Activating Measurable Local Marketing Campaigns Still a Challenge: Study

Posted on by Patricia Odell

Despite the fact that 75% of brands in a new study are investing in local marketing, these marketers are dissatisfied with their local efforts and are not executing on the tactics they believe are imperative for local marketing success.

Despite the dissatisfaction, 84% of brands plan to maintain or increase spend in local digital marketing, according to this new study from Balihoo.

local search“The challenge most brands have is the ability to scale their national strategy and tactics to hundreds or thousands of local markets,” Susan Tormollen, vice president of marketing for Balihoo, said. “When they attempt to piece it together with multiple agencies and partners, it becomes complex and time consuming to manage and measure. However, the brands that use local marketing automation are able to scale, and are seeing positive results.”

There appears to be a major disconnect between how much priority brands believe they should be giving to local digital tactics and how much priority is actually given. For example, 77% of marketers reported that email should be a “very important or essential” element in local marketing, however only 38% of brands prioritize email in the same light. Local websites showed an even more startling disconnect with 76% of marketers saying such sites should be “very important and essential” compared to just 22% of brands. The study showed similar widespread disconnects between other digital tactics, including SEO for local sites, locally targeted PPC, mobile and social media.

“It is a natural inclination for national marketers to focus on national tactics,” Tormollen said. “It is what they have been doing historically. We find though, that once a brand realizes the level of performance increase they can expect from localized efforts (things like increased response rates and conversions, local marketer engagement) and the ease with which campaigns can be executed, then they begin to increase their prioritization of local tactics.”

On the actual local execution side, the ability of brands to measure and report ROI on local marketing campaigns is scattered with 39% reporting “some,” 24% “most or all,” 23% “very few” and 13% “none.” Large brands ($500M+) are slightly better at measuring and reporting on ROI (67%) than smaller brands (60%).

“When employing disparate systems and processes and/or relying on a distributed network to provide results back to the national brand, assimilating and aggregating ROI metrics is often done by hand, is very time consuming, and doesn’t scale as reporting demands increase or change. This is another reason leading brands are using local marketing technology platforms,” Tormollen said.

There’s also more work to be done on capturing customer demand and directing those customers to the local purchase point. Only 38% of brands claimed they are “very effective” at that work, compared to 41% “slightly effective,” 13% “mostly ineffective,” and 8% who reported they were “completely ineffective.”

When it comes to the handling of local execution, that job falls across the board with 28% relying on multiple agencies or vendors, 27% on channel partners or local marketers, 23% on national corporate efforts and 22% on a single agency or vendor.

“2014 is a pivotal year for local marketing, as it is the first time data, technology and content are coming together to enable national brands to scale in new, and more impactful, ways,” she said. “I expect we will see far more engagement by brands over the next 24 months as they have the technology they need and will quickly see the results they desire.”

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