The majority (73%) of brands surveyed for a recent study from local marketing automation solution provider Balihoo indicated that they invest in local marketing. However, only 8% said they are “completely satisfied” with their efforts.
To improve marketing results, brands will be embracing partners, processes and technologies to streamline and optimize their marketing efforts during 2014. The 2014 Local Digital Marketing Study reported that while 48% of brands plan to spend the same on marketing efforts in 2014 as they did the year before, 34% actually plan to invest more money on their local initiatives.
Specifically, brands will be investing more in digital tactics, such as email, mobile and social, than traditional methods like radio and newspaper advertising. Confirming this shift, only 5% of marketers said that traditional media was “essential” to their brands’ local marketing efforts.
“Marketing, and the way consumers interact with brands, is changing rapidly,” said Susan Tormollen, VP of Marketing for Balihoo. “It’s not so much that print media has lost its luster, but that consumers are touching more media — particularly digital — before making any purchase decisions.”
However, brands and marketers consider different marketing channels to be essential, which is causing a disconnect in priorities and investments. A breakdown of digital tactics includes:
Although all forms of digital media are coming into focus for marketers, local sites are becoming central to channel-wide success.
“In the current hyper-connected marketing arena with consumers looking for more personalization, local web sites are essential for national brands being found online,” Tormollen said. “However, for a large brand to execute local sites at scale, they need to use some type of automation. Otherwise it becomes a resource-constraint for their corporate marketing team, a huge expense if they execute via an agency, or a brand-compliant mess if they leave it in the hands of hundreds of their local outlets/affiliates. Most national brands have yet to investigate and invest in a local marketing technology to hone in their strategy for local websites.”
Moving forward, successful brands will tap automation platforms to execute digital marketing tactics and campaigns on behalf of their partners. Currently, only 23% of brands say local marketing efforts are part of a national, corporate plan, while others say multiple agencies and vendors (28%); channel/local marketers (27%); or a single agency/vendor (22%) handles local marketing campaign execution.
As omnichannel marketer becomes the expectation across B2B and B2C categories, more companies will focus on creating a uniform brand experience.
“In 2014, I think we are going to see better use of omnichannel marketing that spans both traditional and digital channels,” Tormollen said. “I expect to see a more consistent consumer experience from the early awareness stages (which could be traditional media such as Super Bowl ads, print media, PR, national web sites), through the investigation stage (which could include a lot of digital, including email, mobile, search, local websites, social media) through to the final sale. This will be enabled by national brand’s increasing use of technology and data.”
Click here to access a complete version of the Balihoo report.