A Look into SOCi’s 2020 Virtual SOCi Summit

 

Earlier this month, SOCi hosted its third annual SOCi Summit. To keep all attendees safe, this year’s Summit was virtual. Throughout the half-day event, we had great conversations that included leading multi-location marketers, solutions experts, and analysts. If you weren’t able to attend the live event, you could find all of the recordings here. We’ll dive into a couple of the different panels from the event within this blog and share some of the most crucial localized marketing takeaways.

 

Modernizing Multi-Location Marketing 

 

To kick-off the event, we heard from Collin Colburn, Senior Analyst at Forrester, who explained why it’s essential as a multi-location marketer to modernize your localized marketing efforts. Colburn explains that the age of the customer has changed. The real competitive advantage today is around customer obsession. Customer obsession means your business is thinking about the customer in all forms, not just in marketing. Your multi-location businesses need to embrace a customer-centric mind frame to succeed in localized marketing. 

 

 

To start building your customer-centric business plan, your business must make the customer the center of your entire operating model. As multi-location marketers, we all know who our target audiences are, so we must lead our marketing efforts and decision making around that targeted audience. Once you define your target audiences, you can then use insights to inform your strategy. For instance, data from The Localized Marketing Imperative, a Forrester study commissioned by SOCi, found that 86 percent of customers increasingly look for local business information from search and social properties. Eighty-four percent of customers say what they see on those search and social properties influence their buying decision as well. If your multi-location business doesn’t have a presence on local search and social platforms, you could be missing out on significant opportunities.

 

 

Customers expect local information. Forrester’s previously mentioned study found that 61 percent of marketers studied weren’t tapping into a localized marketing opportunity. If your business is utilizing localized marketing to its fullest potential, you’ll have a leg up on the competition. If you don’t already have a comprehensive localized marketing strategy developed, that’s an excellent place to start. When getting started, it’s essential to clearly define the roles corporate and local businesses will play to limit confusion and frustration. Once you have this figured out, you can begin to localize your customer interactions and ultimately win more sales. 

 

Collin had many incredible takeaways – be sure to catch the whole session, here

 

The Journey to a Successful Localized Marketing Strategy for Brands

 

 

After our Collin Colburn wrapped, we had two breakout panels. One featuring industry-leading marketers for brands, and the other with property management experts. The brand panel was made up of several different localized marketing experts whose industries range from retail to food and beverage to health and fitness. The purpose of this panel was to get insights from these experts about what works and doesn’t work for their multi-location businesses when it comes to localized marketing. 

 

All three of our panelists use a hybrid approach to localized marketing, which means that both the local teams and corporate play a role in marketing efforts. Christian Bettencourt, the director of digital marketing at Anytime Fitness and Self Esteem Brands, explains that Anytime Fitness found success using the hybrid model by putting many tools and processes in place to help franchisees. Anytime Fitness also produced monthly marketing toolkits with different marketing resources that local business locations could leverage. Similarly, Gary Drummond, manager at Ace Hardware, explained that they found success using a hybrid model by having a clearly defined corporate strategy and a strategy in place for franchisees. 

 

One of the important localized marketing strategies that were discussed amongst the panelists was the importance of technology and responding to reviews promptly. Kayla Dillon, a director of marketing at Bar Louie, explained that the more engaged local business owners are, the better the company’s engagement. Kayla mentioned that the more engaged that business owners are, the more they respond to reviews on local search and social platforms, which increases both traffic and sales. Are your local business owners currently engaged in your multi-location business’s localized marketing efforts? 

 

Once you’re able to build a robust localized marketing strategy, it’s crucial to measure its success. Success can be measured by how many local business owners are engaging at the local level, and it can be measured by how this is impacting your business. Christian Bettencourt explains that Anytime Fitness looks at leads and how the company is positively driving their ROI. Regardless of how your multi-location business measures success, it’s essential to have something in place before you get started, so you can determine whether or not your efforts are effective. 

 

To wrap up the panel, each panelist gave a piece of advice for multi-location marketers. Most of the advice aligned and emphasized the need for multi-location businesses to take the time to set up the localized marketing tools that are going to help your business and have the most impact. They also noted that it’s important to look at tools that are going to add value to your business. Whether it’s through chatbots, responding to reviews, or posting locally on social media, you need to find what produces the best results for your business. 

 

We couldn’t cover all the amazing insights from these multi-location brand marketers, so check out the recording here

 

The Journey to a Successful Localized Marketing Strategy for Properties 

 

The property panel was similar to the brand panel in that it was made up of several multi-family marketing experts who shared their experiences in localized marketing. To kick things off, each of the panelists explained their approaches to localized marketing. Like the brand panel, each of the property management companies that were represented utilizes the hybrid model. For Jodi Mott, Digital Marketing Strategist for Pinnacle, this hybrid model has a baseline layer of strategy at the corporate level and includes input from the local level. Tina Miserendino, the Director of Marketing and Branding at Waterton, explained that to help their local social media efforts, Waterton appoints a social media ambassador at each of their locations. This person is in charge of taking photographs around the local property and sharing them on social media. 

 

Localized content is more important now than ever before. Data from our Q3 2020 State of Multi-Location Marketing Report found that localized content performs 12x better than non-localized content. Strategies like Tina’s at Waterton are a great way to ensure that your property management company is sharing engaging content at the local level. 

 

When it comes to technology for managing their local social and other aspects of their localized marketing efforts, all three panelists utilize SOCi. Becca Hallisey, US Strategic Property Marketing Manager at Greystar, explains that SOCi has helped her property management company streamline its localized marketing efforts and automate a lot of what would typically be the hard work. For instance, Greystar uses SOCi to manage its local listings and ensure they’re up to date, along with other pieces of its localized marketing efforts. Tina explains that SOCi has also empowered its local property managers to get involved, which is a critical component of building a robust localized marketing strategy. 

 

Similar to the brand panel, all of our property panelists encouraged implementing tactics to measure success. At the end of the panel, they also emphasized the importance of testing. Each property manager said it’s important to test what works for your property management company and get creative when it comes to communicating with consumers. If your property management company can market to residents in a creative way, it will help you stand out from the competition and ultimately drive more sales. 

 

As you can see, SOCi Summit provided a lot of insightful information for multi-location marketers to use in their localized marketing efforts. If your multi-location business is interested in taking its localized marketing efforts to the next level, SOCi can help. SOCi is the central command for multi-location marketers and the all-in-one platform for your localized marketing needs. For more information on how SOCi can help your business beat the competition, request a demo today. 

 

 

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localized marketing to the next level.