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MarketingCharts: Brands Plan More Spending On Local Marketing

November 21, 2012

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from MarketingCharts, a Watershed Publishing publication providing up-to-to-minute data and research to marketers.

In 2013, 47.3 percent of national brands expect to spend more on local marketing than they did this year, according to a new study from Balihoo, while an additional 44 percent plan to spend the same.

According to the latest report, Research Micro Study: National Brand Use of Digital in Local Marketing, brands will be placing an emphasis on digital marketing, which 67.5 percent of respondents rate as very or extremely important to their local efforts. Asked what digital marketing tactics they currently use, most pointed to social media other than Facebook (e.g., Twitter and LinkedIn, used by 75.5 percent); Facebook (69.3 percent); and search engine optimization (SEO, 66.2 percent).

The top three they'd like to add in 2013 are mobile marketing (used by 32 percent, with 35.4 percent planning to add it); local blogs (26 percent using; 31.5 percent planning to add) and online customer reviews (22.1 percent using and 31 percent planning use). Other tactics on the slate for 2013 include local search registration (with 19.5 percent planning to add it), pay-per-click advertising (19.0 percent), localized websites (16.2 percent) and digital display advertising (14.1 percent).

Other findings:

  • Larger national brands of $500 million or more in annual revenues tend to use a wider mix of digital tactics than do smaller national brands of revenues between $100 million and $250 million.
  • Only 22.6 percent of respondents are currently using local search registration and only 19.5 percent ranked it as a priority for 2013.
  • A larger percentage of smaller national brands ($100M - $250M) are using Facebook and other social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) than the larger national brands ($500M+).

Results were based on 384 completed responses from individual companies via email surveys distributed August 1 - Sept 10, 2012. Respondents met the criteria of marketing professional, companies based in North America, companies with $100 million or greater annual revenue.

Discussion Questions:

What's driving the apparent emphasis among brands on local marketing? Which digital approaches should brands embrace in their outreach locally?

While we value unfettered opinion, we urge you to show respect and courtesy for people or companies about whom you comment. Keep in mind that this is a public, professional business discussion. RetailWire reserves the right to edit or refuse the publication of remarks that we deem unsuitable. We may also correct for unintended spelling and grammatical errors.

Instant Poll:

Of the following digital vehicles, which should national brands focus on to improve their local marketing reach?


Brand marketing has been shifting focus since Dan Quayle invented the Internet. The referenced research would only surprise someone living a real version of "Lost" for the last 20 years.

The only reason the percentages are not higher for companies focusing on local targets is because they don't know how to do it without ticking off their customers. This has been and continues to be the arena that store operators control and it is a separate marketing budget. I'm pretty sure we're not going to see a big rush to move trade spending dollars to local consumer marketing.

This is certainly a different story for smaller manufacturers looking to build brand awareness and gain points of distribution via social media techniques.

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Dan Raftery, President, Raftery Resource Network Inc.

A rocket scientist just whispered in my ear, "brands want more business! That's why they are putting more emphasis on local marketing."

That's the extent of my belief concepts today, save for the desire to wish you all a HAPPY THANKSGIVING and trust none of you get trampled if you shop early for Black Friday.

Gene Hoffman, President/CEO, Corporate Strategies International

All politics is local...and all retail marketing is, too. Retailers who can figure out how to reach customers without creeping them out, and who can promote locally-popular merchandise, will be way ahead. I've talked with a number of retailers who are experimenting with ways to touch consumers with geolocation and social media without provoking a "how did you know THAT?" reaction from consumers.

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Cathy Hotka, Principal, Cathy Hotka & Associates

Local SEO is the modern equivalent of advertising in the phone book. Yet, the feature-set of local searches on Google and Bing is still in flux, and so the best practices are constantly shifting.

Some industries have already figured out how to maximize local SEO, and are very competitive, but many vertical markets are still fertile ground for an a little bit of local SEO work to yield outsized returns.

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Jason Goldberg, VP Commerce Strategy, Razorfish

The drivers for local marketing have always existed. The challenge has been how to "Mass-Target" the very localized audience. Shopper analytics and optimization tools available only recently have successfully addressed this challenge. Brands can now effectively reach out through myriad channels, social and otherwise, to capture new shoppers that have henceforth been unaware of their value propositions.

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Ralph Jacobson, Global Retail Industry Analytics Marketing Executive, IBM

Two dynamics are at work: (1) greater ability to target media buys locally and (2) the shift from print and broadcast to digital.

Brands have used local marketing in their media mix for ages. From local print buys that focus reach to local broadcast heavy-ups that grow BDI, there has always been a smart reason to sharpen the point of national buys. The budgets are growing faster now that local analytics teach marketers more about regional demand and targeting systems create geo-narrow inventory.

The lower costs and higher adoption of digital media is stealing share from print buys. Local marketing has proven ability to drive short-term sales, and thus has been essential to the success of print FSIs. Now those couponing dollars are increasingly going digital. The same can be said for magazine buys shifting to hyperlocal digital display, which is not only cheaper but also more precise.

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Dan Frechtling, SVP Product and Marketing, CMO, G2 Web Services

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