Local knowledge matters. For example, knowing where the best car wash is, your favorite non-touristy spot to get a drink, or which secret parking spot to tuck into when it’s bustling downtown. This is one advantage of knowing a place well. Likewise, location is helpful when forming a marketing strategy. However, local knowledge may not be the only thing required to reach your marketing goals.
Evaluating whether a local marketing agency is up to the task of taking on your brand. First, identify your marketing goals, understand how important local cues are to your brand, and then decide on what type of marketing agency will work best!
Geography Matters, But Marketing Goals Matter More
While location and context are relevant, “sounding local” won’t guarantee the success of a marketing campaign. You must skillfully deploy a marketing strategy on the proper channels, to the right audience, at the right time to stick the landing. Without clarifying the end goal, you can’t decide whether you’ve succeeded or failed in your marketing endeavors, local or otherwise.
The sky is not the limit when it comes to good marketing. Your brand has specific demands, and some may be tied to geographic knowledge of the area. It’s best to know this right off the bat by asking yourself questions like:
What might someone who is not from this area fail to understand about our products or brand?
Is a local or regional strategy dominant for us right now? Would it affect how we market?
Would someone’s insider knowledge make selling this product easier or harder?
Some things that work for others may not work the same for you. Knowing your brand’s strengths and limitations is half the battle of marketing well.
Pros and Cons of Working With a Local Marketing Agency
A good marketing agency will want you to succeed (even if it means they aren’t the right partner for you). So what are some of the pros and cons of opting for a local partner?
Ease of Collaboration: Getting In The Same Room
Maybe meeting in person is of high value to your brand, in which case, going with a local marketing agency has a lot of benefits. You can be a bit less rigid around scheduling, you can pivot strategies on a campaign, and get in the room with your marketing professionals.
If your marketing strategy is complex or subject to fast and frequent changes, a small, agile-minded local team may be your jam. Hashing things out face-to-face for an hour or two in person can save many emails, budget hours, and frustration at inefficient communication threads. And your marketing agency will be happier staying on the same page with your needs.
Experience Working With Other Brands You Know (And Like!)
A good way to evaluate a local marketing agency on how well they will work out for you (if you’re worried about fit) is to look at their portfolio. Did they do an excellent job for other companies like yours? Do you like how they executed visuals, brand packaging, and website design for other local brands? Is the copy clean and professional? Did they develop some brilliant event-based marketing to capture a local quirk or tradition?
Often this is much easier to do with a local brand because you’ve seen their work advertised all over town. And maybe that’s how this agency came to your attention in the first place! Suppose a local marketing agency has a track record of working with other brands you know and love. In that case, this is a trustworthy sign of having the right team in your corner. It also makes it easier to track down references.
An Edge On Identifying Local Challenges and Opportunities
On the whole, geography matters more than most people think, especially when capturing brand voice or regional quirks. Moreover, nuances and local attitudes about the region are hard to embody without knowing the area. Especially for consumer brands, if you haven’t sat in the coffee shops, dined at the local deli, or enjoyed a bike ride around the area, the marketing language will probably show it. It’s easy to sniff out inauthenticity, and it can be suspicious for a local brand to sound like they’re not “from around here.”
These micro-choices of language can influence the quality of paid ads, organic SEO strategies, and platforms a local marketing agency creates for others. Is your audience sensitive to these nuances, or are they rain-or-shine buyers? Do you need help differentiating your brand from other brands in the same market, where some local knowledge would give you a lift? Or are you chasing big national targets? These questions might help you self-select whether a national or local marketing agency is the best fit.
Lack of Options For Local Marketing Agencies In Your Area
It comes with the territory that sometimes too few marketing agencies exist to choose from. In that case, expanding beyond your geographic area for more competitive options gives you more (and sometimes better) options. Exploring what’s beyond your town or city may open up a world of possibilities for your brand. And if you live in a place like New York or L.A. where the cost of living is high, it may pay to go with a branding agency in another state or region with better pricing. So don’t let a lack of options limit who you choose! It doesn’t always make sense to rely on a local business if your area doesn’t support this.
Local Marketing Agencies May Draw on A Shallow Talent Pool For Hiring
At first glance, you might hesitate to go with a local marketing agency for this reason. And you may be correct! A smaller area may not have as many job candidates as big-city agencies, limiting them to train from within or scale someone with less experience to suit the role. However, this may not always be the case with a smaller city, and here’s a big reason for it: remote workers.
If 2020 was any indication, the great remote working experiment is over. The verdict is: it can be done sustainably and successfully. And bonus! It opens the job pool to other areas of talent formerly limited by zip code. If your local marketing agency is harnessing the power of remote workers, they likely have a breadth and diversity of experience unheard of in purely local markets. So local marketing agencies with remote employees are a nice hybrid for this reason.
They May Be Too Close To The Problem
Is your regional area known for a particular look or feel with branding? Watch out. This may or may not be what you’re aiming for.
A local marketing agency might find breaking out of this box a challenge. On the other hand, an agency from outside your area may find it easier to avoid local groupthink, especially if you want something edgy.
Local knowledge is great when you want to sound relevant to a familiar audience. Still, if your campaigns are gunning for innovation or a trailblazing method, look for a national marketing agency that can draw on something fresh.
It’s Not An Exact Science, But It Does Boil Down To Chemistry
Despite the hard data, SEO smarts, and digital know-how that backs a good local marketing agency, we all know there’s a chemistry component to choosing the right one. Call it a hunch, a gut feeling, or intuition, but whatever it is, it’s the reassurance that it will work out.
Don’t ignore how it feels to interact with agencies you’re exploring. Communication and instinct are good informative strategies to feel out whether the connection is a good mutual fit.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Go against the grain of conventional advice if you have to and choose a small agency for your big company or a big agency for your small company.
We always say, follow your gut. If a smaller, more agile team sounds like the ticket to your marketing success strategy, go for it. If a larger agency centered in a bustling urban area with unlimited resources has what it takes to generate the magic bullet, full steam ahead! You are the best judge of what works.
Find The Perfect Mix of Local (And Remote) Strategy From A Marketing Agency
Who says you can’t have a little of both? If your marketing objectives are only suited to a local crowd, opting for a marketing agency in your immediate area may work. However, you probably want an agency with blended strengths and experience in diverse industries (both local and national). In that case, consider hiring a strategic local marketing agency like Savy.
Our team is primarily West Coast-based in Bend, Oregon, with local and remote team members. We harness the power of remote working with digital and in-person client meetings. If you’re looking for a team with guts that is flexible, creative, self-motivated, and experienced, explore the possibilities of working with Savy for your next big marketing idea.