13 Jun 3 Reasons to Take the Marketing Handcuffs off Your Locations
Published: June 13, 2019
The Big Brand Sheriff Can Grow Sales by Losing a Little Power
We get it. Your brand messaging is sacred.
You want to maintain some level of control over your brand voice and quality.
But when a consumer is searching for “pizza near me” or looking for a blow dry appointment or even making a large purchase like a car or furniture, he or she doesn’t really think about your corporate infrastructure.
There’s a new sheriff in town and her mission is to corral local search.
Here are a few key stats that support the mission:
- Buyers today are using their phones to find what they need. In fact, 70 percent of web traffic is on a mobile device and 85 percent of searches are on five networks.
- Reviews – good and bad – have a direct impact on purchase behavior.
- 88 percent of people who do a local search call or visit the business within 24 hours.
A national franchise recently took away the ability of its local operators to post messages on social media because one region didn’t seem to understand or respect the brand message and graphic standards. But, by doing that, they instantly robbed ALL their local franchisees of the ability to communicate with the people in their own backyards, potentially hurting both search rankings and sales.
One might argue that the problem wasn’t a renegade local business but rather the lack of an easy-to-use and practical system for targeting a local market.
As a national multi-location brand, you can’t possibly keep up with the day-to-day events that have an impact on every business in your network – from weather that changes location hours to restaurant menu updates to new competitive threats in a neighborhood to that customer review that needs an immediate response.
We’re living in a hyperlocal world of search and the brand sheriff needs to give the individual revenue owners just enough freedom to do the right thing at the right moment.
Giving local businesses MORE control over their marketing produces:
- Better results. Ultimately, that’s what really matters. Mom-and-pop stores have a distinct advantage over big brand marketers in that they can get to know their audience, neighborhood, and competition and then tailor promotions and products at a hyperlocal level.
- A greater sense of buy-in and empowerment. “Corporate won’t let me do it,” is a common phrase among restaurant and retail operators who are locked into brand rules. How can an individual feel that he or she owns growth if he is tied-in to certain methods and timeframes for execution?
- More consistent branding. Although this may seem counter-intuitive, investing in the right “dashboard” provides local operators with a preapproved toolkit of options.
Today’s consumers and business buyers are dependent on search results to make purchase decisions – from where to buy a great bagel to which vendor carries a $200,000 piece of farm equipment.
Inaccurate online data, bad reviews, and dated information can cost you millions in sales over the long run.
Big brand and multi-location companies need to:
- Invest in systems that make local marketing simple.
- Train team members on how to use those systems.
- Create a culture of engagement and empowerment at a local level. You trust business managers enough to let them run a local branch. Reward them for knowing and serving their local prospects; don’t punish them for thinking creatively.
- Allow local operators to help build a brand-approved library of offers and creative treatments that they can readily access, eliminating temptation to “go rogue” and develop off-brand communications.
- Expand their marketing co-op programs to encourage local-level programs. Although print ads, TV, radio, and mass web advertising can build awareness, customer intimacy is what ultimately closes the sale and drives new customers into your locations.
As a CMO or brand marketer, you need to wear your badge as the “keeper of the brand.” But as local mobile marketing becomes a more significant part of the landscape, you must create enough freedom for operators to target and sell.
A new sheriff is in town. And her name is hyperlocal.
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