Balihoo Highlights How Local Marketers are Driving the New Economy

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Online, Social Media and Hyperlocal Trends Redefining Customer Engagement

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Economic challenges continue to confront businesses of every size, including the local marketing efforts of small businesses, franchisees and independent resellers. Balihoo, the premier provider of Local Marketing Automation technology and services to national brands with local marketing needs, has unique insights into local marketing trends, including the shifting focus driven by the economic realities facing businesses today. Their work to provide solutions to clients -- including more than 30,000 local affiliates with more than $180 billion in annual revenue -- means that they are on top of the local marketing trends.

Here are the top seven ways the economy has impacted local marketing:

  • Local marketers under pressure to be more creative and sophisticated: In addition to running all aspects of their operations, local business owners often lead marketing efforts. With limited time, continued media fragmentation, an increasing number of channels to reach customers and ongoing competitive pressures, this role requires more dedication and savvy than ever before. Local marketers must seek opportunities to gain in-depth knowledge of existing and potential customers, what channels they use and which offers will drive optimal traffic and conversion.
  • ROI more front of mind than ever: Combining the considerable time demands of running a business with the increased ability to track Marketing efforts, local marketers are focusing on the tactics that provide the most tangible results. The better the tracking, the more inclined they are to use the channel.
  • Local marketers now outspend national brands on advertising: According to BIA/Kelsey, the total annual advertising spend in the United States is $235 billion, with 55% of that number ($130 billion) spent at the local level. Local businesses are more willing to spend money to make money in this economy but are also keenly aware of every expense, what it means to the bottom line and whether it moves the needle.
  • Online presence is a key focus - from Web to SEO to targeted advertising: The majority of online searches continue to be local - another recent BIA/Kelsey Group study indicates 97% of consumers use the Internet to research local products or services. Local marketers are seizing these opportunities to refine their Web presence, improve SEO and ensure their business is easily found on Google, Citysearch, Yelp, and other relevant channels with localized components. Online and social media ads are also common tactics that offer valuable tools to measure their advertising efforts.
  • Social media offers considerable value, time investment: The emergence of social media has leveled the playing field, giving small businesses unprecedented marketing opportunities to interact directly with current and prospective customers. The Small Business Success Index notes that small business adoption of social media has doubled since 2009, with one in five small business owners actively using these channels. While cost is minimal to nonexistent, half of the Small Business Success Index respondents noted that social media was more time-intensive than anticipated.
  • Location-based services/marketing gaining popularity: Driven in no small part by the continued growth of smartphones, FourSquare, Gowalla and Loopt are gaining popularity and usage by large and small businesses alike. These location-based services give small businesses more insight and data about customer behavior, with considerable opportunities to package both proximity and customized deals into a winning proposition for their target audience.
  • Traditional media is still on the radar, but with a hyperlocal twist: Despite the considerable growth and focus in both online and social media channels, local marketers still dedicate more than 40% of their advertising dollars to newspaper, TV and radio but even these relationships are evolving. While local newspaper advertising has been rapidly declining, online newspaper advertising has been expanding. Publications that serve rural areas or are focused on hyper-local news also reach a more targeted local audience that local businesses are tapping into. Additionally, small businesses are viewing cable television as a more appealing option than larger networks to reach a more refined, segmented audience and to stretch their advertising dollar.

For information on setting up your organization to capitalize on these trends, download Balihoo's Local Marketing Automation Whitepape r or Enabling Effective Local Co-op Marketing Whitepaper.

About Balihoo
Balihoo (http://www.balihoo.com) is the premier provider of Local Marketing Automation technology and services to national brands with local marketing needs. Balihoo brings enterprise-class marketing to the local level and gives national brands full visibility into all local marketing activities and results.

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Shane Vaughan
Balihoo
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