Archive for May, 2008

Local Marketing ROI 4x Higher over National Marketing

May 27, 2008

In 2007, auto retailers spent $7.3 billion on direct marketing campaigns driving $248.1 billion in sales, yielding an ROI of $33.81.  During the same period, auto manufacturers spent $8 bilion on direct marketing, driving $77.8 billion in sales, an ROI of $9.68.  Source: Direct Marketing Association

When examining the automotive retailers direct mail, one must ask, “Do the local pieces build brand equity or do they only increase the brand awareness of the retailer?” In most cases, unless there is marketing assistance from a dealer association or the brand, the local retailer is branding all communication for the dealership, irregardless of brand.  While this is not a problem for retailers it does not build any brand equity for the brand and could even dilute the brand.

What does this mean for CMOs and marketers?  CMOs need to take the initiative to invest in local strategies that help retailers to “ring the cash register” while building brand equity.  They can do this by implementing solutions that maintain brand standards and use standardized brand-approved themes while being flexible to be used by local retailers.  This ensures brand-building while retaining the ROI of the local campaigns.

Moreover, CMOs should implement these strategies to build brand equity across all forms of media.  Messages that are unified across all forms of media at the local level are the best for overcoming the media fragmentation that exists.

The ROI is clear – local marketing strategies yield the best results.

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Local Marketing Rings the Cash Register

May 23, 2008

Peter Sachse, CMO of Macy’s, was interviewed in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday regarding how the “My Macy’s” localization initiative will hopefully improve slumping sales at Macy’s. While there has been media focus on Macy’s switch from a “national” focus to a “local” focus, not much attention has been paid to identifying why local strategies work.

First, local strategies build brand equity. As we can learn from Macy’s, customers had a relationship with the “brands” that Macy’s converted to “Macy’s”. With the conversion, the loyalty was dissolved and only now is Macy’s trying to work to build up its local brand equity.

Second, local strategies overcome media fragmentation. Because mass media is losing its sway over the advertising industry, no longer can any advertiser simply look to television or national newspapers for their promotions. National television campaigns featuring celebrities have helped Macy’s not because of the celebrity, but because they see a product advertised and can go to their local store and purchase it. Moreover, the products being advertised are products any person might need regardless of location. These are essentially promotions and NOT brand building. Its these same types of ads that work at local levels to get traffic in the store.

Third, local strategies help retailers avoid cutting prices. In its most recent quarterly reporting, profits and sales were up at the specialty retailer Abercrombie and Fitch because they changed strategies from cutting prices on clothing to keeping prices steady and increasing store traffic through a controlled number of in-store specials. Imagine if store managers had the tools to pick one or two items of merchandise that they could mark down dramatically to get customers into the store and then see a bump in their full price merchandise. This isn’t imaginary, it’s what Sam Walton did when he first started his Wal-Mart chain. He would find a few items of merchandise he could mark down dramatically to get customers in the store where they would invariably purchase other merchandise at the regular price. Because each store’s inventory and market is different, store managers should be able to make these decisions and execute them to drive store traffic and ring the register.

Marketers need to reevaluate what it means to “go local” and no longer view it as trying to personalize an experience for millions of different customers. Going local needs to be about getting the most relevant message in front of a person in the form of media they will respond to. This means local strategies must cross all forms of media, be in coordination with all messages to build brand equity and still retain the local content necessary to be effective.

Learn more about local marketing and why automation tools solve these problems at www.LiveTechnology.com

Agencies Still Don’t Get It

May 23, 2008

In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, the company avVenta was hailed as “reaping the rewards” of advertising agencies shipping work to overseas contractors to meet the demands of large scale production for online ads. As the article notes, “campaigns are labor-intensive to produce.” Why do agencies continue to rely on manual labor when technology can produce the same results for a fraction of the cost of even the cheapest outsourced labor?

With agencies executing campaigns that have display ads, websites, emails, search ads, videos and game with thousands of variations on each, who would rely on manual labor to create hundreds of thousands of versions when computers can create these in hours?

Imagine no longer having to send work halfway around the world and wait for it to be created and shipped back when an agency can keep all their production in house and execute it in hours.

No one would consider handwriting thousands of copies of documents when they can be created on a computer and sent to a high-capacity printer and created in minutes. Why would anyone consider creating hundreds of thousands of versions of any advertising materials by hand when a computer can do it in less time and for less money than even the cheapest manual labor?

LiveTechnology in the Blogosphere

May 5, 2008

LiveTechnology was recently mentioned in the blog of Greg Sterling, the founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence.  Following two posts about LiveAdMaker and local marketing breakdown, a spirited discussion followed about segmentation in the SMB/SME market.

LiveTechnology views businesses as “enterprises”.  This means that we view local businesses as a self-contained entity because the autonomy when controlling its local advertising and marketing.  For example, a Best Buy store may be a part of the national brand, but ultimately has control over local marketing decisions.  Additionally, the Best Buy is a reseller of branded products.  This creates an intertwined web of advertisers and marketers, both at the national and local levels.

To read more about Greg’s impressions of LiveAdMaker and the discussions about segmentation in the SMB/SME market go to:

http://gesterling.wordpress.com/2008/04/25/ill-bet-youve-youve-never-heard-of/

http://gesterling.wordpress.com/2008/05/05/reuvers-responds-to-smb-segmentation/

Read Greg’s blog at: http://gesterling.wordpress.com

Local Newspaper Websites Lead in Local Online Advertising

May 2, 2008

In a report by Borrell Associates, over $2 billion was spent in 2007 by local advertisers on the websites of local newspapers.  This represents a 27% share of the local online advertising market ahead of local yellow pages, television websites and local radio stations.  Local online video advertising is the fastest growing segment with an expected $1.2 billion to be spent in 2008.

Interestingly, a majority of online advertisers at local newspaper websites do not advertise in print editions of the paper.  One explanation for this can be the use of dedicated sales teams to actively solicit advertisers for online.  Unlike other media outlets, newspapers devote two times as many online-only sales people.  This means a salesperson who specializes in online advertising is contacting local businesses to solicit business, not a print salesperson.

What does this mean for local advertisers?  It’s critically important to have a unified strategy to deal with whatever media types are being used.  While a majority of local businesses may only advertise on the newspaper website and not in print, it does not rule out countless other forms of media: radio, television, yellow pages, e-mail, billboard and more.

In order to get the best ROI, creative versioning is essential to coordinating the message the local business wants to present.  90% of local businesses are either branded branches of a national brand or resell national brands – incorporating national brands and themes into local campaigns is critical to capitalizing on the efforts of national brands.