2014 Will Be the Year That Large Retailers and Franchises Wake Up to the ROI of Local Internet Marketing

Note: This post first appeared on LocalVox.com.

By 2015, companies that focus on integrated processes for local marketing will increase revenue 10-15% (Gartner).  That means that if you are in charge of driving in-store sales, you better have budget allocated for local Internet marketing in 2014.

The Gartner statistic is a reflection of two current trends:

  1. The power of local marketing with massive consumer adoption – Mobile data is doubling every year.  Local is an increasing amount of mobile searches. Local Internet marketing is how you reach consumers.  That’s why 88% of businesses who conducted localized national campaigns said it was their competitive advantage (CMO Council).
  2. Most large retailers have not optimized local marketing, creating a low bar to get ahead of the competition – 70% of Google Places pages are still unclaimed let alone optimized. Over half of business listings have errors or omissions on them.   It’s not hard to beat the competition.

And so we are seeing the beginnings of a massive shift in marketing dollars as large brick and mortar brands and franchise marketing professionals start realizing the effectiveness in spending digital marketing dollars to generate in-store sales.  We think 2014 will be the year that big brands truly adopt local online marketing beyond Pay-Per-Click (PPC).   In fact, studies have shown that local SEO is 16-20x more cost effective than pay per click in industries as varied as auto and pizza delivery.


88% of marketers who ran localized versions of national campaigns said that it was a competitive advantage (CMO Council). The question in large organizations is what is the return on investment and who is responsible for it.

Creating a Local Marketing ROI

One challenge for multi-unit retailers is creating an ROI without an infrastructure to track marketing efforts to sales at the register (POS).  Couponing and bar code mgmt requires training to the store level, hardware, networks and can only be implemented across some channels (no direct Yelp coupon support for example).

In the end, the question is whether you believe in local marketing for the native metrics outside of direct sales.   And you should.   Let’s look at some numbers.


Local Search ROI

There are 7.5 billion local searches per month.  87% of local mobile searches result in a call or visit within 24 hours.   Think about how many physical transactions are determined by local search!   Yet 70% of Google Places pages are still unclaimed, over half of directory listings have errors and most multi-unit retailers haven’t updated their site to optimize for local SEO, rather than traditional SEO.  (Read more on how to dominate on local search).

Local Social Media ROI

LocalVox studies have shown that most brands could increase their social media reach by 10-20% by claiming, optimizing and messaging through location pages on Facebook.   What would you pay for a 10-20% increase in social media reach?  And since 11% of local searches occur on Facebook, getting those likes up means you are helping local search too!

And what about your social reputation?  Studies show that a half star difference can increase the chance a restaurant is full by 63% (UK Guardian) and a full star increase can increase revenue 5-9% (Harvard Business Review.)  Instead, right now, national brands miss 86% of local consumer feedback on social networks.  Ouch.


Mobile Marketing ROI

Only 11% of marketers are seeing positive ROI in mobile advertising because buying mobile banners that drive traffic to unoptimized landing experiences have lower conversion rates. Not a surprise.

But mobile coupons have 10x the redemption rate of traditional coupons and we are seeing very good cost per acquisition (CPAs) for opt in emails using them. And mobile has a high level of intent.  Furthermore, Borrell estimates the 88% of local advertising will be delivered to a mobile device by 2016.    2014 better be the year you start figuring out how to do mobile marketing well.


Bridging the Organizational Responsibility Gap


The problem that many large, multi-unit  retailers face is that their teams are often split up between the eCommerce group and the in-store sales group (this of course only applies to those selling goods online).  Local Internet marketing requires the skill sets of the former but affect the P&L of the latter.

We explore this “gap” in our a whitepaper “Who Owns Local Marketing? Examining the Franchisor Franchisee Marketing Gap.”  It’s worth a read for any multi-unit retailer or large organization struggling to adopt local marketing as a practice area despite the compelling business case.

In the end, the adversarial dynamics between eCommerce and physical retail need to be eliminated.  Because local marketing affects in-store sales, local marketing should be driven by those groups responsible for physical sales with a dedicated effort that may or may not be supported by the eCommerce group.

Either way, it’s clear that those in charge of in-store revenue and profitability need to understand the opportunities they can take advantage of, especially now with both explosive growth and a low bar to create differentiated results.

If you are looking for a free local marketing audit,contact us.   You need to grasp at least where you currently stand to understand the opportunity.

52% of marketers agree that comprehensive brand campaign automation could strengthen ties between the head office and local customer-facing resources and touch points (Tweet this stat).

Are you ready for 2014?