National brand, local demand: Building reach that scales

By Shahnaz MahmudAugust 22, 2014

Marketers, look around locally. The opportunities are there – and ripe.

This was reiterated throughout the entire panel discussion, “National Brand, Local Demand: Building Reach that Scales,” on the first day of LeadsCon NY at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in midtown Manhattan.

Setting the stage, David Hirschman, co-founder and COO of Street Fight, noted that the discussion would center on the way national retailers can fortify their local presence and how they use digital tools to generate leads.

Furthering the theme, Mike Boland, VP, content and senior Analyst at BIA/Kelsey, doled out some interesting statistics. Seventy-two percent of US consumers are smartphone users and 25 percent of search query volume is mobile. With that, half have local intent to buy, see, eat. Seventy-three percent of search triggers additional actions and conversions. The forecast for US mobile ad revenue is $30 billion by 2018, up from $7 billion in 2013. And, he added, location-targeted advertising will increase to 52 percent, from 40 percent in 2013. “Anyone taking conversions offline are missing out on 40 percent of the addressable market,” said Boland, taking the tough love route.

Susan Tormollen, VP of marketing at Balihoo, said from her purview, it’s “not so much tough love as it is opportunities for local marketing – and that these are some of the biggest opportunities out there.” Tormollen pointed out that until recently, marketers really didn’t have an understanding of local marketing’s nuances. But all that is changing. One main point she got across was that shoppers prefer their local markets and trust local messaging more than mass national messaging. Locally, there’s a higher intent to purchase, she added.

But, said Tormollen, now it’s possible for national brands to own local marketing. “[The critical importance here] is to have a local SEO strategy,” she said. “Search volume goes up and up,” she pointed out.

Building local visibility is also an important element for “drive and demand.” What needs to be understood is that infrastructure needs to be in place. Rick Milenthal, CEO of The Shipyard, shed light on some sound strategies. Social media sites, such as Instagram, has fast become an effective tool toward content marketing, he highlighted. “Social media is about engagement and community,” he emphasized. For national brands to succeed, personalization and localization must be added into the mix.

In terms of challenges, Tormollen said it’s really incorporating local marketing into the national strategy. Boland said targeting and measuring ads continues to be an uphill battle, noting “it’s a matter of scale – the higher the quality, the bigger the challenge.” And Milenthal, in agreement with all, added it’s the politics of the ad game that will continue to be a main challenge.


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