The recent BIA/Kelsey Brands conference in New York City revealed the varying paths and struggles agencies, brands and local Adtech / Martech companies experience addressing national to local media placement and marketing. Some of the struggle comes from how each of these groups views, addresses and manages campaign approaches in local.
In one camp, you have large multi-location brands whose desire is to better coordinate local campaigns and content. Often brands focus on supporting their franchise or partner organization with approved advertising options or setting aside funds for building local presence. Large brand and franchise organizations have traditionally taken the route of offering co-op funds aimed at particular media types in support of national advertising and promotional campaigns. The idea behind co-op funds is to offer a level of autonomy to the local outlet in choosing what best suits their market’s needs. While anywhere from an estimated $30-$70 million dollars of co-op funds are made available, most agree that more than 50 percent of those funds go unused. Much of the reasoning is that local outlets are inexperienced in media planning and spending, the brand supported media does not match the local needs, or that the co-op reimbursement methods are too complicated.
In another group, you have advertising agencies, digital agencies and media buying groups who are seeking ways to use technology to address and coordinate localized campaigns. Media buying technology has advanced with the introduction of programmatic and the wealth of first party data available from transactions, mobile location and store traffic numbers provided by brands. While programmatic technology streamlines the buying process, it does little in merging local and national data, and in better addressing the unique local needs of widely distributed brand and franchise networks. In addressing local, agencies look at location as the main indicator of what is local, using mobile location and dwell time from beacon technology to identify local intent and thus the delivery of more “localized” messages. While multi-location brands want to go deeper into localized campaigns and content, agency technology approaches remain largely focused on the placement of TV, radio, mobile and online display, and social media which tends to support the traditional media planning and buying strengths, and revenue sources, of agencies.
In the final group you have local Adtech and Martech platforms developed specifically to address the Small and Medium-sized Business (SMB) category on a local basis. These platforms specialize in addressing the local needs of advertisers and multi-location companies to generate site traffic, customer engagement, calls, store visits and appointments which are highly valued by local merchants. While agencies and brands concentrate on top of the funnel strategies building brand awareness and engagement, these localize platforms and tactics are aimed squarely at the bottom of the funnel as a means for leveraging brand awareness and goodwill into tangible ROI.
Clearly there is value for multi-location brands and franchise organizations getting all of these groups together to address and coordinate national and local needs. While there is a desire for agencies and brands to want to aggregate data from national and local campaigns, the reality is the value is not in the aggregation of the data but in the signals each provides. Local sales, call volume, store traffic and appointment increases leveraging national campaign messages are a clear indicator of a National to Local campaign’s success. As Dunkin’ Brands, Steve Costello put it, “the brand message creates interest and engagement, but it is at the local level that its products and services are sold and supported.” Likewise, an effort to promote a new product or marketing approach in a local market or region can help inform product development, creative, and campaign planning in larger regions or nationally. Successful local campaigns and messages provide brands and agencies a measured way of identifying new approaches before rolling them out on a wider basis.
For agencies and co-op focused firms, adopting local Adtech / Martech platforms allows them to develop deeper relationships and revenue opportunities with brands by tapping into the $150 million local marketing segment, and by developing re-occurring revenue opportunities managing the content of local brand outlets. For locally focused, Adtech and Martech companies, facilitating coordination of multiple local outlets and partners provides connection and sales attribution with national brand campaigns, providing key success metrics missing from programmatic approaches. Breaking down the walls between brands, agencies and local Adtech / Martech platforms is win for all those involved.