Brand Automation for Local Activation, a report from the CMO Council, a global network of chief marketers, found that 59% of the 296 executives it surveyed believed that local marketing efforts were essential to driving growth and profits. However, just 7% felt they already had effective campaigns in place.
A common failing was the time gap between the launch of a national campaign and its local roll out, with 30% of marketers reporting delays of 30 days or more.
Just 3% were able to execute a campaign immediately while 6% could do so within one to three days.
Among the issues the report identified were a lack of bandwidth and resources. Just 6% of respondents were able to utilise automated solutions that could be accessed by all local markets.
Carhartt, the clothing brand, has adopted flexible strategies that can meet the needs of 8,000 retailers in North America and Europe, while at the same time maintaining a watch on brand compliance.
"We've invested a great deal over the past couple of years into upgrading the tools we provide our local-level partners and retailers, as well as working to make them simpler to understand and use," said Tony Ambroza, vice president of marketing, Carhartt.
Another problem was that many customer touchpoints being leveraged in local strategies were in fact national ones such as corporate websites or social media feeds.
"Having a local online presence improves discoverability for us," observed David Buckley, CMO of Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores. The company also has a Facebook page for each store, where "local owners can really own that relationship locally and are encouraged to interact on Facebook to build relationships with their local customers," Buckley added.
The report also found that 30% of marketers planned to invest in automation to better deliver a unified experience between corporate and local assets. A majority of those who already do so believed that being able to deploy local and national campaigns simultaneously gave them a competitive advantage.
"When you get all of the marketing engine working together and saying the same things across all platforms, that's when local marketing really makes a big difference," said Michelle Bowman, director of marketing promotions at FedEx.
Data sourced from CMO Council; additional content by Warc staff