iMedia Connection

How to go hyperlocal on a national scale

With the start of a new year, media buyers everywhere are implementing 2013 campaigns that their media planning counterparts created. Many planners have taken the proven path of looking closely at how each of their client's channels performed during the past year before selecting the right combination for the year ahead.

But when you consider that there has only been a gradual uptick in consumer spending, combined with a constant shift in how Americans consume media, the only thing certain about 2013 is a lot of uncertainty. So, how can media planners prepare their clients for a successful year?

How to go hyperlocal on a national scale

It seems counterintuitive to look back instead of ahead for new strategies that address both shifting media behaviors and an uncertain economy. Traditional media is becoming less effective, especially as consumers turn to social and mobile channels -- including laptops, tablets, and smartphones -- for their media consumption.

However, for every challenge there is an opportunity, and in 2013, it's going to be one that, at first blush, sounds like an oxymoron. But upon further review, it makes all the sense in the world: working hyperlocal tactics into your national marketing strategy.

Hyperlocal at national scale

Hyperlocal is all about effectively targeting consumers at a geo-granular level. In addition, targeting neighborhoods that are in close proximity to store locations is a critical component. And, according to U.S. Census data, 75 percent of consumer spending happens within 15 miles of the home -- a staggering number that supports the case for hyperlocal targeting.

By using this pinpointed targeting approach, brands can eliminate wasteful spending associated with traditional campaigns that rely on blanketed marketing. Consider the millions of ad dollars wasted each year on national campaigns that aren't truly for everyone. Take, for example, the CPG manufacturer that wants to create targeted awareness of its brand for all of its buyers. Not everyone in the country is an intended buyer of the brand; however, it still needs to target a lot of people, but need to be smart about it. Imagine a better, more efficient, and effective way to target existing and prospective customers. A retailer like West Elm, for example, may want to reach a national audience, but does not have a dense footprint like other national retailers, such as Target. West Elm can create targeted campaigns that reach the most likely buyers of its products within an eight-mile radius of all its stores across the country. It still gets the benefit of a national campaign -- driving people to its stores nationally -- with the precision of a hyperlocal approach.

In order to achieve this level of precision, media agencies are turning to "big data" solutions. An effective solution is one that can analyze billions of offline and online data points consumed by neighborhoods across the U.S., such as point-of-sale data and consumption of social media, videos, music, local web pages, and online magazines. The data can be used to score each neighborhood and determine its interests -- perhaps it's neighborhoods across the country with residents most interested in a healthier lifestyle, in the market for a new car, or who currently use your competitor's product. By analyzing the data sets, companies can look at clusters of people who are most likely to be interested in their products or services.

Here are a few tips for incorporating a hyperlocal element into your national campaign plans:

Complement traditional campaigns

In many cases, agencies begin experimenting with hyperlocal approaches by complementing existing client campaigns, such as direct mail or a national TV spot. Assets from these campaigns can easily be reused to target only those most likely purchasers in specific neighborhoods closest to store locations.

Think beyond traditional tactics

While you may be accustomed to targeting a demographic within a specific designated marketing area, it's time to get laser-focused and move your clients' products off the shelves. By leveraging the analysis of billions of offline and online data points, including POS data, you can eliminate wasteful ad spending by focusing on the most likely buyers.

Don't rely on cookies

By using "big data" to gain a true understanding of the interests of individuals living in a particular area, you can target based on interest without relying on cookie-based targeting. According to comScore, only 25 percent of an intended audience is typically found with a cookie-based campaign, making it impossible to achieve the same scale as a campaign based on individual neighborhood interests and preferences.

Hyperlocal digital intelligence presents media professionals with a unique opportunity to promote their clients' brands to the best potential customers. And by including a hyperlocal strategy in their national media plans, buyers are creating cost-effective plans that deliver greater returns -- which is more important than ever in these uncertain times.

Mark Ailsworth is senior director, Western region sales, at MaxPoint Interactive.

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