Local is everything. While smaller businesses may have no choice but to follow this mantra, big companies should also focus on the benefits of local marketing rather than being cynical towards local branding and what it can achieve for their business. For instance, as CMO Whisperer Steve Olenski notes, many overseas retailers have struggled in Asia. The reason was their inability to understand the local market. In other words, they neglected local marketing and paid the price.
Unless a business is offering something unique, such as an iPhone, consumers will prefer to buy whatever they need locally. Speaking of the overseas market such as Asia, even though they have high car ownership rates, they like to shop close to home. Jumbled traffic and parking problems encourage them to simply walk to a neighborhood store instead of heading out to an urban center.
With personalized locations and messaging for a local audience, big companies can make even a distant brand feel an integral part of a community. Large companies, regardless of their location, need to prioritize local comprehension and communication to maintain a competitive edge. Companies that fail to do that, will be forced to leave.
A good example of a company that does this remarkably well is Red Bull. Although it is a multi-national company headquartered in Austria, most people simply assume it’s a local brand. The company has a successful track record of sponsoring local athletes. Moreover, they have perfected the art of tapping into local pride. They do it by promoting popular sports in the overseas local markets they target. This is not simply a matter of celebrity endorsements; it is connecting intimately with the passions of a local market. This is local marketing at its best.
Done right, local marketing helps drive word of mouth as well. You hardly have to do any work to convince a potential buyer when a friend refers them to your product or service. It is difficult to drive word of mouth if you are neglecting local marketing. Successful companies, no matter how big they get, don’t look down on word of mouth as a “small business thing.” On the contrary, it is a product of effective local marketing, helping even the biggest companies in the world stay relevant for their customers.
As Forbes Dallas Business Council puts it, becoming a household names requires a business to build relationships with local residents. You need to let people see your connection to an area, to a community. The council also outlines several local marketing initiatives that big businesses can use, but often end up ignoring.
Local marketing continues to be effective and relevant because it inherently focuses on the unique needs of target markets. This makes it something that will continue to be important, even for big companies. You always, always need to understand what your consumers are thinking and saying. And local marketing is an excellent way to do just that.
Fatima Mansoor is a writer at Aepiphanni, a small business operations and strategy consultancy that exists to help small business owners CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses. She specializes in business & entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and health & fitness. Her focus is on creating compelling web content for small and medium businesses form diverse industries. She mostly writes for entrepreneurs and marketing agencies across the US, Australia and UK.
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