National Brands Report Disconnect Between Local Digital Tactics’ Perceived and Actual Prioritization

February 3, 2014

Balihoo-Disconnect-National-Brands-Local-Marketing-Priorities-Feb2014More than 8 in 10 national brands expect to increase or maintain their local marketing spend this year, though the percentage planning an increase is down from last year (34% vs. 47%), per study results [download page] from Balihoo. The report finds some major disconnects between what marketers consider to be important local digital tactics and the amount of emphasis that brands are placing on the tactics.

For example, while 77% of marketers believe that email should be a “very important or essential” element of their local marketing efforts, only 38% of brands report prioritizing email to that degree. That result actually represented the smallest disparity between perceived and actual importance; some larger ones were for:

  • Local websites (76% believing they should be “very important or essential” against 22% prioritizing them as such);
  • SEO for local sites (71% vs. 18%); and
  • Social media (78% vs. 25%).

That’s not to say that brands aren’t using those tactics – a majority are employing each – but rather that they are not getting the priority marketers believe they deserve.

Interestingly, despite the high levels of importance placed on the digital tactics listed in the survey, each was determined to have more important to national brand strategy than to local brand strategy. That was particularly the case for websites, which 94% reported to be “important or essential” at the national level versus 76% assigning them that importance at the local level.

Other Findings:

  • 9 in 10 national brands surveyed report executing at least one digital tactic at the local level.
  • Less than 5% of respondents said that traditional media such as radio, newspaper and outdoor advertising are “essential” to their brand’s local marketing. (There was no mention of TV in the survey.)
  • 63% of respondents that currently execute some kind of local marketing are able to measure and report ROI on some or most of their local marketing campaigns. Larger brands ($500M+) are ahead of smaller brands on this measure (67% vs. 60%).
  • About 8 in 10 brands feel that they are slightly (41%) or very (38%) effective at capturing customer demand and directing them to a local place to purchase. Larger brands are again more confident than smaller brands in their ability to do so (86% vs. 69%).
  • Brands report a near-equal split in the execution of their local marketing between channel partners (27%), single agency or vendor (22%), multiple agencies or vendors (28%) and national corporate efforts (23%).

About the Data: This study was fielded via email surveys distributed October 1 – December 1, 2013. Results are based on 185 completed responses from individual companies. Respondents met the criteria of marketing professionals, companies based in North America.

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