07 Mar Why Marketers Must Harness Local Expertise
Glocalisation isn’t a new trend for big business. It has existed since the ‘80s, and HSBC have been expounding the virtues of being “the world’s local bank” for years. But when it comes to marketing, executives and agencies are occasionally guilty of focusing on the big picture, at the expense of local opportunities and idiosyncrasies.
In some ways, it’s an essential part of the job. Marketing budgets must be planned in advance to ensure that key dates on the marketing calendar can be hit, and that the brand is present at the year’s essential events.
However, if keeping your finger on the pulse of national and global events is taking every ounce of your business nous, there’s an untapped resource that can help lighten the load: local managers.
Tapping into local knowledge
Whatever your corporate structure, creating a feedback loop for your representatives on the ground is an excellent way to ensure you know about the events that matter to the people in each of your operating areas.
Our sister brand’s Freshers Festival is an excellent example of this. Having received hugely positive feedback from local representatives of big brands like Benefit Cosmetics, and yet many other organisation have seen their ambition to return to the following year’s festival quashed by higher ups in distant offices.
Crushing initiative in this way isn’t just bad for morale, it’s bad for business. Unlocking local knowledge has much wider benefits for organisations, in particular opening the communication lines to discover useful local information.
For example, how many student accommodation providers realise that Glasgow rooms fill up much later than most UK cities? The universities open at roughly the same time as others across the UK, yet every year it seems to be the case that they fill that little bit slower. It’s a cultural quirk that locally run halls of residence know about, but we’ve heard from lots of larger organisations spooked by slow bookings.
Empower local managers to react to these trends, and you’ll be surprised what else you can discover.
The next question is, what’s the best way to unlock this potential in your talent pool? There are two broad approaches we think can work…
Reactive marketing. Leave some slack in the budget, and make sure managers know it’s for them. Open channels are always better than closed ones, and making managers responsible for justifying their requests can be a useful safeguard for your spending.
Introducing formal duties. We believe that going one step further and empowering managers to make intelligent marketing decision is an even better step. Not only are you training them to identify the right opportunity for your business, you’re bringing them into your core values, making sure that they’re tapped into your business DNA.
Embrace the power of local knowledge and you show you care about where you operate. A gesture that applies equally to managers as to customers. It also binds your local representatives to their community, helping to forge strong connections that will serve your business well in the long run.
Thoughts? Share them below or over on LinkedIn.