As a career-long marketing vendor, I've always been taught that large national brands and small-to-medium companies behave differently. They cannot be sold, marketed or serviced with the same principles. They have different targets, ideals, KPIs and most importantly -- budgets.
While this remains largely true, today’s always-connected consumer means that any size brand, anywhere, needs to be more mindful of a very important consumer detail: their location.
Mobile has, to different degrees, taken over our lives. For those of us who rely on it to cater to our prospects’ needs and wants -- on the go, all the time -- our dependence on it feels exponentially greater. Despite this known widespread consumer adoption, mobile advertising by large brands has been slower to catch on than anticipated. Advertisers have typically associated this type of marketing with small, local businesses, which don’t always set a precedent for top-notch marketing or customer acquisition efforts, and therefore don’t inspire bigger brands to follow suit, no matter how impressive their success stories.
But mobile devices are the consoles to our entire life today. As an advertiser, becoming -- and staying -- relevant means that every sized company must continuously push the bar higher for better local and mobile advertising. Whether a brand uses mobile apps, to advertising, to social and search, localizing this form of marketing is not just important, it’s necessary.
Let’s take a look at three ways national brands can use mobile strategies to capitalize on local markets.
One of the best things about mobile is that it allows companies to execute national branding campaigns with some local zing. Since the smartphone boom, over 150 million people in the US are now walking GPSs -- allowing advertisers to reach and deliver content that is completely tailored and customized to a specific audience in a specific region, where it really counts. Technology now allows advertisers to use the power of the GPS to ensure their ads are targeted, specific and relevant to consumers.
Take restaurants, for example. Many national chains support the marketing and advertising for their entire ecosystem, but geo-fenced mobile advertising can now execute national-to-local promotions and target them accordingly to certain states or even zip codes. This means that one acquisition budget supports a multitude, without wasting budget on ad impressions to people who aren’t within the vicinity to utilize the offer. While the brands themselves get loads of data on impressions, take rates, redemptions, clicks, etc., by market. Out with the aggregate and in with the specific.
Click to Call
Click to call isn’t just a convenience factor for the user. It’s viewed as a bridge for mobile to real world transactions or interactions -- but one that mainly only small local businesses have attribute success metrics to. A new BIA/Kelsey report cites that 66 percent of small- to medium-sized businesses rate phone calls as a good source for leads. So can this translate for national brands?
As location proves more valuable and the data that backs it up, more prevalent -- national brands can’t afford to ignore the power of this technology. Mobile commerce will bring in some bucks. But underestimating the power of the in person sale, no matter how big mobile gets, will only hurt national brands in the long run.
The automotive industry for one has invested significant amounts of budget for click to call mobile ads in order to drive foot traffic into dealerships at the local level. Products that are not traditionally an e-commerce sale -- vehicles, groceries, restaurants and so on -- must realize the value of local, including a phone call. A tangible and simplified lead source such as in-store traffic and phone calls therefore is a must-do.
Ninety-one percent of searchers say they use Facebook to find local businesses online. Ninety. One. Percent. Facebook Nearby was introduced in the mobile app -- allowing users to search for specific places, browse business categories or see what’s around them on a map. A large number of consumers also use it to “check-in” to local places. With social’s playing and staying power, brands should be clued in on using its power to purvey customers.
There is a lot of room for creating social campaigns with seamless mobile components, such as social only promotions, exclusive content and local based scavenger hunts -- whether you have a physical location or not. Wellness provider Blue Print Cleanse offered secret location messages to its Twitter followers in New York. Followers who found them were rewarded with a free juice. This created a fun, meaningful campaign that drove its audience to meet and greet them in a local setting.
Being a national brand means different strategies and execution than the SMB market, but when it comes to going local, everyone can take a cue from what’s come before. Audiences are increasingly tech-savvy and demanding, making personalized, targeted and human interaction crucial to the success of certain brands. The power of local is staying. The companies that use mobile to propel targeted growth and give consumers the personalized content to go with it, will see themselves at the top of the marketing game.
Title image by egd (Shutterstock)