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How Local Business Can Succeed with Digital Marketing in a Post-Pandemic World


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Local businesses have lagged behind their larger brethren in moving to digital marketing, but digital became a lifeline during the pandemic when many traditional forms of marketing were no longer available. McKinsey reported that the percentage of products and services that are partially or fully digitized (in North America) increased from 34% in May 2018, to 60% in July 2020, the equivalent of a 6-year acceleration of digital transformation in a matter of months.

Larger brands that have dedicated resources and teams have embraced digital and have seen the positive revenue impacts. But smaller businesses, and the local offices and representatives of national brands, have not adopted digital marketing at anywhere near the same rate, and are being left behind as a result. Effectively using digital marketing is a massive opportunity for local businesses.

Why are Local Businesses Struggling with Effective Digital Marketing?

Effective digital marketing can be challenging to execute for local businesses due to its complexities, lack of inputs and data, time requirements, and expertise necessary to run sophisticated programs that drive ROI. Many businesses don’t have one or more of these ingredients on their own. Two commonalities that I see holding local marketers back are:

  1. Online marketing is complex and constantly changing . Many local businesses lack the experience and time to keep up with the changing digital landscape. At the National Association of Realtors Annual conference in San Francisco in 2018, Facebook reported that only about 3.5% of local businesses use Facebook Ads to target their customer lists. While this number has grown in the last couple years, a vast majority of local businesses are still not using digital marketing, and of those that are, many have only dipped their toes in the water. Digital marketing takes time to learn and to execute, and local businesses don’t have the time to become experts, nor the resources to hire advanced ad agencies to run their programs.
  2. Aligning local messaging with national messaging at scale is nearly impossible without the right technology. Equipping hundreds or thousands of local offices and representatives with national messaging that remains on brand while being easily localized can’t be done without technology. The national brand wants to empower their locations but can also be concerned about messaging staying consistent and compliant.

The good news is, with the right partnerships and technology, local marketers can achieve the same impactful results from digital marketing that larger brands have been enjoying for years.

The Solution for Local Businesses – Collaborative Marketing

To solve the challenges listed above, local and SMBs need collaborative marketing.

Collaborative marketing brings together a sponsoring partner (for example, a national marketing team or CRM provider) and a participating partner (for example, a local office or agent). By using shared audience data, creative assets, messaging, and co-op budgets, local businesses are able to easily and efficiently execute digital marketing programs that drive real results that neither party could accomplish on their own.

The sponsoring partner benefits by enabling local partners to drive demand with their own digital marketing budgets and campaigns that stay on message and maintain compliance. The local partner gets access to sophisticated marketing programs that are simple to customize, localize and execute. And, because of technology, all of this can be done at scale and in a fraction of the time it would otherwise take.

Evocalize’s Collaborative Marketing Platform (CMP) coordinates the execution of marketing programs that use shared assets (audience data, creative, messaging, co-op budgets) between sponsoring and participating partners to drive real results and revenue for businesses. Using the CMP, the sponsoring partner enables participants with simple tools so they can activate high-performing marketing programs that are compliant and drive impressive results.

Local businesses with smaller marketing budgets and limited time can benefit from working with partners who have the expertise and data needed for successful marketing. By working with the right partners, local businesses can finally leverage the massive power of digital marketing to grow their business and achieve their goals.

Written by Matthew Marx.

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