Piecing together a local marketing strategy

Marketing chiefs from Dunkin’ Donuts, Snap Fitness, Subway and Balihoo join the CMO Council’s latest webinar to discuss how data and social media is changing local marketing strategy

Elevating your local status

Hyperlocal marketing is also crucial in Snap Fitness’ quest to bring on new members. The 24/7 fitness franchise has 1,400 locations worldwide and seen its dialogue with consumers change dramatically.

“It used to be a leader board in the front yard or an ad in the newspaper but we all know that’s not the way we interact with prospects anymore,” online marketing manager, Brant Schmitz, said. “We have to make sure we’re online when they’re searching for gyms, health, fitness and diets.

“A lot of our franchisees might be suburban-based, are marketing in one location and within their local community. Our objectives from a corporate level are to make it easier for franchisees to reach their prospects, and add in new vendors.”

To do this, Snap Fitness invested in Balihoo’s automated marketing so franchisees can contact multiple vendors, generate campaigns and access brand information through a single portal. Once franchisees were familiar with it, the company added adding paid search capabilities, which are achieving an ROI of 2:1, Schmitz said.

Direct mail remains a key element, and to ensure franchisees can undertake this task quickly and easily Snap Fitness has set-up a mailing solution within the portal. These activities have a 13: 1 ROI.

Most recently, it rolled out a member engagement program providing automated, triggered emails and customisable templates, member surveys and a members’ dashboard. Overall, these tools allow execution of traditional and digital campaigns at a hyperlocal level and have led to increased franchisee adoption, reductions in campaign costs and better ROI on individual activities, Schmitz said.

Subway VP of global marketing, Jeff Larson, is another marketer balancing the entrepreneurial nature of local managers with the needs of the global brand. He claimed local marketing is about influence, building buy-in, and making sure you have the tools available to make activation as simple as possible for the stores and operators.

Subway’s approach to local marketing is a combination of strategic certainty around the brand’s focus and approach, and tactical flexibility at a local level. “While you have clarity of where you’re trying to get to, you need to flexible in how you get there,” Larson said.

“If you have that strategic certainty you can be more confident that as you think about pulling different levers to drive different parts of your business, you know they’re all pointing in the same direction.”

Subway has developed a playbook for local marketing around the what, why and how of marketing. The digital tool has been distributed to all stores and includes information on the brand as well as terms. This is tied to marketing initiatives and programs and can be updated as frequently as every four weeks.

Balihoo provides a software-as-a-service technology solution for local marketing automation. The company’s CMO, Shane Vaughan, cited a Gartner figure that companies who focus on integrated processes for local marketing enablement will increase revenue 15-20 per cent by 2015. He also pointed out 85 per cent of consumer budgets are spent within 50 miles of their home.

“In our own studies, we see 30 per cent of national brands have implemented some form of local marketing automation platform and a similar figure will deploy a solution this year,” he said.

While local marketing is a clear winner when it works there are a few key roadblocks, Vaughan said. Firstly, brands must realise national strategy does not scale and understand the local objectives. You must also ensure you have sufficient data on your local customers and location that is market facing; enable and control the execution of local campaigns by making it easy for the local marketer; and put simplified measurement and ROI tools in place.

“While no one is jumping to do LSM, when it’s done well it continues to stay in the marketing mix whether we as a company are pushing it or not, adding to long-term customer experience,” Romeo added.

More on marketing automation:

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