Over 80% of Big Businesses Lack Local Market Expertise

BY Kathy Crosett
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Big marketers know they have a problem. They must connect with shoppers in local markets in this era of authenticity. But how are they going to do that when they’re working with large agencies or other partners who don’t have their fingers on the pulse of the local markets? The CMO Council took a look at the issue and reported its findings in its new Reshaping Global Engagement Operations report.

Does Centralized Marketing Still Work?

The CMO report found that 82% of marketers don’t believe their local intelligence is as good as it could be. They don’t always understand, for example, how customers in Peoria, IL differ from those in Spokane, WA. Even worse, almost 60% of big marketers think their lack of local market understanding has translated into missed opportunities.

Analysts suspect one contributing factor to this problem is marketing operational structures. Some large marketers (27%) rely on a centralized team. One strength of this model is that decision makers can react quickly to changes in the marketplace. Another 30% work in a decentralized marketing organization where some direction comes from leaders, but local and regional team members develop and deploy campaigns. While team members in this model say they appreciate freedom from corporate politics, they also lack the consistent vision for the organization. In an attempt to optimize the strengths of these two operational structures, about 30% of organizations have developed a hybrid marketing design. They use “centrally developed and orchestrated strategies and locally executed campaigns and initiatives.”

Expected Partner Changes

Despite the focus on operational structures, marketing executives believe some of their missing opportunities in local marketplaces also stems from the outside partners they’re working with. They’ll be scrutinizing these partnerships in the coming months. Most organizations won’t be making immediate changes to the relationships they maintain with outside partners that range from PR firms to media buyers. However, at least 21% want help and will be looking for expertise as follows:

  • Public relations 21%
  • Creative content development for advertising 24%
  • Media buying 21%
  • Live event and experiential engagement 26%
  • Web development 23%

If you’re working with a large brand that’s looking to connect with local consumers, you can sell your digital marketing and media expertise. You may want to start by running a Digital Audit, from AdMall at SalesFuel, so you can show the prospect how they compare to what the competition is doing in the local market.