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Making Local Marketing Work

Making Local Marketing Work

Simon Ward explains how, by using Media Centre and SP, Inspired Thinking Group has solved the conundrum of local marketing.

As your company grows, and operations silo, having a complete view of your marketing activity becomes increasingly difficult. You may find ways of running a slick national marketing operation, but what about your local outlets?

Local stores make up large retailers’ bricks and mortar frontline, and progressive companies are finding that investing a bigger part of their budget in local marketing can reap enormous benefits: basing campaigns on local knowledge of customer demographics and preferences can deliver big ROI rewards.

The downside is you can lose visibility and control. Keeping your national activity joined up is tough enough, but how do you ensure your local managers come up with intelligent local marketing strategies and produce only on-brand assets?

Added to that, where are your local managers going to find the time to run a multichannel marketing campaign? They’re too busy trying to run a shop. This is the conundrum: if the only way you can get local marketing to work is to put in huge amounts of resource from central marketing, you might as well go back to a one-size-fits-all national strategy.

Making local marketing work

Over the years, Inspired Thinking Group has had a lot of time to work out how to unravel this knot. We work with brands that have large retail outlets – including car manufacturers Renault and SKODA – and those with smaller outlets, such as Weight Watchers, whose local leaders and meetings we support.

In every case, we have helped devise local marketing programmes that increase local footfall and sales, use guaranteed compliant assets and give complete visibility to the central team. As a bonus, local managers report increasing satisfaction with national marketing support as the programme matures.

How have we done it?

Key factors in local marketing success

Neither technology nor local marketing expertise on their own can unravel this knot. Both are required – and they have to work seamlessly together.

First, the technology. Local and national operations need a simple-to-use platform that stores all assets and can be viewed by all required parties. The software needs to be able to schedule campaigns, keep track of budgets and handle bespoke requests.

In 2010, we found exactly the software we needed in Media Centre by Total Marketing Services. Media Centre is an advanced marketing resource management platform built around core modules – Asset Library, Local Marketing, Workflow Manager, and so on – so marketers only need to invest in the functionality they need.

We were so impressed, we – sorry about the cliché – but we bought the company.

Six years of development later, Media Centre now sits at the heart of many of our clients’ marketing operations, with the Local Marketing module providing the means for local managers to run geographically relevant, compliant campaigns, with full visibility for central marketing.

Our Status Pro (SP) reporting app provides realtime campaign data on any desktop or mobile browser, combining Media Centre data with information from numerous other sources, including Google Analytics and social media activity, providing the ability for central marketing to drill down into the data to a granular level.

Central marketing creates and constantly updates a comprehensive suite of multichannel local templates that reflect national assets. These are stored in the client’s Asset Library and can be accessed through any browser. Every local manager can view, resize, amend and order any of the templated assets.

Service support

With the technology in place, the next thing is to look at service support. Local managers may not have the time or marketing expertise to run brilliant campaigns, so we provide expert local consultants who research the location, study the results of previous campaigns and recommend channel strategies for each outlet.

To ensure local executions are inexpensive, we also provide a Dynamic Template module in Media Centre that enables easy customisation of templated artwork directly through the browser. We also run a 24/7 artworking studio, dedicated to producing bespoke customisations of on-brand assets.

Our QC team ensures compliance of bespoke artworks, and all briefing, approvals, bookings and requests for quotes are handled through Media Centre.

An ITG account manager or account team works full time at the client’s head office, and is the first point of contact for all Media Centre and local marketing activity.

The result is a constantly innovating local marketing programme that provides increased ROI, is on-brand, and mirrors national executions. With the extra advantage that it requires no painful admin input from either local managers or national marketers, enabling them to spend their time doing what they do best – developing creative marketing campaigns or running stores.

Read our Renault local marketing case study here

Until next time,

Simon Ward

About Simon Ward

Simon Ward ITG – Simon is the founder and CEO of pioneering technology-led marketing company, Inspired Thinking Group (ITG). ITG delivers best-in-class marketing software, procurement and studio services to dozens of blue-chip clients, including Audi, M&S, KFC, PUMA and Heineken.

Simon Ward SP Group – Prior to ITG, Simon founded SP Digital in 1998, and in 1999 bought SP Print to form SP Group, creating innovative marketing and point of sale displays for some of the world’s best-known retailers, including M&S, Sainsbury’s, Holland & Barrett and Calvin Klein.

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