As a local retail business, it’s very easy to put your marketing on auto pilot—putting all of your efforts in the hands of the national marketing gurus. After all, as a local business you are often contributing two to four percent of your sales to national marketing initiatives. National plans have worked before, so why should you bother with a Local Store Marketing (LSM) plan? Here are six key reasons to supplement a national marketing plan with your own LSM initiatives.
- One size does not fit all. What works in the Southwest, doesn’t always work in the Northwest, which doesn’t always work in the Northeast. Regional tastes vary, whether your business is food, automotive or salon services. Your customers have different wants and needs and you need to keep abreast of those desires and seize the opportunities you uncover at the local level.
- You can’t teach an “old dog” new tricks. In this case, the “old dog” is a tried and true national marketing program. It reappears on your national advertising calendar every year like clockwork. And it works… every year… for some of the locations. But, in others the customers are no longer excited by it, a competitor has improved upon the offer or it simply doesn’t generate the sales that it used to. In those cases, supplementing the national plan with a Local Store Marketing plan is essential to continued success.
- Today’s customers kiss and tell. Today’s social media driven customers share their local experiences—they are talking about what happened in a specific location, when products are being sampled or when a special event featuring their favorite local band is happening. It’s local marketing ideas and activities that can drive these stories. Most positive social media stories are generated by local experiences.
- Strength in numbers is not always true. While it’s cost efficient to market the same product and promotion across the country, not every location delivers a great experience. Too many bad experiences can reflect poorly on the entire system. Having a strong LSM plan supplementing national messages is good insurance against the rest of the system and the issues they may encounter. Connecting with your customers at the local level, through Local Store Marketing messages and activities, will help build goodwill with customers and can overcome these not so great experiences.
- Big data doesn’t always think about the little guy. Big data marketing works off of analytics that can translate to homogenous marketing. It’s true that big data marketing can tailor efforts based upon customer behavior, but the promotional pie is still being cut and it’s just the largest pieces that are being marketed. There are still many other tactics that can be effective and the customers at your location just might prefer one of the smaller pieces of the pie. Always review the national marketing plans against an analysis of your local customers. You know what sells in your location. If the national marketing plan calls for promotion of that special flavor shake and you know that shake never does well at your location, or that special service that no one in your market ever purchases is on the national plan again—then it’s definitely time to supplement with LSM.
- Most corporate marketers have never worked in a retail location. It’s true… or at best it’s been years since they spent more than an hour or two behind the counter. National plans are based off of research, big data and past results. All good starting points—but, when you spend real time with local customers, understand what it takes to serve those customers every day, you see where the opportunities to build sales for your specific location are. Those opportunities need to be considered when you construct your LSM plan and select your sales building ideas. Don’t rely on ideas that look great on paper, but can’t be properly implemented at the local level.
National marketing efforts are great at building foundations for local sales. But, they are just that—-foundations. If you want to grow your business, expand beyond the ground floor and reach the stars… Local Store Marketing is your answer. It differentiates your location from the competition and builds relationships with your customers and the local community. By shifting gears out of “auto pilot” and into LSM you can consistently builds sales year over year.