Brand managers know it by instinct, and the scientists have proved it with data: major brands do better (in awareness, preference, and sales growth) when they activate their brand management at the local level. More than 61% of the top-performing brands say they are investing heavily in local marketing tactics and industry leaders are 5x more likely to have dedicated local marketing support than their peers.
That blend of global voice and local presence is tremendously powerful. But it can also be difficult, time-consuming and expensive to achieve — especially if brand authorities and local marketers aren’t always on the same page.
Based on our work with hundreds of CampaignDrive brands, we've prepared five key ways to help you maximize your local brand management and address the frustrations of local marketers before they get out of control.
- Give Your Local Marketers the Ability to “Pick and Mix”: If you’re launching a brand-wide promotion, and want to maximize engagement at the local level, take the time to create some options for your local marketers to choose from. Even if the pieces are entirely “locked” in terms of content and layout, the simple act of making a choice promotes ownership and engagement.
- Build for the Local Budget: Nothing ticks off a local marketer more than being handed campaign materials that cost an arm and a leg to execute. Be sensitive to their budget constraints and design local marketing templates accordingly. When designing print ads, think about small-space units (quarter pages, even eighths) before the big full-page and double-page spreads. For direct mail, don’t forget about shared-mail sizes, delivered via Valassis, Val-Pak and the like. Always remember that on-premise materials (flyers, counter cards, take ones, etc.,) are often all the support your local marketer will be able to afford. And of course, if you promote local email marketing, make sure to deliver an integrated email and landing page solution. Most local marketers perceive this channel as essentially cost free.
- Tell ‘Em What You're Gonna Tell ‘Em. Another pet peeve we hear from local marketers is that their brands spring promotions on them “out of the blue.” Too often, this is because the brand only thinks about local marketing after a new campaign has already been launched. The brand doesn’t provide any opportunity for franchisees or dealers to offer input beforehand, and they often don’t give local marketers enough time to get ready for the new promotions. How can you avoid this local brand management disconnect? If you’ve got a Local Marketing Council, be sure to use it – and get their support for the campaign. If you keep local marketers in the loop about the new promotions and campaigns you're working on, they'll be excited to get their hands on the latest and greatest as soon as it's ready. And remember that most local marketers need lots of advance notice to execute a campaign, so pave the way with email alerts and “sneak peeks” at least a few weeks in advance.
- Make Sure Payback is not a *itch! If cost reimbursement is a part of your local marketing process, take pains to ensure that it proceeds without a hitch. If the local marketers leverage your templates, offer expedited reimbursement. If you can, take it one step further, with an offer to fund a minimum execution (set print or delivery quantities) with no out-of-pocket expense. The dollars you devote to campaign production will pay themselves back many times over in the form of local marketer loyalty.
- Celebrate Success. Make your local marketers the heroes of each campaign. Get your hands on their individual executions and publish them in a Best Practices Gallery or a Brand Hall of Fame. Use your brand’s social media megaphone to highlight local participation, and if you can feature those executions on your public-facing website, do it. Wherever possible, demonstrate that the brand is owned at the local level – not just at headquarters.
Getting the right mix of local flexibility and central control can be a real challenge for multi-location brands. But if you keep these five tips in mind, you can foster local marketer loyalty and participation that will drive your marketing goals.
If you're curious how top performing brands can improve their local marketing results even more, see how Marriott optimizes their local brand management and coordinates marketing with over 3,000 franchisees.