The interesting thing about Local Store Marketing (LSM) is that it’s even more relevant with today’s technological advancements. Technology is often best used when it’s a complement to a traditional form of marketing.
The emphasis in that last statement is on “complement”. In today’s world of mobile apps and chatbots, some franchisees feel that they can rely on mobile apps and national advertising to do all of their marketing for them. After all, they are often contributing a significant amount to a national marketing fund! Why would they need to create an LSM plan? Other franchisees are responsible for all aspects of creating a marketing plan for their individual locations, from grand openings to awareness building to promotional messaging. They know that they need LSM, but they are often perplexed as to what tactics should be used to achieve their objectives or how much they should spend to market their locations.
I want to share what I consider to be the NEW Universal Truths about Local Store Marketing. These are truths that are extremely relevant today, and they are exhibited in large global organizations, in smaller regional chains, and in start-ups alike.
Truth #1: Everyone Needs LSM
Why? Because direct customer relationships build loyalty, which results in success. No matter how much money is spent at the national or regional level, you MUST create true loyalty through direct contact with your customers. Mobile apps don’t create a relationship—they convey information. Television ads help to create a national brand image that customers expect to see when they visit their hometown location. It’s LSM that delivers on those messages. Customers will go out of their way to patronize businesses that they appreciate. Only through direct LSM will you and your employees create that bond that will keep your customers coming back again and again.
Truth #2: LSM is a Balance of 3 Key Things
There are three key components to all successful LSM plans: Promotion, Experience, and Community.
Promotion is price and variety related.
Experience is a fun, enjoyable environment with genuine Interactions.
Community is local engagement and presence with potential customers.
Your LSM plans should be a balance of all three components. Some activities will provide short-term returns, while others will result in mid or long-term returns on investment. I call this your Customer Investment Portfolio. To ensure that you have a healthy, robust portfolio, you want to maintain a balance of all three components.
Truth #3: Marketing is no longer an Art, it’s now a Science
For years marketing was more of a tapestry of tactics, driven by experience and “best guess results”. Data has changed all of this. Used appropriately, technology can drive sales at the individual local level. Artificial Intelligence allows technology to get smarter over time and know exactly what’s needed to drive success at your location. You can now depend on science and not on doing what has worked for the operator down the street. You are most likely operating a multi-million-dollar business while wearing a lot of hats — from Equipment Repair to HR Director, to Groundskeeper. And, you are most likely not a trained Marketer, so let the science and technology do the work for you. This will free up some of your time to focus on other key areas of your business.
Truth #4: A Small, Smart Investment Can Have Big Returns
LSM has the power to build your brand, your business, and your sales and transactions. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on LSM, if you take a more targeted and strategic approach you can be much more cost-effective and have a major impact. Technology can bring you that smarter, more efficient approach. Technology can do the “leg-work” for you and with today’s machine learning capabilities, the right system will get smarter and smarter over time—bringing you expertise that grows to support and build your business.
Truth #5 Always Assign a Designated Hitter and Give Them an Awesome Bat to Hit With
You wouldn’t dream of running your business without a manager or without someone assigned to ring in your customer’s orders, or without someone assigned to clean your location at close. Likewise, you need to assign someone who will be held accountable for implementing your marketing efforts at your location. It’s important for this person to have the proper tools and resources to effectively implement your marketing plan. Today’s technology world gives you the “bat” you need to organize, scale, strategically plan, optimize, measure and drive your marketing results with. Make sure your team is delivering at the point of customer contact, and make sure that you’ve provided your team with the resources needed to properly create and implement your plans.
Where Do You Start with Your LSM Plan?
I’ve spent my entire career working with the local franchise world—helping them to create LSM plans tailored to their locations. And now, this expertise and strategic thinking are available to all franchisees.
HubKonnect is the world’s first Machine Learning Local Store Marketing platform. HubKonnect creates customized LSM plans, based on key trading area data points that are constantly fed into our continuously learning AI Brain. You set your objectives and time periods, and the AI creates a marketing plan that is specifically targeted to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in your individual trading area, at that specific point in time.