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2018: The One Marketing Trend That Matters

And so it begins… the influx of posts that discuss what to expect and what to focus on in 2018. AR, AI, digital, mobile, social, video, story-telling are all the buzz words that circulate in our emails each and every day. But, think about. It really boils down to one core focus that every marketer needs to maintain.

Speak directly to your audience.

We know the golden rules, but does everyone follow them?
• Target your audience.
• Use content that resonates
• Engage the audience though relevant media
• Make the content accessible where they are, when they want it
• Deliver an authentic experience

Blah, blah, blah. Nothing we don’t know, right?

Here’s the thing… Hyper-targeted media strategies are widely used across digital platforms, but marketers must not forget that magazine media is still a critical way to engage your target audience. And—geo-targeting is a critical way to personalize that experience. Why not speak to the people who matter most? Whether a national company with a local initiative or a regional company looking to engage their prospective customers, geo-targeting is the game changer.

Brand marketers are going far beyond just helping consumers find where to go locally to enjoy their favorite brands. The bar now is set to where brands need to “feel more local” to consumers to drive higher favorability and engagement. According to recent research, about half of national brand marketing executives expect the ROI of local marketing expenditures to be higher than that of a national campaign (Ballyhoo and Gatepoint Research). This number has been growing. Even the simple localization campaign element of informing consumers where they can go locally to purchase their products is deemed “very important or critical” by two-thirds of these marketing executives.

National brand marketers and agencies used to invest more in understanding the benefits of localized marketing but have moved away from these practices.

BIA/Kelsey’s Maribeth Papuga, former executive vice president of local activation at MediaVest, argues: “Local literacy skills are in steep decline among marketers and agencies. Consumers have a growing sense of localism, and marketers need to key into this in their campaigns to achieve a level of genuineness. They fail to do so at their peril.”

One of the reasons that national marketers moved out of local is the cost and complexity of managing local activations at scale. But recent technologies and workflows have dramatically increased the efficiencies and effectiveness of localized marketing.

THE GOOD NEWS is that the marketplace has a wide array of media inventory that can be localized even in channels like national magazine titles. Advances in data management platforms, programmatic exchanges, and ad operations workflows allow national brands to do local at scale to reach customized audience segments.

As brands seek to bridge online and offline experiences with omni-channel strategies and unify the brand experience in all consumer touchpoints, the new localism we have been discussing can help differentiate and deepen the brand experience for consumers. When executed correctly, local activations by brands can drive stronger results in brand KPIs.

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