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In a joint project BIA/Kelsey just completed with MediaMax resulting in the ebook, The Win of Going Local and a forthcoming webinar on the same topic, we took a hard look at BIA/Kelsey’s forecast for ad spend targeting local audiences through 2021. In the chart below, our data show that national brand marketers are both the biggest and fastest growing of the three types of marketers we compared. With a forecast $60.9 billion of ad spend by 2020, the millions and millions of SMBs certainly invest heavily in advertising their primarily local businesses to local audiences. But it is the group of national brand marketers that steal the real headline here. We looked at what’s behind this strong commitment to local investment and activation.

National Brands-Local Activation Forecast

Bottom line, we think data-driven audience planning and buying enabled by adtech and martech have become powerful forces allowing national marketers to both see the relevance of local and location signals . . . and to act on these insights with local audience activations.

National marketers want to differentiate and become more relevant to consumer lifestyles and values. In many product and service categories, driving higher consumer engagement is amplifed by using local and location targeting signals mapped to media audiences. Targeting people in the context of where they live, work, shop and spend most of their time leads to higher engagement in brand campaigns.  Developments in underlying tech, standards and integrations among consumer data, measurement, adtech and martech  companies are critical to this evolution.

As we’re seeing in the retail space, consumers are shopping differently and developing different brand associations. Big retail malls are challenged by e-commerce channels like the Amazon. Brand associations once tied at the local level to these kinds of curated shopping experiences are being disrupted. So brands are rethinking their local strategies and they seem to be putting their media spend where their imaginations, and the data science, say that spend should be. Getting closer to local.

National brands are rediscovering that localizing their campaigns allows them to deliver offers and creative messaging to their target segments with greater precision and higher return on investment than through national campaigns alone. Today’s consumers have a greater sense of their local communities and expect brands to be more aware of whom they are before they engage further with those brands. Marketers are designing marketing to embrace local consumers in both online and offline touchpoints by melding traditional media like print magazines with digital activations.

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