It’s a great question. And if you’ve ever met the We Are Acuity team you might wonder why we’re all so excited and passionate about the difference it can make. But the real question is ‘Why not local marketing?’ You see things haven’t always been this way.
Trading, or the exchange of goods and services, has existed almost as long as civilisation has. People produced ‘stuff’ and they needed to sell it. Other people needed ‘stuff’ and they bought it from the people who produced it. These exchanges generally took place locally, and people generally knew who to trade with.
This buying and selling developed into the trades, and traders became experts in their fields whether plying goods or services. At the market or on the high street, for most daily transactions it was easy to find the expertise you needed locally. Of course choice was limited, seasonal and very much localised but it was also centred around people who were experts.
In the 18th century the industrial revolution arrived. Suddenly the production of goods and related services became centralised and removed from their local markets. Communities began to lose touch with some of these experts as they gravitated to the places of mass production. Local expertise became regional expertise and it’s ‘ownership’ moved away from the people to the businesses. The shift had begun…
In the early years choice improved greatly but scarcity still prevailed meaning that as long as people could afford the product and service it would sell out. This was known as the ‘Production Orientated Era’ where marketing really only had to focus on getting the price right.
From the start of the 20th century competition grew rapidly in all areas. As production techniques and expertise improved, price alone was no longer enough to sell the increasing volumes. Markets became crowded and marketing as a discipline had to shift to focus much more on selling. Brands now developed becoming the experts in their fields, going head to head against each other, communicating, advertising and generally persuading customers that that their goods and services were better than the others. This was known as the ‘Sales Orientated Era’.
By the 1960’s all markets were saturated meaning that competition for customers was more intense than ever. There were winners and losers, and now the biggest Brands began to shift from being regional to national, or even multinational. Marketing had evolved further becoming central to business operations. Instead of having to deal with selling the output of the business, it began to strategically influence what was produced, how it was priced, where it was sold and how it should be communicated on a national level. This was known as the ‘Marketing Orientated Era’.
So that takes us to where we are today, for the majority of brands. From production, to sales, to marketing orientations, it’s been a process that’s evolved to aggressively reduce costs, centralise, consolidate, streamline and standardise. Admittedly it’s also brought enormous efficiencies, increased reach, as well as maximising profits and shareholder wealth but at what cost?
The reality is that for the majority it has also moved brands further away from their customers, it’s distanced people from the expertise they want and has taken the human element away from the sale. It’s a well known fact that customer advocacy tends to be more common amongst local businesses. The national press is despairingly full of stories of big brands homogenising our high streets and towns and how they have stolen our magic as ‘a nation of shopkeepers’.
So is it all over? Of course not. It’s often quoted that brands are national but customers are local. And we at We Are Acuity believe that is still very much the case. We believe that we now have the opportunity of moving into the ‘Local Orientated Era’ for the following reasons:
- New technologies have meant that the systems and tools to enable hyper-local marketing are readily available, easy to manage and cost effective.
- These empower your central marketing teams to plan and execute meaningful and engaging marketing campaigns across your distributed networks, from franchises to sales outlets nationally and even globally.
- Leveraging the knowledge that exists in your sales or franchise networks maximises local relevance, whilst you help them to improve brand consistency, speed to market and provide significant cost savings. It’s never been easier.
- You can deliver best practice principles for existing and emerging channels, including those utilising mobile and smart phone technologies making it easier than ever to serve relevant, timely and local content directly to the right customers bringing them ever closer to your brand.
- The availability of more data than ever provides granular insights not only into your customers, but also greater levels of measurability enabling a better understanding of what is and isn’t working for them.
All of these advances bring the opportunity to place your brand and your people back at the centre of the local conversation where they rightfully belong and #savelocalbusiness .
If your business sells or operates through local partners - retailers, venues, dealers, franchisees, agents, etc, and you'd like to know if you're really maximising the power of local marketing, we've created '10 questions to ask your Marketing Agency' that will really help.
You can find it here: https://www.weareacuity.com/10-questions-you-might-want-to-ask-your-agency
Or if you'd like to read more about Local Marketing have a look at our blog page "Local Thinking': https://www.weareacuity.com/local-thinking-our-blog
Or get in touch with us today to learn about growing your local business. You can book a FREE 30 minute chat here.