With $61 Billion at Stake, How do Brands Effectively “Localize” Themselves?

With $61 Billion at Stake, How do Brands Effectively “Localize” Themselves?

In a recent BIA/Kelsey Blog, the firm forecasts that U.S. ad targeting to local audiences will exceed $61B in 2016. That’s a very impressive number, but how well do brands do at targeting and customizing content at the local level?

According to some of the experts cited in the piece, not very.

So, what’s needed in order to effectively create relevant content and offers, reach customers at-scale “where they live” and measure results? It all starts with local, data-driven knowledge. We’ve identified what we believe are the five key data-driven ingredients for national brands to be successful in local:

1. Know the “personality and makeup” of customers in each market your brand has a presence

Understanding the general personality of local market areas—from hip to suburban, historic to high-brow is a relatively simple place to start, but it’s not enough. You need to know how to speak to individual customers living in those markets, by knowing what’s important to them, what they’re passionate about, what they’ll respond to. How do you do that? By anonymously gathering real-world insights based on the local events and activities they attend and the places they go in their daily lives.

2. Develop messaging and creative that appeals to customers’ emotions and values

Armed with an understanding of your local customers’ behaviors, interests and affinities, brands can develop messaging that impacts them on a personal level—whether it be appealing to their sense of self image, their passion for healthy living or their need for social interaction and having fun.

3. Reach them when it matters most—to both you and your customers

From addressable TV, digital Out-of-Home, to mobile Web/App and beacons, new adtech media solutions have emerged that are especially impactful at delivering personalized messages at the local level. Testing and optimization are key to determining the right mix of media to use, from ad-targeting while customers are at home, to proximity-based targeting while customers are out-and-about every day.

4. Find scale

We’re all familiar with the term “spray and pray,” when it comes to media buying and targeting at the regional or national level. However with local, the term is a non-starter. Put simply, there’s often not enough audience volume to move the needle.

So how do you get scale? Two ways. First and most importantly, reach and target your own 1st party app users, anonymously gathering data on the local events they attend and places they go, so you know what they’re interested in and will respond to. Second, with audience extension, reach “like” local audiences that have the same interests as your own loyal customers, to get scale and to attract app downloads from these predisposed customers. Audience extension is available from several sources, including traditional media companies’ digital assets (radio, TV, newspapers), as well as new media channels such as DMPs/DSPs, app exchanges, addressable TV and OTT providers.

5. Measure path to purchase

Both time and location play important roles in determining how well your local ad targeting is doing at driving results. It’s critical therefore, to establish discrete campaign targeting time-cadences up-front; from first-exposure through foot traffic lift to conversion, whether each campaign begins with targeting at home, or proximity-based targeting via digital billboards, app-push notifications, email or in-store beacon messaging.

Its great news that a whopping $61 billion plus will be invested by national brands on local targeting. But “know before you go.” Gathering conclusive, data-driven local customer knowledge and putting it to work with relevant messaging, well-timed targeting, optimized scale and integrated measurement will position brands to win in local targeting, and reinforce brand loyalty to boot.