Local Communication is More Relevant and Influential with Customers

marketing localization

Who do you trust more to deliver important information about products and services to you—the salespeople at the local shops you frequent, who you know and trust, or representatives of a national brand, who likely know everything there is to know about the products they sell? 

As marketers, we understand the value of effective messaging strategy in order to create relevance and value in the customer relationship. We understand the importance of coordinating national and local communications, and we can also prove the value through ROI and other performance metrics. Adding to this mountain of evidence, we now have greater insights into customer preferences for national and localized campaigns. 

The B2B2C model brings unique challenges and opportunities to marketing campaigns and the customer experience. Whereas in most B2B and B2C models, there is a unified message and strategy for promoting the business, adding in a brand’s retail or distribution partner to the mix creates opportunities where brand uniformity and consistent customer experience are impacted. These B2B2C go-to-market approaches, such as those in the automotive industry, require greater care and coordination of engagement strategy to ensure seamless customer experience throughout the customer journey. But consistency can’t detract from the value each brand offers to the customer relationship.   

A strategic approach to managing national and local communication in this market is needed so that each touchpoint reaches the customer with what they need, when they need it, through the channels of communication they prefer. These communications should never be in conflict with one another.  Additionally, the quality of dealership communication matters because it drives the next buying decision. Engagement with the local dealership is how customers experience the brand after purchasing a new vehicle. 

Which Do Customers Prefer—Local or Corporate Communication?

Concentrix conducted a proprietary study testing customer impact of local vs. corporate marketing or communications. This research aimed to find whether customers prefer localized communications rather than corporate communications at the national level. 

The study conducted 1,918 surveys collected via panel web study through August of 2022 with nearly equal proportions among three industries: automotive, financial advisory, and insurance. The surveys were conducted within North American territory, targeting 500 US customers per industry and 100 Canadian customers per industry. Here were some of the study’s key findings:  

  1. More customers across all industry segments surveyed prefer local communications
    The survey found that across automotive, financial, and insurance industries, a higher percentage of customers preferred local advertising and communications. The breakdown of customers preferring local communications was 39% for insurance, 37% for automotive, and 36% for financial services, while customers preferring corporate communications was 11% for insurance, 10% for automotive, and 15% for financial services. Meanwhile, 21% of insurance, 22% of automotive, and 29% of financial services customers preferred both.
     
  1. More customers across all age groups prefer local communications
    Across all age groups, a higher percentage of respondents said they prefer local over corporate communications, most notably for those 65 years of age or older. Younger customers have a similar preference level for corporate ads and a mix of both ad forms.
  1. Local communication is more influential in driving future business
    The study also found that local communications are more influential in driving future business with a company. Overall, customers across the three industry segments surveyed responded that local communication is 62% more influential across industries and 65% more influential in automotive.
     
  1. Local communication is more influential across all geographies
    Local communications had a stronger influence in purchasing decisions across all types of geographic regions as well—from metropolitan to micropolitan to small town to rural—as shown in the graphic below. The influence gap between local and corporate was highest in rural areas, where local communication has the largest gap.
     
  1. Local communication is more influential across all age groups
    Across age groups, local marketing has the widest range of influence on purchases and the customer tendency of doing business. Influence from corporate communications wanes more for older age groups. It’s interesting to notice that for younger age groups, there’s a preference for both local and corporate communications, but local has an advantage of more than 10 percentage points in all the age brackets of this group.
     
  1. Customers value personalized service
    The study found that local communication is influential due to a variety of reasons, including accessibility and relevance of information. But the biggest reason survey respondents provided for local marketing influence was an interest in personalized service.

    One survey respondent said, “Local advertising seems to be much more personal and friendly, like the company and agent really know me, my family, and situation. I would feel much more valued as a customer after receiving local advertising.”
     

Localized Communication in the Automotive Industry

In addition to the survey results above, which span across three different industries, here are some findings from our study that specifically relate to the automotive industry. 

  1. Source preference varies by content and segment
    Automotive customers prefer information on special events and coupons to come from a local source. Compared to other segments, automotive customers prefer local communication about free services.  Most automotive customers prefer recall information to come from both corporate and local. 
     
  1. Local communication is more effective in non-luxury markets
    Within the automotive segment, luxury car owners prefer both corporate and local communication for information on special events and coupons, while non-luxury owners prefer to receive local coupons.
     
  2. What a localized campaign for dealerships looks like
    Localized communication offer
    s much more personalized information for customers. Not only is it able to harvest data to offer the right content, but it also creates a sense of connection to the dealership intended for each customer’s region. Through the specifics of localized communication, the message can be directed to show what the customer needs, keeping all the information flowing on one page and reducing the number of steps and clicks before customers can get to the information they’re looking for. 
     

Through personalized communication, customers can have a direct connection to their local dealership, fostering a sense of personalization and community. As pointed out by the study, this can include information about special events, coupons, new products, and free services. The usual layout of localized communication gives enough room to display offers and when powered by analytics, it can drive sales growth. 

Create Your Own Localized Campaigns  

The findings in this study, which point to a consistent preference for local versus corporate messaging in all segments, reaffirm the idea of how important it is to localize communication. The challenge is how to effectively maintain brand and messaging consistency while deploying local marketing materials.  

Contact us to learn more about how Concentrix Catalyst can help you deliver local communication at scale for your business with solutions built on Salesforce. 

patrick-smith

Patrick Smith

Sr. Director, Product Strategy and Marketing

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