Once you’ve decided which local marketing channels you’ll focus on to drive local audiences to your locations, the next key decision is ‘who does what’. That is, which of these channels will be executed by your local outlets, and which ones the head office marketing team will take care of.
Your decision should be based on the skills, motivation and available time your location staff have, and the marketing support resources you have on hand at head office.
Sorry, but you may need to do everything for your locations
In some cases, marketing ability and/or available time to do local marketing will be low to non-existent. A fast food company with only one or two staff is a common example. No matter what materials you make available, the reality is head office marketing will have to be the main driver of local store traffic.
National and regional media is a common play, but geo-targetable digital channels are the real ace up your sleeve. However they're woefully under-utilised due to a common belief it's too hard to set up and manage content across multiple locations and accounts. This isn’t the case. With the right local marketing apps you can run localised digital campaigns efficiently and at scale. You can review these apps in our recent eBook 6 Game Changing Marketing Apps for Multi Location Brands.
As a rule of thumb in the ‘do everything for them’ scenario, if it’s not a scalable activity you shouldn’t be doing it. It's not good use of your time.
Empowering the motivated local marketers
In sectors such as travel, automotive, banking, finance, retail and many franchise sectors, we commonly see a large percentage of a brand’s locations highly motivated to do local marketing. With these brands the common play is moving your local marketing to a self-service DIY model using a technology such as Brand Machine's Marketing Hub. This gives your locations instance access to customisable materials while ensuring all communications remain on brand.
Of course every brand has lazy operators, so once your online portal is in place, make locations use it by politely refusing further bespoke requests. This will free your marketing team up to pursue more strategic initiatives that will really move the business forward.
When does locally activated marketing stop being a good idea
Having passionate marketers at your locations is a great scenario for any brand. But in most cases a line will need to be drawn where the local self-service portal assisted model stops and head office delivered local marketing starts. More often than not it is the digital channels where the responsibilities transition. Let’s go through them.
Organic social media is currently something most brands struggle with. It’s common to not allow local social accounts for fear of what local teams may publish on them. While the fear is usually justified, not having local pages massively compromises reach and relevance. You just need the right software tools that give you control of whether local teams can post or not, and allow head office to cascade content down to the local accounts. This means even non-active locations will have good quality, automatically localised content feeding through to their pages.
Other than large local businesses such as car dealerships, paid Google and Social media advertising will be beyond the skills of most location staff. As few marketing teams have the resources to set up multiple micro-campaigns for each location, we’re increasingly implementing paid automation apps to automate the process. This enables digital localisation at great scale and efficiency for nationally funded activity. You can also make available a library pre-configured campaigns that locations can literally push a button to activate and fund themselves.
Local email marketing in most cases is best looked after by head office to ensure data is accurate and best practice policies around privacy compliance are followed. Make sure you use a platform that will automatically localise emails to your local branches for your nationwide campaigns. If your local marketing portal technology can handle HTML customisation, then more localised emails can be created by locations (saving a great deal of time and expense) and sent to head office for deployment. This an effective model that many of our clients use, and the resultant analytics allows the marketing team to be constantly improving their game
In-store digital screen advertising used to be the exclusive domain of head office, but Brand Machine has recently introduced new technology that allows a mix of centrally served and locally generated content including and animated and film executions. You can read more about this in our recent blog Digital screens – no longer in the ‘too hard basket’ for local marketing.
Digital display advertising almost always lies with head office and their agency, but watch this space for automation solutions here too in the future.
Take a regular dose of realism
The best advice we can give you when answering the ‘who does what’ question is be realistic when considering what your locations or franchisees can and will do. Recently we have been setting up ‘trial portals’ to help brands test the self-service portal model and gain the confidence to invest in this direction.
In conclusion, moving a decent chunk of your local marketing over to a portal based self-service model saves marketing teams enormous time, while locations will be delighted with the speed at which they can get things done. But you’ll need to inspire and motivate them regularly, and continue to support them in the more technical areas such as the digital marketing – where new local marketing automation apps will be your best friend to maximise efficiency.
Don't develop your strategy until you've read our eBook!
Knowledge of automation technologies is vital to help you form your strategy. Otherwise you may leave out a key marketing channel or tactic because you thought it would be too resource intensive, when in fact you can employ automation. For a concise overview of the solutions available check out our recent eBook - 6 Game Changing Marketing Apps for Multi Location Brands.
At Brand Machine we work with over 30 clients across a number of different industry categories and are more than happy to assist you to develop your local marketing strategy and how you can best utilise technology to enable it. Simply contact us for an obligation free discussion.