Although the title of this post typically would apply to patronizing boutique mom-and-pop retail store locations and farms, I am going to apply it to a world I deal with daily: advertising media.
I work mostlyÂ with the advertising ofÂ national luxury retail brands inÂ digital, print and event sponsorships. These brandsÂ target the fashion savvy, affluent, educated and classy in a given geographic region. Not to be a traitor to the national media agencies of the world (Leo, earmuffs), and this has NOTHING to do with the creative side of the house, but when a brand is trying to reach a particular regional market, here is my advice: invest in a media planning team who is LOCAL to the region whereÂ you are buyingÂ the media. Â Oh, and while I have your attention: QUIT CUTTING REGIONAL BUDGETS!
It makes sense if you think about it. Which I do. All. The Time.Â
Why? Because when you hire a NYC/SF based media agency, 95% of the time, the person planning the media is only looking at demos, numbers, stats and $ (basically a spreadsheet) and has NEVER actually been to the city. They don’t have an emotional understanding of the people. It makes for a very frustrating call forÂ me, the regional media. Â That team wants to spread the money nationally-Â ignoring the small unique markets that make this country a pretty wonderful place.Â Â This causes the regional locations of those retail establishments to lose that local support.
Sales go down, people lose jobs, corporate is forced to “rearrange” internal staff. Boo.
Not to state the obvious here, but each city and state is unique. The people have different styles to which they enjoy their information, surfÂ the internet, spend their money, speak (hello, Baaahston), share loyalties, spend free time, politically hang their proverbial hat, and pay attention to advertising.
Now, this is notwithstanding the benefit to hiringÂ a national agency: the relationships with the mediaÂ that are utilized to get better rates. If an agency spends $100mil with NBC and they have a new advertiser, who doesn’t quite have the budget of a McDonald’s, the media agency will be able to leverage the $100mil spend in order to cut a deal with NBC.
I have been on more phone calls with media planners, who have no idea how to pronounce the location of where the store is…nor have they been to Boston to see the store, yet they can tell me that one spot is better than another. Right. How can a brand, who is spending 15% on top of my rates, be confident in the decision that planner has made? Seems silly to me.
I am not saying pull national advertising, nor am I saying fire your big planning agencies for that matter, but what I am saying is be a bit more creative with budgets of every size. Put some in the national hat and put some in the regional hats to where you’d like to show support (i.e. where you have retail locations). Â This not only creates jobs (no, I am not running for office here) in the local markets, soÂ everyone who wants to work in media planning doesn’t haveÂ to move to the big cities, but it’s smart. Perhaps the big agencies couldÂ create more small regional offices for aÂ win/win scenario: You have the relationships and the local insight.
Remember this, planners of the world: Regional media is here to help retail locations grow their business, not annoy you with sales calls. We actually wantÂ the advertising to work for the brand. If you don’t win, we don’t win. Oh, and when sales grow, YOU look good too. Just saying.
If you want “local” media planning, invest in the locals.