Hyperlocal marketing is not new, but like most buzz words, the topic circulates amongst marketers every year. Hyperlocal marketing should be centered not just on the quality of the content but also the quality of the team collaboration to execute it.  Marketing itself started as a very local experience dating back to the earliest word-of-mouth advertising and then followed by print (fliers, newspapers, etc.). It was all dependent on the ability to tap into the audience in the immediate vicinity.

Fast forward to the era of digital and data, marketers today have some big expectations to meet, including anticipating customer needs and being equipped with technology and resources to deploy geo-targeted marketing programs.  All the while continuing to deliver on the broader need to scale nationally.

And while this is not an official “rulebook” for tackling hyper-local marketing, we are sharing some ideas to keep in mind on how to bring it to life while avoiding a few pratfalls.

1. Internal alignment: Get buy-in before you charge ahead.

Like any new effort, do some homework.  It’s important to understand which metrics will be important and to evaluate the resources needed to be successful.  Ultimately, getting buy-in from leadership is important for any initiative but for hyperlocal, it’s more important to get the right level of support. The effort may require resources from teams that are not typically working together such as local store managers or regional sales teams.

2. Rally the team around a plan.

After you have a baseline for internal team buy-in, it’s important to outline what success looks like. For example:

    • Align on metrics for successful hyperlocal campaigns and ensure they are aligned beyond the marketing team (cough, SALES, cough)
    • Set expectations for a rollout.  Test in one are before implanting widely
    • Pioneer a plan for content creation and media allocation
    • Leverage your agency for insights on the hyperlocal strategy and how it can be enhanced.

3. Outfit the team with tools and training.

Over-communication is key with implementing a hyperlocal marketing strategy since it requires much more cross-functional collaboration.

  • Ask your marketing agency to create guidelines and templates for use by local teams
  • Infuse expertise where it is needed to ensure messaging is on-point and appropriate for the usage
  • Align on default messages or actions for emergencies
  • Train your local team on any technology that they may need to leverage during the campaign, if applicable

4. Start with Local Content. Legit local content.

Customers crave familiarity and for brands who want to remain relevant, the marketing team must deliver authentic local content that connects with customers on a personal level.

  • It’s important to step out of the comfort zone with local content. It should be rooted in local communities (happenings, weather, regional tastes, local lingo) and more importantly the content should not be trumped by global brand guidelines. Local content should not arbitrarily break brand guidelines, but there should be autonomy to create local content with its own voice.
  • Trusting the people who understand the region is key. For retail brands, it may be store managers that create local content on Facebook. For a national team to maintain control over a local team, the creative agency can provide templates and hyperlocal guidelines that will enable the local teams to have a baseline for their content.

No matter the audience, the goal is the same: deliver personalized value through hyperlocal content to a specific set of customers who share a community and have common values/interests.

5. The Obligatory “Mobile is Critical” bullet point.

Mobile is the underpinning to all these experiences so we won’t bemoan the discussion about mobile optimized experiences. You should assume the shopper is on their phone and searching for your location or your product while on the go.

In addition to mobile optimization, ensure your keywords are setup for broad search terms but also location-based terms (such as ‘Austin luxury hotel’).  In addition, always include your company’s name, location and address on your website.

It’s worth noting that brands should always take advantage of Google My Business.  It is a simple and free opportunity to have your local business locations appear in Google search results for location-based searches.  If you’re not spending any dollars on paid search, it’s even more important to ensure you appear in the grouping of similar businesses (“the local pack”) and on Google maps.

6. Don’t Assume Digital and Data is All You Need.

Some brands with a killer digital strategy have a challenging time with hyper-local marketing because it requires some very traditional expertise, outside of the digital realm.

For example, word-of-mouth:  It’s one of the oldest forms of advertising as it is today, and an integral part of the hyperlocal toolkit, but most brands don’t have this mastered.  An example of WOM and by extension, hyperlocal marketing, is Tito’s Handmade Vodka.  They have built local community relationships over 20 years and infused brand loyalty into every engagement.   They are “always-on”, but not by spending tons on national advertising, TV and digital.  They focus on scaling local brand awareness one local engagement at a time.

With their paid media strategy, they create personalized out-of-home experiences based on each city.  Fly into the airport in Austin, TX and you will be quickly greeted by an advert with messaging tailor-made for Austin residents/visitors.  Leave the airport and you see another local message on the highway into town.  Stop at a bar and you will see Tito’s Vodka signage and local offers.  Chat with the bartender and s/he recommends Tito’s Vodka because the sales relationship is strong.  It’s a well-crafted customer journey that many brands aspire to.  By some standards, it may seem too old-fashioned, but it works. This example proves that sometimes ‘omnichannel’ means you don’t have to leverage every single channel to be in the right place at the right time.  Leverage the ones that make sense for your brand and your (local) customer.

To sum up, don’t be afraid of getting some parts wrong.  Keep learning from each hyperlocal test.  This will enable you to effectively learn more as you scale to more cities/regions. And of course, we are always here to help if you run into any snags.

 

TheMODStudio

TheMODStudio

The MOD Studio is a boutique marketing & design agency and the creative powerhouse behind many local and national brands.