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New Study by CMO Council Provides In-Depth View of How Brands Are Using Localization Technologies and Embracing New Ways to Drive Channel and Field Sales Performance

PALO ALTO, Calif. (Oct. 31, 2011) Localized marketing is becoming a critical area of strategic focus and competitive advantage for brands, reports the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. Just 12 percent of marketers believe they have highly evolved campaigns and analytics on a local level in contrast to nearly 50 percent who see themselves as underperforming or needing new strategic thinking and capability development in local marketing.

In its latest detailed study – “Localize to Optimize Sales Channel Effectiveness” – released today, the CMO Council reveals 86 percent of national marketers surveyed intend to look for ways to better modify, adapt and localize their marketing content, messaging and prospect engagement practices. Findings from the online survey of 300-plus members across all leading industry sectors indicate traditional print and broadcast/cable media are losing ground to more targeted, personalized, interactive and measurable forms of local engagement across diverse audiences and communities.

The most preferred channels for localized marketing are experiential events, direct mail, localized web sites, social networks, electronic messaging, and interactive digital signage. These were far more popular selections than cable and broadcast television, radio, local magazines, and even daily and weekly newspapers. Surprisingly, the Yellow Pages (online and offline) and local online deal delivery networks, such as Groupon and LivingSocial, lagged behind all channels of localized marketing choice for national brands.

The CMO Council notes that local marketing automation platforms and solutions are enabling national or regional marketers to produce, package, distribute and digitally repurpose multiple versions of content, collateral, advertising, direct mail, promotional and in-store merchandising materials very cost-efficiently and effectively. It is enabling them to truly localize and customize campaigns by community to accommodate factors such as climate, geography, ethnic composition, demographics, shopper-graphics, psychographics, politics, breaking news, and even neuro-sensory influences.

“Localization is the name of the game for national brands with significant field, channel, or network marketing organizations,” states Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council. “The CtoB mindset of today’s market requires brands to move to digital platforms that allow them to customize messages or images, improve brand governance and deliver multi-lingual, multi-cultural campaign executions to diverse audiences that can vary by household, street, neighborhood, postal code, community or county line.”

According to the CMO Council, downsizing the world-wide web to a neighborhood locator network is transforming the classified advertising and local listings business and bringing localized search marketing innovations to the demand-generation and traffic-building capabilities of field networks, sales channels, service locations and merchant outlets of national brand marketers. These include local agents, dealers, franchisees, branch offices, manufacturers reps, consultants, brokers, restaurants, hotels, and retail stores. Localized social marketing is also harvesting the audience reach and viral value of hundreds of millions of active and addicted social gamers, personal content publishers, brand and personality fans, as well as community networking enthusiasts.

“Today’s CMO is presented with a growing number of unique challenges and opportunities. The proliferation of digital media is allowing national brands to connect one-on-one with consumers at a local level, but communicating the brand promise cost-effectively and in a timely manner at the micro-level remains a challenge,” said Philip Alexander, President and CEO of BrandMuscle. “By the time the consumer enters your store, it’s likely he or she has already made a decision based on some form of online research. This presents a significant opportunity for companies with field, channel or network marketing organizations to improve the value of their creative and marketing assets by impacting consumer demand prior to purchase. As the report suggests, we too have seen an escalation in our client’s demand for our technology based tools to easily create local microsites, social media content, electronic messaging, local events and online advertising.”

Among the notable revelations from the “Localize to Optimize” study, which was co-sponsored by BrandMuscle, Matchbin, and MediaTile and conducted in Q2 and Q3 2011, are:

  • Nearly 50 percent of marketers believe localized marketing is essential to business growth and profitability, particularly as it relates to demand generation and sell-through of products and services.
  • Just 27 percent of marketers have embraced local marketing automation platforms, resources and tools compared to 62 percent who either don’t have or only now evaluating these options.
  • A significant 24 percent of marketing respondents allocate over 50 percent of their marketing and merchandising budgets to local programs; another 42 percent spend between 20 and 50 percent of the budgets on local marketing.
  • Only 36 percent of marketers have a formalized process or system for tracking the impact of national brand advertising on local market development and customer acquisition. Some 61 percent either don’t measure this or have an ad hoc system for tracking national advertising effectiveness.
  • Cable and broadcast television, local magazines, and radio reportedly deliver the least return on spend compared to top performers like local events, direct mail or FSIs, local partner or channel web sites, social networks and electronic messaging.
  • Factors that most influence localization of marketing messages include demographic (45 percent); geography/location (43 percent); socio-economic (30 percent); psychographic (27 percent); cultural (22 percent); shoppergraphic or buying history and behavior (20 percent); as well as language (19 percent).
  • Major obstacles or challenges to marketing localization include understanding local market dynamics or variables (31 percent); finding knowledgeable local market resources or experts (23 percent); and determining the right cost/benefit models when it comes to spend (23 percent).
  • Top benefits and competitive advantages from localized marketing strategies and programs include: 1) greater customer relevance, response and return (67 percent); 2) better customer conversations and connectivity (40 percent); 3) improved loyalty and advocacy (29 percent); 4) brand differentiation, distinction and preference (27 percent).

“The CMO Council’s Localize to Optimize findings are in exact alignment with the advantages that our breakthrough “human kiosk” solution delivers,” said Simon Wilson, CEO of The MediaTile Company. “We deliver the fusion of interactive digital signage and remote expert agents available for live face-to-face consumer engagement: a brand solution for localized, personalized and interactive marketing". Wilson added that "The HumanKiosk cost-effectively and efficiently facilitates digital distribution of not just marketing content, but also the 'power of persuasion' of expert human conversation. In so doing, it also overcomes the top ranked obstacles to localization – finding knowledgeable local market experts and affordably understanding local market dynamics even down to the individual consumer level."

The CMO Council notes that advances in media, buying, tracking and reporting systems using the Internet are introducing higher levels of transparency, accountability, reporting and measurement to co-op, localized and network marketing programs on a grassroots level. Centralizing the origination of localized marketing content and programs also delivers significant cost savings, assures greater brand integrity, reduces errors and improves time-to-market. In addition, localized marketing support drives participation, interest and enthusiasm in the field, boosting sales effectiveness and closure.

In addition to quantitative research, the Localize to Optimize study also sourced perspectives from more than 20 leading brands, including senior marketers at: AAMCO, Arby’s, Avon, Best Buy, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Burger King, Chipotle, Coca-Cola, Coldwell Banker, Denny’s, DirecTV, Dunkin’ Donuts, eBay Classifieds, ERA, Farmers Insurance, GNC, Gilt Groupe, Grupo BBVA, LG Electronics, Macy’s, Marriott ExecuStay, Ritz-Carlton Group and Toyota. In addition, leading academics and subject matter experts on the faculty of the program contributed valued insights and impressions. The full Localize to Optimize Sales Channel Effectiveness report (90 pages) can be sourced for $199 from the CMO Council web site (http://www.cmocouncil.org/cat_details.php?fid=215). An annual subscription to all CMO Council reports and studies is available for $495 at (https://www.cmocouncil.org/add_cart.php) and registration for membership by qualified, client-size marketers can be completed at (http://www.cmocouncil.org/registration.php).

About the CMO Council

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council is dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building among senior corporate marketing leaders and brand decision-makers across a wide-range of global industries. The CMO Council's 6,000 members control more than $300 billion in aggregated annual marketing expenditures and run complex, distributed marketing and sales operations worldwide. In total, the CMO Council and its strategic interest communities include over 20,000 global executives in 110 countries covering multiple industries, segments and markets. Regional chapters and advisory boards are active in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. The Council's strategic interest groups include the Coalition to Leverage and Optimize Sales Effectiveness (CLOSE), LoyaltyLeaders.org, Marketing Supply Chain Institute, Customer Experience Board, Market Sense-Ability Center, Digital Marketing Performance Institute, GeoBranding Center, and the Forum to Advance the Mobile Experience (FAME). More information on the CMO Council is available at www.cmocouncil.org .

About BrandMuscle, Inc.

BrandMuscle is a leading provider of web-based local marketing automation software and unparalleled end-user support for companies with decentralized sales and marketing channels. Using the company’s proprietary BrandBuilder® software, marketers can empower field-level customization and execution of personalized advertising and marketing campaigns to optimize local sales and marketing performance. Founded in 2000, BrandMuscle is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio with a regional service office in Los Angeles, California. BrandMuscle clients include many of the nation’s most recognizable brands including Allstate Insurance, Chase Bank, PPG Automotive Refinish, BMW of North America LLC, DIRECTV, Hunter Douglas and T-Mobile. For more information visit www.brandmuscle.com .

About Media Tile

MediaTile is the worldwide leader in cloud-based digital signage solutions. MediaTile is transforming traditional B2C communications into B2Me engagement – delivering information and personal interaction tailored to a viewer’s specific wants and needs. A digital signage innovator, MediaTile was the first company to deliver the advantages of cloud-computing using the unique combination of Cellular connectivity and a SaaS-based application. Our MediaCast Content Management and revolutionary MediaCast Video Presence systems enable you to attract, engage, and directly influence your audience with a unique ”personal advantage.” Digital signage networks powered by MediaCast are simple to deploy, easy to use, and enable you to achieve your communications goals and ROI faster. Our solutions have garnered customer praise and industry awards for increasing market reach and viewer interaction, while reducing costs and complexities.For more information visit www.mediatile.com

About Matchbin

Founded in 2004, Matchbin is transforming hundreds of newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations from traditional media companies to new online media success stories. Matchbin’s technology platform ensures our media partners can quickly capture a significant share of the rapidly growing local online advertising market. Since Matchbin launched their Community Marketplace technology in January 2008, the Matchbin network has grown to over 750 local media partners, 6.1M unique visitors, and 80M page views per month. For more information visit www.matchbin.com

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CMO Council Contact
Donovan Neale-May
Executive Director
408.677.5300 x5333
donovan@cmocouncil.org

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