When you think about the marketing landscape and tactics that have been implemented in the past three to five years, there are clear trends that can’t be ignored: Mobile-first experiences trump the desktop, leveraging social proof causes audiences to engage more, referral networks provide an opportunity to leverage existing relationships, and so on.

Each of these new ways of thinking about marketing and positioning are great ways to reignite the flames in your efforts — but more often than not, marketers, brand reps and marketing consultants are forgetting one glaringly obvious trend that is not going away: locally targeted marketing.

Locally targeted marketing is an opportunity unlike any other and while it might take a bit more work to scale, there are clear indicators about how it works compared to blanket, national marketing campaigns. Real estate professionals across the industry are doing this more and more by dominating their local markets with highly relevant content that anyone in the area can benefit from. And it’s working.

To frame your thinking around locally targeted marketing, I’ve summarized three key benefits of “going local” and how your business might benefit from investing in it.

Benefit 1: A more refined audience

When you focus on a smaller geographic spread, marketers receive a clearer picture of the influence their audiences might respond to. Buyers in Chicago respond differently to those in Northern Kentucky and there’s a reason why — they live completely different lives and are motivated/influenced by drastically different messaging, content and emotional queues.

As a marketer, understanding the triggers that your audiences respond to is extremely important. While there are benefits to branding and positioning on a national scale, focusing specifically on certain markets can result in more engagement and conversion. The reason why those local audiences convert more? Your messaging is more relevant to them. Almost every time.

Take the time to refine your audience and better understand things like: What’s the average income? What is the average number of household members? What geographic implications does the area have? What fields of work does this area mostly represent?

Benefit 2: Controlling the narrative

In today’s marketing environment marketers leverage storytelling to entice audiences to engage and create emotional buy-in. This is a powerful method of clearly stating what your brand does without a dry “sales pitch” or call to action. Storytelling works — that’s why so many marketers implement it in every campaign they launch.

The challenge with storytelling is that often times the story can be diluted because it’s trying to tell too general of a story. This doesn’t mean that big brands or small businesses cannot think on a larger scale, providing a higher level narrative. But it does mean that there are clear benefits of refining that message (or story) to a local level and audience.

Understanding your audiences and controlling your narrative are crucial to campaign success. Try refining your story and applying it to a more targeted audience. Glean insights from market data, social triggers and use your human intuition to try to appeal to a local market. You might find that you’re getting more return on those smaller, shorter, more targeted campaigns than you are at the higher level spend and audience size.

Benefit 3: Smaller Spend | More Results

There are hundreds of brands that use specific markets as a way to test new products, messaging and approaches to their marketing efforts. Though the spend is significantly smaller, highly targeted campaigns allow for proof of concept before scaling and going “all in.”

The benefits of this approach are significant.

The net value of the campaigns will likely not be near what you would get from a larger spend, but I would argue that the overall customer acquisition cost is noticeably more efficient. And because you spent less money and proved/disproved your concept, you walk away as a smarter marketer with more data to support your future efforts (and a little more cash in the bank.)

It’s easy to get distracted by the latest marketing trends. There are clearly new opportunities and methods that marketers can use that present themselves every day and it’s difficult to figure out where to invest your time and energy.

In 2016, consider approaching more targeted, local marketing efforts. They afford you the opportunity to refine your message, control your narrative and spend less, all while learning more from a distinctly specific audience.

What marketing tactics are you leveraging currently? Are there any changes to your strategy you plan on implementing in the next 12 months? Let me know in the comments.

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