How to Speak to the Locals

Localized Marketing for QSRs: the Must-Have Marketing Strategy

Not all marketing campaigns speak to your target audience in the same way, it must be localized. And a virtual “cut-and-paste” of your restaurant’s national marketing campaign will no longer be enough. The CMO Council surveyed nearly 300 CMOs in early 2014. Only 7% of CMOs are satisfied with the role local marketing currently plays in their marketing mix, but 59% believe it is critical to success.

Here are five tips to localize your marketing strategy:

1. Know Your Customers

From towns of fishermen & hunters to metropolises with city dwellers and business folk, quick-serve restaurants are known to franchise everywhere. Keeping brand consistency is key, but it’s also necessary to cater to customers locally.

Whether a city is very culturally diverse, or a college town where young adults run amok, know who lives near your franchises and engage them. Host cultural-specialty nights or all-you-can-eat buffet Tuesdays.

2. Know Your Restaurants

It’s the simplest and most fundamental strategy. Do you have an accurate representation of each location’s profile? How many Starbucks are on Manhattan versus in Jackson Hole, Wyoming? What’s the square footage? How do the prices differ? What are consumers at each location buying most? Having a keen eye on store profiles is just the first step in localization marketing. And keeping tabs on this big data will help you because it’s actionable and manageable. Do it yourself, or rely on your expert marketing supplier to capture and present this information in a functional way.

3.  Immerse Your Business into the Local Culture

When you open up a restaurant in a new area, don’t assume the tactics you’ve used before will work in each unique location. Go out and learn about the culture, what the people are like, and how they shop and eat. When you’re local, do as the locals do!

Know where to place multi-language signs, participate in local events and jump in on seasonal trends (e.g. selling patio furniture in January will probably do better in Orlando versus Detroit.) Tailor your marketing, and be creative.

4. Find Your Brand Advocates

In Fast Company’s article about knowing the difference between Fans and Advocates, it’s written that “consumers trust each other more than they trust anyone else,” which proves the importance of your local reputation.

After doing the work to get to know the area, you will eventually find the individuals who are excited about what you’re doing and have influence in the community. Make them your brand advocates. Engage them, share your products with them without expecting anything in return and you will see a lift from your localized marketing efforts.

5. Empower the Field

Local members of the community include your franchise employees – that is, if they live where they work. There is a huge opportunity to use your employees as advocates by inspiring and engaging the locals. Empower them to create unique promotions for their specific locations.

Companies embracing localization recognize and value the fact that their markets are different. Customers feel like their voices are being heard, get excited and want to support you. It’s hard work, there’s lots of data, but once you sort through it, that information will make you far more effective. Localization forces you to put the customer at the center of your marketing strategy.

Your print supplier should be able to help you understand your store profiles and help narrow your focus down to the store-level by auditing your current strategy and providing tips for localization. If not, call Imagine! today!