Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Local really means relevant

For our first post let's start with our basic belief and the very underpinnings of this blog - There is no local marketing anymore, it is all about relevance, fact and putting your marketing/info where it is convenient for your customers to get, which may or may not be geographically relative.

I can hear it already, "You are insane, everything is local" to that, I answer "Insane ...Maybe" but let’s talk about the word 'local'. Local in marketing has become the catch all for small business marketing or for the national brands who want to convey they have a ‘local’ presence. The problem is that too many marketers want the word local to mean your customers in a specific location or region - and with the advent of the web, that just does not work any more. Local really means relevance.

Here is an example to consider. For myself, a local restaurant is anywhere in the region of NYC to Philly since I am somewhere in and between these two metros a lot. Whereas for my mom, a local restaurant is within 5 miles of her home, because there are at least 50 restaurants to choose from and more importantly, she is happy with those that are in her comfort zone – the key word being “comfort”. Comfort meaning relevance.

So this may sound like something generational. So lets look at it another way. I love bread and have a great bakery within 2 miles of my home. My mom on the other hand really loves bread, maybe too much some times, and she is willing to drive 30 miles to get a loaf of Italian semolina brick oven-baked bread. Ok, she may be crazy, but to her 30 miles is worth it for a great loaf of her favorite bread because that is important to her. Important meaning relevance.

Therein lies the issue how do we market if what was marketing is being constantly undermined and shredded - with no regard of its past success - it is being replaced with a new paradigm. So it is the challenge of marketers for the next few decades to figure how & where to get their marketing/info to people for whom it is either relevant or could be persuaded to think it is relevant. Unfortunately the persuasion is where most marketers will feel more comfortable yet will also have the most trouble with as marketing is flipped upside down and turned inside out. Persuasion will become more difficult since the analysis of matrices on the average person alone, could blow your brain up and fry a Cray. Trying to fit a person into a demographic stereotype and then into a pigeon-hole of relevance will be very difficult.

So the marketing quants will take a back seat to creativity, human intervention and most important genuine fact while technology takes the driver’s seat. Alas creative marketing, knowing your market intimately, and instinct will be needed to survive/thrive and rise above the plethora of noise; yet they will be challenged with the new paradigm in marketing – the convergence of technology, relevance and the ever changing consumer who is not nearly as quantifiable or locatable as they once were in the golden age of marketing.

Consumers are more informed, have more choices and frankly are less likely to believe what they are being fed. They are restless, bored, less trusting and under whelmed for the most part – look at the music industry. What’s real and relevant to them will win the day as technology flattens the hyperbole. Here lies the opportunity and the new challenge.

So this explains the reason we created this blog, to discuss relevant marketing, how technology is changing marketing and how both will impact all of us – consumers, businesses and marketers. We hope you enjoy the discussion, contribute, learn and will help us figure out this brave new world we have all just entered.

Thanks for the conversation
Jon Zack, CEO & Founder of EggZack.com