Today we are constantly told that we are more connected than ever before. If Lady Gaga drops from the roof of the Super Bowl stadium, we experience it in real time and the reverberations of the butterfly effect are ongoing.
And yet, despite feeling that we are becoming ever more globalised, the trend towards hyperlocal marketing has never been stronger. Recently at OTB we wrote about how data can be used to drive location-based marketing, and how the likes of Spotify have crafted an attention-grabbing campaign based on local insights.
But what actually is hyperlocal marketing? Is it only about targeting consumers based on their geographical location, or could it mean so much more for your strategy?
What is hyperlocal marketing?
Like all good ideas, the term ‘hyperlocal marketing’ has become something of a buzzword, with countless commentators and strategists weighing in on the debate.
At a pared back level, the Oxford English Dictionary defines hyperlocal as ‘relating to or focusing on matters concerning a small community or geographical area.’ What is interesting here is that, though most would be able to give the definition of hyperlocality as pertaining to geography, perhaps fewer would think that this can also be applied to a specific community, thereby implying that though the group may share commonalities, they are not necessarily geographically connected.
In marketing terms, this nuance is important. Two years ago The Guardian wrote an article entitled ‘Location, location, location: the rise of hyper-local marketing’, in which it was argued that new technology meant marketers could offer in-store push notifications, link loyalty programmes to location and promote future events based on previous travel habits. As the example of Spotify demonstrates, two years on location-based marketing is still both popular and useful to brands.
Communities not locations
Yet, though it is possible to find many examples of articles exploring the link between mobile-location data and hyperlocal marketing, rather less is said about how marketers can connect with a community.
One such exception is an article written by Marketing Week back in November by contributor Erika Clegg. Clegg argued that with customers so accustomed to consuming technology and adverts, and therefore highly alert to inauthentic and shallow sales attempts, a ‘deeper and more personalised understanding of people’s lives’ is necessary for brands to make a meaningful connection.
Clegg suggests that focusing on community-based interactions has been linked to increased trust in a brand, a useful insight that can be highly important for those seeking to stand out from the surrounding noise. It is also pointed out that, from a marketer’s perspective, focusing on a targeted community campaign can in fact be a method of risk limitation -it allows targeted research to be carried out, and clear aims to be pursued in a direct, measurable manner.
How can you implement hyper-localisation in the community sphere?
Though it is worth noting that such a community focused campaign is perhaps not the route to choose if you’re looking for maximum reach and exposure, the value of a carefully crafted campaign aimed at a specific demographic should not be underrated.
For Clegg, ‘many of the most transformative transactions, whether they are commercial or behavioural, take place within hard-to-reach groups throughout the spectrum, which are again far more accessible through genuine community understanding than any other means.’
One such way to implement this strategy is to capitalise upon the popularity of influencer marketing. Though often thought about in the social media context, this could extend to anything from direct mail campaigns to in-person appearances at local venues and events.
Although mainly focused on hyperlocal marketing in the geographical sense, Forbes contributor Steve Olenski’s notion that ‘a consumer’s community is the center of his or her world, and brands must identify what matters most within this network and align their marketing efforts accordingly’ is sound advice. He argues that research absolutely must be at the heart of your campaign, and finding influencers and messages that resonate is key to maintaining trust.
With such a wealth of data available to marketers and demographics being receptive to hyper-localisation, integrating this community focused approach into your strategy should be high on your priority list for 2017.