BIA/Kelsey forecasts digital advertising/marketing to grow to about 25 percent of the local ad spending pie next year. This growth puts companies on the hook to develop integrated marketing strategies that connect the entire purchase funnel to drive revenue, a very difficult task.
On Wednesday, Nov. 14th, BIA/Kelsey and Balihoo held a Webinar on this very topic, delving into local revenue opportunities to help attendees examine the question, are you missing your share? The discussion focused on how national brands can develop aggressive yet sound budgets and sales plans for the competitive local environment. After recent forecast data were showcased, case studies then demonstrated how brands can successfully use local market ad data and enterprise-class marketing to maximize local marketing spend and ROI.
During the Webinar, speakers Jed Williams, BIA/Kelsey, and Shane Vaughan, Balihoo, answered many questions from the audience, but time ran out before they could get to them all and there were some terrific questions. In the remainder of this blog, we answer several more to provide more insights and data that we believe you’ll find valuable. We plan to continue this discussion and look forward to more conversations with everyone. Let me know what you think or if you have more questions you want us to answer.
Answers from BIA/Kelsey:
Q: How should SMBs relate mobile apps to mobile websites? If the importance of the mobile web is the location-based and click-to-call, then is there any reason to move directly to mobile apps on native operating systems?
For the SMB marketplace, our core belief is that a mobile strategy begins with a mobile-optimized website. Even an optimized landing page can be a viable start and can integrate well with mobile advertising and marketing campaigns. As much as 75% of smartphone users perform mobile-local searches. So, for SMBs, it’s all about discovery, and that begins with mobile-optimized presence.
That’s not to say that local search and discovery aren’t happening in-app, because they are. Often, however, in-app local search activity is a “verticalized” experience (Yelp specifically for restaurants, Angie’s List for service providers, etc.). The starting point here for SMBs is to make sure that they’re listed correctly, creating engaging content and interacting with the community in those apps that are closely aligned with their business.
Shane adds: Apps are great for consumers you already know – but a challenge to “capture demand” from people that may not know you exist. In most cases, brands need local websites to help their brand/store “be found” by both new and existing consumers using search engines.
Q: Can you relate to the effects of local marketing on SMBs, which are not necessarily national brands?
On one hand, the challenges for SMBs are more acute, as they often don’t have marketing departments and large budgets to experiment with digital marketing channels. They must be resourceful about where they make investments.
On the other, SMBs are actually positioned advantageously in some ways compared to national brands to execute effective local marketing strategy. They have a familiar local brand and an established community to market to, where as national-local enterprises can struggle to personalize their brand at the individual store/customer level. In addition, brands must worry about consistency across the company footprint, corporate compliance, administrative controls and other variables that SMBs are largely immune to.
Moreover, owned and earned media channels such as social media and e-mail marketing have further leveled the playing field. Rather than competing with large brands to place big-budget advertising and marketing buys, SMBs now control direct touch points with their audience. We call this “democratizing” digital marketing.
Answers from Balihoo:
Q: There’s a lot of talk about SMB loyalty programs. How valuable are these? Should we think about mobile app experiences?
Loyalty programs are a great way to increase sales. As discussed during the Webinar, it is much cheaper to sell to an existing customer than to a new customer. And, there is no question that apps are an important part of loyalty programs. The challenge is that to be truly useful, they need to be fairly sophisticated and provide good value to the consumer – a difficult challenge for the typical SMB.
Q: Slide 7 shows local blogs as a growth area for local marketing among national brands, was that implying that national brands would own or run local blogs or just advertise on local blogs?
When consumers are engaging with local blogs, they are typically wanting to develop a relationship with their LOCAL dealer/representative. As such, it is important that the local marketer/store/rep be actively involved. The national brand can assist with funding the blog/technology and can provide solid national content, but ultimately it must be “owned” by the local affiliate. A good rule of thumb is that 60% of the content should be local and 40% can be national.
Q: Can you address some specifics of online chat with SMBs?
Online chat is difficult to generalize across SMBs because of the variety of business models. Naturally, the more online-focused the business is, the more online chat is relevant.