LIL 2013: Marketers Focus on National-Local Opportunities, Challenges

The power of localized national marketing was explored in multiple ways during an all star session today at Leading in Local: The National Impact, a conference taking place in Boston March 18-20.

Speakers included Yodle CEO Court Cunningham, LivingSocial SVP Mitch Spolan, Cars.com VP Mike Page and Mobile Marketing Association CEO Greg Stuart. The session was part of a broader National Local Superforum that took up the bulk of the afternoon.

Panelists noted that national marketers spend locally via coop spending, localized promotions, retargeted ads and other means, and they also support local businesses by providing centralized expertise and technical support.

Yodle’s Cunningham, leading off, noted that 1/3 of Yodle’s business comes from national dollars. Companies like his are positioned to get even more, but he notes that there is also a tension and a dialogue between national companies and their local operations or franchises. “How important the brand umbrella is in the scheme of things is a great question,” he said.

Cars.com’s Page said that the site is getting significant co-op dollars, with 3,000 dealers participating. “There is a co-op first approach with new products for dealers,” he said. The site is also creating a compliance program for car makers who don’t provide direct co-op support, with an average spend of $400 co-op compliance dollars allocated per car.

Online reputation management is also prioritized by the car makers, with GM the first to mandate that dealers using them. Mobile is especially helpful. Page noted that online reviews are 184 percent more likely to be read on mobile devices than on desktops.

Living Social’s Mitch Spolan, meanwhile, says that his company leverages the companies large scale in 619 markets and 19 countries to bring brands to life via custom experiences. The company can email millions of people on a geographic basis, such as a targeted message for residents of Buckhead. Indeed, brands ranging from Ford to Mike’s Hard Lemonade have worked with Living Social to create such experiences.

Mike’s Hard Lemonade, for instance, created a localized “Adult Camp” promotion. HBO created a Whisky Tasting promotion for its Boardwalk Empire prohibition era drama. “People want to experience HBO locally,” he said.

“We ask: what’s the problem and how do you solve it? Sometime it is in form of deal,” Spolan noted. “But it isn’t always.” Moreover, the implications for brand marketers are enormous. Living Social is ” changing the time that purchase decisions are made.,” he added. And the deals “are prepaid. It is not a coupon. It is someone saying I am going to shop with you.”

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