Using Local Location and Consumer Data To Drive Marketing & Business Decisions, Part 1
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Using Local Location and Consumer Data To Drive Marketing & Business Decisions, Part 1

Using Local Location and Consumer Data To Drive Marketing & Business Decisions, Part 1

In today’s Covid world, multi-location brand marketing executives are being faced with two big realities that are challenging them on how to market cost-effectively. For many, the first is declining sales. This has affected brands on multiple fronts. Having fewer royalty contributions from store sales into aggregated national advertising funds has resulted in decreased marketing budgets for national and local store marketing. Less revenue has also led to brands cutting agency retainer fees or laying off employees, meaning there are now fewer resources available to execute hundreds and even thousands of sophisticated local digital marketing campaigns for a brand’s locations.

The second is that the trend of consumers “going or buying local” has now become the norm. While there are several stats backing the increased importance of local marketing, many chain brands and franchises consider it an untapped opportunity based on local digital marketing challenges. With fewer consumers traveling and many on tighter budgets taking advantage of takeout or delivery from local establishments, marketing at the regional, DMA, or even city level is no longer good enough. It’s now imperative to be able to execute sophisticated hyperlocal digital marketing effectively at the community level to personally connect with consumers.

So what are the two keys to help you adapt your strategies around shrinking marketing budgets/resources and a shift in local consumer buying behavior? 1) Marketing technology and 2) local data. 

Harnessing these two powerful tools can help brands make better marketing and business decisions post-Covid around store operations, customer retention, customer acquisition, and development planning strategies on where to open new locations. 

Using local Covid and consumer data to make better business decisions

Covid has altered consumer behavior, as well as the pre-pandemic retail and QSR landscape. This disruption creates opportunities for businesses that can identify new trends or capitalize on reemerging ones, enabling them to reclaim previously lost customer bases through reactivation, or possibly grow new ones. Location data is an essential resource that can help businesses recognize and act on those trends. 

Using Covid-19 research data from the state and county levels, franchise and multi-location operators can also dive deeply into weekly cases/new cases, testing percentage, weekly hospitalization numbers, hospital bed usage, social distancing, non-essential businesses, and bans on large gatherings bans as they pertain to areas where they have locations. While brands still first and foremost rely on system-wide and same-store sales comp data and historical performance to make key business decisions, these Covid data points can provide another layer in the decision-making process around key marketing and operations tactics such as:

  • Guiding a brand’s reopening plan across regions, states, and cities which all have their own local guidelines in place
  • Informing store operations related staffing, hours, products/menus, and available services, and how to communicate any changes to customers
  • Prioritizing finite/decreased marketing and ops budgets around virus impact and relative store performance
  • Triggering store trade/service area marketing campaigns as needed
  • Allocating digital marketing dollars at a hyper-localized level to reflect conditions and consumer behaviors in those markets

Using local consumer data for customer retention/CRM database marketing

The most successful franchises and multi-location businesses are using past and current data and predictive analytics to generate a better return on investment (ROI) with limited marketing dollars available. As a brand and database marketer, you want to leverage both offline and online local first-party data sets – historical performance, in-market signals, past purchase behaviors, best customer profiles, media preference, and demographics. This national and local data can provide primary insights leading to effective business strategies and decisions across the entire organization and help you connect upper and lower funnel tactics — not just within marketing but across operations, product and category management, franchise development, human resources, and other teams.

So where should you focus first? On your existing customers or gaining new customers?

Marketing executives are likely very familiar with some of these stats:

  • 70% of companies say it’s cheaper to retain a customer than acquire a new one
  • The cost of acquiring a new customer can be 5 to 7 times more than keeping and nurturing an existing one
  • Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%, according to research by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company.

With franchisors and franchisees faced with limited budgets and reduced consumer spending, database marketing (customer retention and CRM marketing in particular) is important in terms of marketing efficacy. It’s essential for brands to make their marketing dollars work smarter. In general,  the key to cost-effective CRM marketing and multi-location marketing is leveraging local data and technology in the form of marketing automation software.

Executing a CRM program relies heavily on consumer transactional data to fuel automated marketing communications through email and direct mail channels to encourage return and repeat business. As a brand, you want to look at local data and metrics on whether certain campaigns or customer segments historically provided the most incremental revenue or highest ROI. Which customers are most likely to come in based on past frequency? What services are they most likely to get? Which ones are likely to spend the most? Who are your best customers, in essence? That’s where your marketing dollars should be focused if you’re on a tighter budget.

From a CRM and digital marketing standpoint, customers don’t just differ by DMA, they differ by location. The best part of having local data is being able to know exactly who you are talking to, what messages, ads, or products resonate most strongly with them, and who you should be targeting in specific local marketing campaigns. You can track the type of visitors who come to your websites, purchase in-store using POS data, are loyal users of your mobile app, and those who engage with your emails. You can build personas around these “best customer” indicators and then remarket to them on other sites they visit, by email, or even direct mail. From an audience perspective, if a customer has been into business pre-Covid, you can start remarketing to them once your business opens back up as part of a reactivation campaign strategy.

Part 2, coming in two weeks, will tackle using local data and martech for new customer acquisition and using local data to guide where new locations are being opened.

Jeffrey Lentz is Owner & CEO of Elevated Franchise Marketing, which provides consulting and marketing services to franchisees, franchisors, and franchise suppliers. A franchise marketing executive, consultant, and business owner with 20 years of experience across retail, QSR, fintech, and automotive industries, he has held marketing leadership roles across 5 franchise organizations with a focus on franchise development, consumer, B2B, product, field, CRM, and local store marketing. Connect with him on LinkedIn or reach him at or 888-383-8352.

Published: October 16th, 2020

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