If you are launching a startup, you are probably inundated with pitches from companies seeking to work with you on your marketing.
No matter where you are located, you may get solicited by big agencies in the nation’s hots spots like new York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
But are the big names really the right choice for you, or should you choose a local marketing agency?
While huge marketing companies may boast impressive client lists and a wide array of services, they may not always be the right choice for a small business. Sometimes it is better to hire a local company that knows your market well than a big name that is far removed from the audience you are trying to reach.
Here are seven reasons that a local marketing agency may be what you need to take your business to the next level
1. Local Agencies Understand the Local Market
If your marketing is failing to hit its mark, your marketers may not have a deep understanding of your brand.
If you are seeking consumers over the age of fifty, you need a different strategy than if you were going for the tween crowd. If you are looking for walk-in traffic to your local brick-and-mortar establishment, you need to employ different tactics than if you were launching an e-commerce site.
A local agency will have the advantage of knowing the region where you are situated and who you are trying to reach. They will understand what works and what does not.
If you are using digital marketing, you need to know keywords and references that will excite the people in your area.
If you are focused on the market in El Paso, Texas, your content should be accessible to people who speak Spanish. On the other hand, using Spanish keywords might be way off the mark in a state like Vermont.
Say you want to promote your sandwich shop in Northern New Jersey.
You need a marketer who knows to buy Google ad words for “subs” and “grinders,” not “hoagies,” as they are known in South Jersey. Not all global marketers have that granular grasp on regional expressions.
Your market does not always have to be geographic. It can be based on spending habits, age, or profession. However, your audience does need to be identifiable.
A good marketing agency will help you identify your ideal customer, and create a marketing plan which will appeal to that clientele. They can tell you what music your ideal customer listens to, what bars they go to, and what kind of jeans they wear.
By knowing who you appeal to, you can figure out how to accurately place your ads and direct your marketing.
2. A Local Partner Can Help You Build a Network of Local Vendors
Another advantage of hiring a local marketer is that they often have a network of vendors and contacts they can leverage for your benefit.
You may be able to partner with other local companies with compatible missions to yours. Your marketing team may be able to advise on sponsorship opportunities that fit your vision, and negotiate reasonable packages because they have a standing relationship with the organization.
If you are using social media to promote (and everyone is, these days!), they can help launch your platforms using links to other local establishments that appeal to your same demographic.
Local marketers may have other clients like you, who are also interested in getting a deal.
The marketing agency may be able to negotiate better rates for a group of customers seeking the sponsorship of a local team, billboards, or ads on the local news.
Your local marketer will bring you into this network and allow you to utilize micromarketing.
This kind of personal attention is highly effective because it makes your consumers feel like they have a special relationship with you and your brand.
3. A Local Marketing Agency Will Give You Individual Attention
When you hire a small local marketing firm, you get a lot more personal attention than you do with a mass marketing conglomerate.
You will probably meet the president of the company, and you may speak to them on a regular basis. You will be able to let the boss know when you are happy with something, or if you would like to go in a different direction.
Business is based on relationships, and marketing is no different. Marketing allows you to forge relationships with your customers. This requires a relationship with your marketer too.
Go out to dinner with your team. Allow them to learn about you, what you like, and what you are looking for. Meet in person whenever it is convenient.
Small agencies have a reputation for being more creative as well. With less overhead and fewer chefs in the kitchen, they can try bolder ideas.
When you have a close relationship with a local marketer, you can assess your growth over time and use data in addition to anecdotes to see how things are going. Word-of-mouth is critical, and with a highly targeted market, you can actually observe your marketing results.
Local agencies are more nimble than their larger competitors as well. They can pivot when necessary. If you hear that one of your biggest customers hated your recent online ad campaign, you can reach out to your local marketer immediately and find a way to regroup.
Because local agencies are likely to be smaller and leaner, they will also save you money and time.
You will have to wait less time to get a call back from the president. You are more likely to get your account manager on the phone right away, and a progress report when you ask for it.
4. Local Marketers Have Relationships with Local Media
Public relations is an important component of marketing.
Unfortunately, traditional PR is changing rapidly. There are fewer and fewer outlets to pitch stories, and fewer reporters to write them.
For big companies seeking that New York Times or Wall Street Journal story that will reach a huge nationwide audience, the competition is fierce. Even if you get a promised placement on the morning shows, you may get bumped due to the wild volatility in the national news cycle.
Recent studies show that local news is better equipped to reach local markets. By focusing on your home town paper and your local television show, you are more likely to get coverage that will actually be seen by the customers you care about.
If the mayor or the local football hero endorses your ice cream on local TV, you may sell more product than you would if you got a mention in the New York Post.
Local marketers are likely to work with local reporters all the time. The press depends on them to keep them up to date on what is going on in town and what is new. A local entrepreneur is always a good story.
The news story does not always have to be about your product or services per se.
You might sponsor the annual Christmas parade or a charitable event like a marathon or toy drive. You might showcase an employee of the month or a customer who deserves recognition.
5. You Won’t Have Those Annoying Time Zone Worries
If you are building a website or doing other digital marketing, you may discover that many big companies utilize overseas staff to do their coding, design, and technical work.
This may save money in the short-term but can have some consequences that become negative in the long-term.
If something online must be changed immediately, there is no substitute for having a contact who can respond right away. If you have to wait for someone in California, or Greece, to respond to your urgent message, it may be hours before the issue is fixed.
If your e-commerce website crashes during a product launch, this can be devastating for your company.
If you are subject to hacking, spoofing or other online hazards, you want a marketing contact who can facilitate the technological fixes right away.
6. The Cost-Efficiency of Going Local Brings Significant Savings
The cost of an outside marketing team can be high, especially if your company is just starting out.
It’s burdensome to pay marketers when you are trying to make payroll for your employees. Some companies try to go without marketing, but this can be a disaster.
Others try to hire someone in-house to do it for them. This can seem like you are saving money, but are you?
Employees mean taxes and benefits, raising the costs significantly. When you hire an outside marketing firm, you pay them on a contractual basis. You can even dictate the terms: you may pay even your marketer per click.
A local marketing firm will pay for its own computers, software, and training. If you hired someone to do your marketing in-house, you would have to provide all that, on top of a salary that could start at sixty thousand per year.
Local marketers will negotiate terms that fit your needs.
You may have a set retainer or pay by the hour. You can even put marketing on hold if you are having a slow month. You can’t do that with the big national firms.
You can just hire a firm for a specific function like SEO, or a specific campaign like a product launch or a rebrand. You can ask for a single project fee, or to pay in installments.
You can even negotiate to pay in kind. For example, if you are marketing legal services, why not offer to draft your marketer’s employee handbook in return?
The other savings you will get have been detailed above: you may get advantageous rates through your local contact on everything from printing to design to distribution. You may be able to bargain and barter for special deals based on the relationships you have formed.
7. Grow Together and Expand Both of Your Long-Term Prospects
When you forge a relationship with a local marketer, you may end up being partners and friends for life.
Your business may close and you might open another one: you are likely to go back to the company that knows you well and served your needs well the first time.
Remember all the time and money it costs to start up a relationship. If you hire a new marketing agency for every campaign, you have to teach the new account managers your goals, your brand, and your metrics for success. You have to start all over again.
Remaining with a reliable partner saves you those ramp-up costs.
Once you have hit a groove on your marketing strategies, you may branch out as you grow. Your local marketer can grow with you. If you need to branch out into other markets, they may be able to find similar partners or franchises for you in other regions who work as they do.
The creative and intellectual challenges of working together on a shared mission forge bonds that will persist over time.
You may both end up hitting the big time, in which case one day your local marketer may be providing your conglomerate with their big agency services!
A Local Marketing Agency Can Help Your Business
Working with a big Madison Avenue marketing agency may carry cachet in certain industries, but the reality is that few clients need all the bells and whistles that hiring a firm as this brings.
Often a more grassroots approach and level of service will be far more effective and efficient in reaching your target audience and selling your product.
You are also more likely to develop a close relationship that may remain mutually beneficial for many years.
A local marketing agency may be far better equipped to deliver results within budget and on a par with your vision. Never underestimate the power of local.
For more on the benefits of local marketing, keep scrolling our blog.