Targeting customers for local marketing initiatives

Maintaining a “local” focus on marketing communications can be extremely effective in order to create a sense of community and belonging, as well as drive in-store traffic to physical store locations. Many organizations, especially retailers, often send messages about store openings or store closings, but a “local” focus needs to go beyond these basic logistical announcements and focus more on the customer experience.

Consider your purchase preferences

Organizations should consider how their customers prefer to shop for their products/services. Depending on the situation, it could make sense to rely on more broad communication, but some contexts might require a regionalized or localized tone. When purchases require a high level of physical involvement from the customer (i.e., the customer generally expects an in-person interaction with the product and sales associate), more “local” communications may be necessary to drive traffic from online to in-store.  For example, when purchasing luxury accessories, jewelry, a car or a house, most consumers feel more comfortable having a face-to-face discussion with a sales representative. There are also products and services, such as fine food or fragrances, with inherent characteristics that require touching, feeling or smelling the product before making a purchase, at least for the first conversion.

How to identify local customers

Whether you sell groceries, homes or luxury products, or just simply want to increase traffic to your local stores and branches, relying on external data to gain insight into your audience profile is an efficient way to identify and segment an audience for local marketing initiatives. Indeed, some customers prefer shopping in a store and some need or request a physical interaction. Brands should make sure they address these customer needs and expectations.

To achieve better understanding, Experian Mosaic® USA data has identified a group of U.S. customers that share these “in-person purchase” behaviors. It has been determined that in trying to communicate with them, brands must understand the motivations and triggers behind their purchasing decisions.

Some characteristics of the group are listed below: 

• Live for the day attitude – This segment behaves based on the attitude that “tomorrow may never come.”

• Independent – They live and make decisions about their lives on their own.

• Mobility – These customers are in a constant state of motion, always “on-the-go” physically and psychologically.

• Necessity shopper when it comes to non-recreational or fashion spending – They buy what they need, putting a lot of rationale in their decision.

• Masculine palette – These buyers exhibit male-oriented actions and behaviors.

• Peer comparison – They like to be considered “just one of the guys.”

• Mainstream views – They are followers and they tend to agree with mainstream opinions.

• Regional focus versus national or worldly focus – They value local products and stories, as they focus on the world that is concretely around them.

By communicating in a way that resonates with these customers, you can influence their purchasing decisions. For example, with this particular segment, the majority seems to respond to communications that demonstrate a fair value using a straightforward, logical approach. No frills are necessary, and generics and store brands are appreciated. Also, they are persuaded by peer/user comparisons and testimonials.

Additional ways to identify local segments

  • Capture the physical address of a customer/subscriber and attach a store to each record based on the street, city information and ZIP CodeTM.
  • Although utilizing a city or ZIP Code may be logical, it may be more accurate to have your customers select their local (or favorite) store themselves from a drop down menu on your registration or purchase pages.
  • Consider using in-store purchase data to identify the actual number of transactions or amount spent by each customer to determine which store they shop at most.
  • Test whether demographics, declarative or behavioral data are relevant factors in determining local store locations.
  • Instantaneously and automatically find on-the-go customers within a defined geographical area utilizing mobile, geo-fencing tactics, based on the GPS enablement of the device. Note that a specific permission is required to be able to target these mobile clients.

In a future post, I will cover what type of local content should be leveraged and how brands can effectively communicate locally across various channels.