild of the economy begins in 2021 – the main question is when to step on the gas and where to place investments,” he says. “As markets open up, there’s been so much sad carnage with Main Street that brands and marketers will need to get their story retold to quickly establish awareness and trust.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.Rainbow over Montclair

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.