Although there are an overwhelming number of consumers searching online these days, many local businesses have yet to embrace digital marketing and the significant opportunities this approach offers. Uber’s recent successful infiltration of local markets around the world by partnering with small businesses in the transportation sector and leveraging the latest digital and mobile technologies presents an ideal model and strategy that both product brands and small business owners should consider.
While product brands commit more than $22 million in online co-op advertising funds each year, local small businesses leave around $1 billion of these funds unused. However, this untouched resource offers great potential to brands and local businesses alike. According to IDC, the annual revenue of the average small business is $3.6 million, but for those businesses that have established a strong online marketing presence, this revenue increases to more than $5 billion.
The relationship between product brands and local businesses is evolving rapidly, with Google citing that 50 percent of Americans use local information from an online search in making purchases decisions. Particularly with large purchases (such as appliances, large electronics, and furniture), Google reported that consumers are spending up to 12 hours online researching those purchases to determine which local business can give them the best deal. Thus, leading brands are beginning to recognize the vital role that these businesses play in the local commerce ecosystem.
Basically, brands stand to make millions more by working closely with local partners so that consumers searching for a brand’s products will be able to find them locally. There are several ways brands are approaching this: by synchronizing efforts on messaging with local businesses, by partnering on discounts and promotions, by lending financial support in the form of co-op dollars, and most importantly, by offering the technology infrastructure needed to support successful local digital marketing efforts.
Technology continues to be the key for marketing success, as it can be used to seamlessly connect product brands to local business partners by creating a collaborative vehicle of communication between them. Both brands and local businesses can leverage such technologies as pre-built and fully brand compliant campaigns, program scorecards, turnkey digital promotions, and campaign analytics to drive success.
Morrissey, Brendan. “Why Brands and SMBs Need Each other for Success in Local.” StreetFight: Inside the Business of Hyperlocal. 5/11/15.