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FROM THE BLOG  |  March 6, 2023

Does your Brand Suffer from Local Marketing Mayhem?

Local Marketing Mayhem

What is LMM?

When local marketers such as franchisees, resellers, dealers, and others deviate from established brand standards and strategies in their attempts to boost their own revenues, it can lead to a situation known as Local Marketing Mayhem within multi-location businesses.

Signs of LMM

In House Overload

Signs of in-house agency overload include a high volume of “one-off” requests from franchisees or operators for production and execution support. These requests distract the creative team from larger, more strategic initiatives and cause difficulty managing the relationship between your brand and local outlets.

Pro Tip:

To check if your brand’s communication strategy with franchisees is effective, you can:

Speak with in-house agency leaders and graphic design teams.

Observe the daily actions of the in-house creative team.

If team members frequently mention “putting out fires” or “endless rounds of revision,” it may indicate the presence of in-house agency overload.

Missing the Mark at a local level

It is often difficult for brand HQ to monitor their marketing efforts at the physical location, leading to off-brand executions going unnoticed. Your company should first understand their location by location physical marketing capabilities,  local community, audience, events, and overall local marketing strategy.

After this, ask your field support teams, who visit local stores, to participate in and report on the marketing efforts being carried out by those locations. These can include local online marketing initiatives such as email marketing, social media tactics, and traditional marketing campaigns. This will help the company determine if your brand is consistently upheld across all local marketing efforts and how effective your local marketing really is.

Dissatisfaction Among Local Operators

Local operators often view themselves as a small business supported by the parent brand, even if that may not necessarily be the case. This mentality can cause potential issues with your brand’s execution in its’ local area. Especially when they must compete with other local businesses for an audience.

Conversely, suppose the creative teams actively seek input from local operators during the creative process and welcome their perspectives during campaign review. In that case, it suggests that communication and collaboration between the headquarters and local operators is strong.

It’s crucial for your brand to contact your local operators from different regions and of different sizes to stay informed about changes in the market. This will help you understand any dissatisfaction or lack of engagement. Even if revenue numbers appear to align with expectations, note poor brand activation as it may indicate future revenue problems. Likewise, take note of positive reviews that have made brand activation better.

Disconnected Clients

Disregarding brand management can occur when there is a prolonged disconnect between headquarters and your local operators. This can lead to resentment and hostility on both sides. If your brand management team is not showing interest in understanding the experiences and perspectives of local operators, it may indicate that local marketing mayhem is present.

Conversely, suppose the creative teams actively seek input from local operators during the creative process and welcome their perspectives during the campaign review. In that case, it suggests that communication and collaboration between the headquarters and local operators are strong.

It can be tempting for brand management and creative teams at headquarters to overlook the perspectives and input of local operators. If their suggestions or work have been dismissed in the past, they may choose to proceed with their own ideas to avoid any changes. However, in a world where customers significantly influence a brand, neglecting the input of your local operators can lead to your brand becoming irrelevant.

Budgets are Not Aligned with Brand Goals

If budgets for local marketing production are decreasing, it can indicate issues with local marketing efforts. It can be difficult to link the performance of your local markets to marketing activities, and expensive assets may go unused. Additionally, local operators may voice a lack of support from headquarters, even when efforts have been made to provide support.

As budgets continue to decrease, addressing and solving the issues becomes more challenging, creating a cycle of ongoing difficulties within local marketing. It is crucial that there is budget oversight to ensure that potential customers are not lost.

Causes of LMM

Local Marketing Mayhem typically arises from three main causes:

  1. Lack of defined and enforced brand culture.
  2. Limited visibility of local markets.
  3. Influence of key local operators.

These issues are often caused by human factors, such as neglect of brand guidelines and disregard for visibility tools rather than technology. However, technology can minimize these issues by enforcing brand standards, providing better visibility, and limiting the influence of certain local operators on the marketing strategy.

How to avoid LMM?

To avoid local marketing chaos, it is important you understand the perspective of franchisees. You can do this by gaining insight into their local area, brand awareness, technology skills, and willingness to take on self-service marketing tasks. Understanding your target audience in each region or area helps too, as they can vary widely.

Conducting a survey with a set of questions related to understanding these complexities can help to identify the variety of experience levels and general attitudes of local partners. This will assist in tailoring marketing strategies and materials to better suit your brand’s needs.

Tailor Delivery to their needs

To effectively address local marketing mayhem, it is important to tailor the delivery of materials to the specific needs of your local operators. You can do this by using language that is easy to understand, providing materials in formats that do not require specialized software, and keeping file sizes manageable.

Additionally, it is important to release content promptly and organize it in a way that makes it easy for local operators to find what they need. Lastly, recognizing and rewarding good behavior from local operators can help to increase motivation and improve the overall success of your brand’s local marketing efforts.

How to Know if You’ve Succeeded

A properly functioning local marketing system can reduce Local Marketing Mayhem and increase success. There are three indications that a brand’s communication strategy with local operators is working:

  • Fewer requests for individual resources from local operators.
  • Greater consistency in how the brand is represented across local markets.
  • Local operators are using brand assets more frequently.

These improvements can be tracked and measured by monitoring system adoption, tracking requests, and monitoring the usage of brand assets. If these metrics are not improving, adjusting the system setup may be necessary.

Steps to Empower Local Operators

To effectively combat local marketing chaos and empower local operators, it is important first to evaluate the extent of the problem. Try measuring the number of one-off requests and the resources spent on them. Next, understand the characteristics and needs of your local marketing team in terms of mindset, skillset, and temperament. Then, release brand assets and marketing campaigns in a controlled and timely manner to simplify execution for local operators.

Regularly monitor and track the usage of the system, recognizing and reinforcing proper and effective use of brand assets. Use the insights gained from monitoring to adjust and optimize the delivery of creative materials and demonstrate the ROI for marketing and production efforts.

Let’s Talk

UMI can also help you detect any issues with your brand’s communication strategy with local operators. This can be done through conversations with in-house agency leaders and graphic design teams or by observing the day-to-day activities of the in-house creative team.

With UMI’s help, your brand can avoid Local Marketing Mayhem and stay on ahead of the ever-changing market. Want to find out what else is possible when you partner with UMI? Click here to set up a demo today!