Steve Goodman Featured

8:27pm EDT April 30, 2011
Steve Goodman

Marketing executives are stretching their dollars in new and creative ways, from utilizing social media to investing time and resources in the latest technology. Budgets are being reassessed for effectiveness and impact. Never before has ROI been so top-of-mind. That is why hyper-local marketing makes perfect sense for today’s businesses that are looking for ways to more directly impact customers.

Hyper-local marketing has been around for a long time — and though there are new ways of activating it, the concept remains the same: Focus on a well-defined, community-related area, concentrate on the concerns of the residents, and highlight the businesses in a limited radius. Small is better — you can tailor your message and achieve far better results than making a generic pitch to anyone who might hear, read or see it. Here’s why it works.

First and foremost, the national or regional approach no longer provides the proverbial bang for the buck. In today’s fickle marketplace, these methods are considered too widespread and, thus, become a “throw it against the wall to see if something sticks” game. How do you solve this? Narrow the focus, find the end user that will find your information valuable, and go there.

Targeted marketing is the precursor to establishing personal relationships. When working in such a limited geographical location, the consumer response will likely develop into real business relationships. In a small town, people know each other and are happy to do business with someone they know. That same theory holds true in a larger city, when the hyper-local element pares it down to manageable units.

Additionally, convenience is a huge factor in decision-making. Marketers are well-advised to access the dedication that Americans have to convenience. We may criticize the younger generation’s lack of knowledge of geography — and laugh at its inability to find Kuwait on a map — but today’s youth know where the local Aeropostale store is. In fact, all generations have a keen sense of their own neighborhood. From the bank and the florist to the doctor and accountant, community geography becomes second nature. This is why hyper-local marketing is effective — it is tapping into a knowledge base that virtually everyone has.

The Internet has tried to convince us that we are a global economy, and in many ways, this is true. But food shopping, going to the dentist, buying a birthday cake and meeting for coffee are still major parts of family life. Those activities rely on proximity, and proximity is the essence of hyper-local marketing. More than 80 percent of business transactions occur within a 15-mile radius of the consumer. This statistic lends tremendous credibility to the benefits of hyper-local marketing.

The key to hyper-local marketing is identifying the segment you want to approach. Once identified, create a message that is meaningful to the largest sector within this segment. There will be one group that stands out — whether it is an age group, such as a senior citizens community, an ethnic or religious base, or even a group with a common occupation (think Silicon Valley).

As an added benefit, hyper-local marketing begets word-of-mouth. People often recommend a vendor, business owner, shop, artisan or professional to someone in their neighborhood. Simple proximity indicates a number of factors — convenience to the center of town, the same weather, similar school systems and so on. If an individual had a good experience, he or she is likely to share the information with someone else who may benefit from that experience and want to duplicate it.

Like any message or marketing strategy, nothing works perfectly without perseverance. However, hyper-local marketing does work if you deliver the message, and stick with it. Though by its very nature it proves a more limited audience, it also offers unlimited potential.

Steve Goodman is the president and COO of Welcome Wagon International. The company utilizes the strategic benefits of hyper-local marketing in more than 1,600 markets across the nation. Reach him at (800) 779-3526 or steve.goodman@welcomewagon.com.