How to set up a local marketing strategy

Interview with Steven Orgebin, Deputy CEO of Digitaleo, on local marketing and its specificities. The specificities of local marketing.

We interviewed Steven Orgebin, Deputy General Manager at Digitaleo, a SaaS platform specializing in local marketing which mainly targets retail networks wishing to strengthen their presence at the local level and generate traffic at the point of sale. He deciphers for us the importance of local marketing, its specificities, and the right strategies to put in place.

You are a specialist in local marketing, what are its specificities?

Local marketing is based on the principle of proximity. This is very clearly the strategy favored today by retail networks that have physical points of sale.

With nearly half (46%) of Google searches intended to find local information, it is clear that the local dimension has become a strategic issue for companies wishing to attract consumers located in their catchment areas.

But if the trend toward local shops is in order, the whole challenge for brands lies in their ability to adapt and provide concrete responses to new hybrid and local consumption patterns (ROPO behavior, take-out sales, drive, home delivery, click & collect, etc.). This is where the notion of local marketing takes on its full meaning.

To achieve this, the brand networks must, among other things, offer more personalized and therefore more relevant content, harmonize their national and local communication, decline the levers that perform nationally at the local level and, finally, choose the level of autonomy they wish to entrust to their network (centralized, decentralized or mixed).

Far from mass communication, local marketing aims to adapt to the local specificities of each point of sale. There are also differences between national communications and local communications, particularly in terms of performance. The latter present more flattering results than the national and generic communications carried out on behalf of the stores.

We note, within the networks, that the national finally manages mass media communications with a view to notoriety and visibility, while the role of the local is rather oriented towards a drive-to-store logic. The two are obviously complementary.

What difficulties can be encountered in implementing a local marketing strategy?

Brand networks generally have to take up 2 major challenges to implement an effective and sustainable local marketing strategy.

To begin with, it is essential to give meaning to the project at the point of sale. There is a lot of educational work in each project. You have to take the time to explain that all the devices made available to them are levers made for them and to help them perform from a business point of view. On the other hand, local managers do not necessarily have all the marketing skills necessary to understand or execute the head office’s strategy, hence the importance of training and supporting them.
In return, the content offered by the head of the network must be in tune with the operational needs of the points of sale (recruitment of new employees, need for traffic and visibility, etc.) and their commercial highlights (operations for the sales, mothers, Christmas…).

The second challenge consists in harmonizing the national and local communication of the network. In other words, ensuring that each stakeholder in the organization takes the company’s values ​​into account in the dissemination of local campaigns and checking that all communications comply with the same charter, whether they come from head office or from points of local sales. There are codes and good practices to be respected concerning the content disseminated (text/image balance, nature of the object, CTA, graphic and editorial charter, etc.), and the teams at headquarters must be the guarantors of the brand image and consistency of communications.

What are the different types of possible organizations when you want to set up a local marketing strategy?

At Digitaleo, we have become accustomed to distinguishing 3 types of organizations.

Until recently, it was the centralized mode that was favored by the networks. The latter had a marketing/communications team at headquarters, which managed both national and local campaigns, and therefore all requests from the network. This implies many ad hoc requests to be processed and teams at headquarters may find themselves overstretched.

There is the decentralized logic that we find more in franchise networks in particular, and in which the head of the network offers and the local disposes of. In this operation, franchisees will find omnichannel communication kits (SMS, email, message on answering machine, landing page, social network posts, sponsored campaigns, etc.) that they will be able to trigger according to their needs, and this, in complete autonomy.

Finally, there is the hybrid version which seems to me to be the best organization possible. Indeed, I consider that there are a good number of actions that can be carried out by a national team for all or part of the network. In these actions, one can imagine a national campaign duplicated locally, for a product launch, for example, a display campaign, etc. Conversely, there are other actions that can be initiated locally and that do not necessarily require reflection with head office teams, such as modifying schedules on their Google business listing or sending an SMS to warn their customers that the store will be exceptionally open as part of a local event.

What are the most effective channels of the moment in your opinion?

There are 2 levers that stand out for generating traffic at the point of sale: “Presence Management” and customer reviews. By “Presence Management”, we mean here the fact of simultaneously optimizing the online visibility and the local referencing of a large number of points of sale belonging to the same network.

These are must-haves for any company whose objective is to be identified in its catchment areas and on local queries which, it should be remembered, have increased sharply in recent years, and for which Facebook and Google regularly adapt their algorithms.

Thereafter, it is interesting to complete them with an organic social network part to maintain a link with its customers in its catchment area.
And as soon as we have their contact details at our disposal, we will enter into a logic of direct marketing by communicating by SMS, email, voice message, etc. It is by far one of the least expensive and most effective levers to bring customers back and forth to the store.

There are also a lot of requests on the Ads part, with a local personalization issue. Local brands share a common problem: to gain visibility on Google with intentions, and on Facebook to create brand preference at the local level.

More recently, we were asked to design contextual and location-based advertisements on Waze, in order to attract drivers near points of sale. This new innovative advertising format is made possible thanks to our merger with Kamp’n.

Are certain channels such as SMS or answering machine messages not perceived as too intrusive by customers or prospects? Do they still allow performance drivers?

Conversely, I consider them less intrusive in the sense that you always have the possibility of unsubscribing in an extremely simple way on all of these channels. We are on a chosen solicitation and we can always change according to the desires of consumers.

As far as the voice message is concerned, it all depends on how you use it. At Digitaleo, we only use this channel in the context of a previously established customer relationship and in no case for promotional campaigns, and that changes a lot of things. It is therefore never experienced as intrusive since our customers will always receive a message from someone they know, and we want it to stay that way.

The answering machine message is actually the most successful channel in terms of direct marketing. We have experienced extraordinary success stories with this channel with performance rates or activation rates of around 20% for AG2R La Mondiale and Société Générale, for example.

SMS also remains, to a lesser extent, a very efficient channel in terms of activation. For some of our customers, such as Crédit Agricole or Mazda, we have had activation rates that can reach 10% and even more on loyalty bases and certain VIP segments.

What advice and recommendations would you give to a brand to encourage its network to adhere to its local marketing strategy?

Network training and support are obviously the pillars of a successful local marketing strategy.

When you set up a project for a network, it is important to explain why you are deploying it. It’s still common sense, but it’s really essential. We must create synergy between the poles, give meaning to the project and reassure the network of points of sale that the whole system is made for their sole benefit.

At Digitaleo we have developed real know-how in terms of support, particularly with our onboarding process. Our customer success team aims to train and involve both head office staff and local employees on all the levers made available to the network.

Another very important point: the points of sale must be given responsibility. We serve local entrepreneurs, and therefore people who want to develop their businesses. We have this desire to provide answers to these local entrepreneurs.

How is the local marketing sector doing?

Local marketing has been on the rise for several years even if, to be quite frank, it was not the number 1 subject within the networks when I arrived at Digitaleo in 2016. We have seen things evolve very strongly, especially after the pandemic and confinement, as retailers realized that the physical store would remain the biggest contributor to turnover. There has also been an awareness of consumers in their way of consuming, in particular by favoring proximity for ecological, ethical, and economic reasons.

We communicate regularly with web giants like Facebook and Google, and we realize that local marketing is one of their 3 main priorities for 2022, and for the years to come. Not only because they see the use which is developing strongly on this local logic in the United States and in Europe, and because they consider that their media, and ultimately even their income, will only be able to develop from when they reach the granularity of local consumers. Thus, for reasons of use and for commercial reasons, local marketing is promised a bright future.

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