GMS Local, an initiative from GroupM focused on local search and local digital strategies, recently conducted a survey of national marketing executives (mostly in the retail sector) about their localization strategies and tactics. The survey was fielded in September and November 2011. What the agency found was considerable enthusiasm for local-digital marketing. Yet there was also a surprising lack of sophistication in many of their tactics.
GMS Local found that most of the respondents spent more on local vs. national advertising and more generally on digital than traditional media marketing:
- 70 percent of marketers surveyed said they spend greater than the national average (60 percent) of their advertising budgets on local vs. national initiatives.
- 70 percent of marketers surveyed answered that they spend greater than the national average (25 percent) of their local advertising budget on digital media.
- 83 percent of marketers surveyed expect their local online spending increases to be more than the projected national growth (25 percent) over the next three years.
However, the agency observed, “There is a large gap between the perception marketers have of their local position and the reality of what they actually implement.” For example, large numbers of respondents failed to actively manage their locations’ listings and a substantial minority failed to use local paid search.
To their surprise, GMS Local concluded that there were some very basic local tactics that these national brands were failing to utilize:
With as many as 45% of survey respondents not invested in directories (e.g., yp.com and superpages.com), nor actively managing their business listings (e.g., Google Places, Bing and Local.com), and not employing the relatively standard practice of running geo-modified paid search, this exposes the need for education about the fundamentals of local online advertising and opportunities for national brands to connect with consumers at the local level.
Insufficient funding, a lack of education or just plain ignorance were the factors behind the flawed national-local approaches according to the survey. You can read the full report here.