Take it to the Local Level

In local marketing, there is tremendous risk trying to be all things to all customers.  From product to price to promotion, marketers are pressured to produce profit from every ad dollar. Local advertisers find themselves in a competitive jungle, battling for every sale, trying to win every customer.  The danger (risk) is unintentionally sliding from unique to common, subsequently finding your business in the grey of ordinary…a place some can survive, but few can thrive.  The absolutes of a successful brand include well differentiated, relevant, understood and perhaps most importantly…defensible.   Very often, local marketers try to sell too big of a story to too large of a customer base.  When they do this, it adds pressure operationally, limits focus and impacts customer experience.  To maximize ad spend, build brand strength locally and improve customer experience, marketers need to “feed their strengths and defend their promise”. 

Most successful concepts were built around a really good product.  And built around that really good product was an operational system that allows the brand to consistently deliver that really good product…really good.  In other words, they are able to deliver on their promise, which is absolutely critical to sustained financial success.  What customers want more than anything is for you to do what you said you would do.  They want you to deliver on your promise.  The problem comes when you don’t deliver on that promise, you reap both short and long term consequences which get magnified and multiplied.  The thing you want least as a marketer is to disappoint a customer.   Losing sight of core product priority is common.  The pressure to be all things to all customers forces marketers to add products, promote secondary messages or offer commodity vs premium pricing.  Instead of feeding their strengths, they feed their competitive anxiety, chasing products, offers and price points.  When this happens, operators get frustrated, margins get reduced and customer experiences become ordinary. 

Successful businesses live in a very deep and narrow channel.  They succeed because they understand what they’re good at, what their customers expect and what they are able to deliver on.  They don’t get distracted by trends, bells or whistles.  They stay focused on the things they can control and tirelessly value customer satisfaction over any other measure.  In other words, they feed their strengths and defend their promise. 

So the next time the stray voice in the marketing meeting suggests we need to do what the competitor is doing, or our price point isn’t the same, or we need to add something to our product mix, listen to the voice of experience in your head that says…let’s stay focused on what we do best and do it best.  You can’t be all things to all customers so don’t try and be.  Feed your strengths and defend your promise.