Market research could play role in localizing campaigns

NOVEMBER 2, 2011 – Market researchers who connect with consumers through social media networks and other digital channels could help CMOs refine their local marketing efforts, an area in which they are underperforming, a study from the Chief Marketing Officer Council suggests.

The research shows that only 12 percent of responding marketers think that their campaigns and local analytics efforts are “highly evolved,” while half think they need a new approach to their strategy and should develop their local marketing skills.

“The proliferation of digital media is allowing national brands to connect one-on-one with consumers at a local level, but communicating the brand promise cost-effectively and in a timely manner at the micro-level remains a challenge,” said Philip Alexander, president and CEO of BrandMuscle.

He added that the informed consumer – one who has done their own research on a product and likely made a decision before going to a physical store – means companies have more opportunities to reach out to shoppers. “This presents a significant opportunity for companies with field, channel or network marketing organizations to improve the value of their creative and marketing assets by impacting consumer demand prior to purchase,” Alexander said.

Localized marketing seems to be a vital aspect of half of respondents’ growth and profit strategies, while 24 percent said they earmark more than 50 percent of their marketing and merchandising budgets for promoting products at the local level. Being more relevant to customers, having more meaningful conversations with consumers, increasing loyalty and setting the brand apart from competitors are a few of the benefits that the CMO Council outlined.

Additionally, the researchers found that just over one-third – 36 percent – use data and analytics to gain insight into how their national ad campaigns impact their success in specific markets. Rather than featuring promotional materials on TV, radio and local magazines, advertisers are more likely to see a higher return on investment with direct mail, social networks and hosting local events, to name a few tactics.

The group noted that it was a bit of a surprise to find that two recognizable methods for increasing recognition at a city or town level – the Yellow Pages and daily deal websites – were at the bottom of national marketers’ lists when choosing channels for local advertising. The report also found that just 6 percent of national brand advertisers were reaching out to individual markets through group buying websites, as cited by Marketing Magazine. Out of that group, 2 percent said the deal sites were their “most effective local marketing channel.” That said, 23 percent of national respondents planned to divert more funds to their local marketing budgets, and almost half said they would be working to add more channels to their marketing suite, the source reports.

Some companies are going in the opposite direction of the community focus, however. CNET reports that DailyDeals.com, which offers coupons for national businesses and ecommerce websites, is “anti-local,” since the market for finding discounts in consumers’ neighborhoods is already saturated.

“DailyDeals.com provides a refreshing alternative to the many other daily deal Websites because it focuses exclusively on online stores with deals that customers need and want, and not local services or restaurants,” said Steve Schaffer, CEO of DailyDeals.com, in a statement announcing the website’s launch. “Let’s face it, there are only so many personal grooming services a person can use in a month.”