Driving in-store traffic and increasing sales at the local level remains one of the greatest challenges brands across all categories struggle with despite an improving economy and increased consumer spending. Often, the culprit is a disconnect between how success is defined at the national vs. local levels of the organization. Solving the problem begins with understanding the unique obstacles that brands with multiple locations face in driving local sales, beginning with how profitability is determined.
Profitability is the primary goal of any business. Without it, companies can’t remain in business for long. Yet, how brands measure profitability can vary greatly. For example, the profit center for a national brand is the brand itself. If sales are soft or flat in one geographic area, but strong in others, it’s not an urgent problem, as long as overall brand sales and profits remain strong. But this doesn’t hold true for franchise systems where each location is a separate and distinct profit center. While overall sales are important, franchisees are most concerned with sales and profits in their individual locations. That’s why driving local sales, even if the franchise system is national, is imperative.
While few national brands and franchisors would debate the importance of allocating resources to drive local sales, a lack of alignment frequently exists between the centralized resources provided at the national level, and the ability for store operators or franchisees to effectively deploy sales strategies and tactics at the local level. One reason is that national brands have access to marketing resources that retail locations and franchises seldom do, including significant budgets, staffing, and deep marketing expertise. Local retail outlets, on the other hand, have something their national counterparts don’t—direct access to their customers and a deep understanding of their local markets and competitors. Yet, until these national and local attributes are seamlessly aligned and fully leveraged by all parties, it can be difficult to achieve your goals for both new and repeat sales.
While one-off coupons, specials, and promotions can result in an uptick in short-term sales, increasing sales volumes in a sustainable manner over time requires a highly coordinated approach and on-the-ground resources capable of implementing:
- Highly personalized and customized social and digital marketing strategies
- Effective local print and out-of-home advertising
- Email and direct mail, and
- Analytics required that to analyze, measure, and drive location-based, in-store traffic and sales.
However, even for many large national brands, adding the staff resources, sales and marketing expertise, range of technology and other capabilities required to drill-down on a location-by-location basis requires adding layers to the marketing team that may be out-of-scope from a budget perspective. And for individual retail outlets or franchises, hiring and retaining the level of in-house marketing and technical expertise required to bridge the gap is simply cost-prohibitive.
That’s where partnering with a fully-integrated agency that’s well-positioned to drive local sales for your national brand can be a highly effective way to bridge the gap in alignment that’s preventing you from fully leveraging the customer data and resources available at both the national and local levels of your organization. Working with the right full-service agency can not only provide access to the full range of capabilities needed to support and build your national brand while driving local sales, but can help you reduce overall marketing costs and overhead by providing expertise and capabilities in areas such as:
- Local media buying
- Search engine marketing (SEM)
- Creation of customized, local landing pages
- Social media
- Digital marketing
- Local out-of-home/outdoor advertising
- Sales and training support, and more.
Choosing the right partner
Choosing the right partner is critical. Look for an experienced team that can help leverage, complement, and take the strong work you’ve already accomplished to the next level. It’s also important that your partner brings a proven track record in working with multi-location franchisors and national brands; offers the full complement of resources required to develop effective, insightful strategies that drive results; and has extensive expertise in building brands from the ground up and increasing sales on a local basis. Equally important, you want a team that’s not only fun to work with, but brings smart and innovative ideas to the table.
To learn more about how we can help you drive local sales for national brands, give us a call today or read about our capabilities.