For the past few years, I’ve been reading and hearing the headlines regarding “buy local”. Perhaps this isn’t wholly true, but when I hear the term, I think of farmers markets on some closed section of roadway with vendors selling fruits and vegetables that have been locally grown. At those markets, on fluorescent poster board written in black marker, I’m reminded to ask myself, “what is the carbon footprint of my tomatoes?” A little guilt driven to buy local? Probably.
As a consumer, I’ve been so used to the idea of cheaper goods at the big box retailers. I’ll admit that I feel like it’s a win for me if I can find a product at the best price. In some instances it’s almost worth bragging rights. I’ve been trained. Or I’ve been brainwashed to the fact that I can buy cheaper goods that have been made in China from large retailers. But what are the large retailers doing to help MY local economy? Perhaps sponsoring the local tee ball team? That’s just not enough. I believe it’s time that Buy Local programs move their marketing efforts to the next level. It’s time to move from awareness programs and create some real strategies that will drive local behavior.
Taking Buy Local campaigns and programs to the next level will require a shift in perception. The shift is this, most people do not care about buying local. They only care about what benefits them. I know that this can be argued all day, but it’s true. This can apply to any product or service. Consumers don’t care about a certain product. They only care about how the product benefits their lives. We’re selfish human beings. Once you have that lens to filter strategies through, I believe that Buy Local campaigns will have higher participation rates if they are positioned to benefit locals.
Here are some ideas on taking Buy Local to the next level:
Exclusivity Drives Hometown Pride - Any time I travel and mention that I’m from LA, I always hear how terrible it is in Los Angeles. After the person I’m speaking with rattles off everything bad about LA, they then proceed to beam with brightness about everything that is great where they live. They have hometown pride and I can’t blame them for that. In order to increase the participation of a Buy Local campaign, I believe that developing a “locals only” purchase program, to benefit the locals in some fashion, will be a great place to start. If the benefits of the program are great enough, it will be a badge of honor to the locals. It could be something they can beam bright and brag about. It may also make other cities green with envy.
Build a List and Segment Marketing Efforts - Building an exclusive campaign for locals would require gathering some information. Emails are the most basic, but some other questions could be asked during the sign up process to gain a snap shot profile of the locals participating. Based on this information, an email campaign could be segmented and executed to stay in contact and top of mind with locals. A strong, Inbound Marketing strategy could be planned for content creation around the profiles to keep the interest of those participating. Also it’s an opportunity to get more sign ups with epic, sharable content.
Use Technology to Track and Measure - There are so many platforms out there now that can track this type of program to measure for effectiveness. Nothing is perfect at the outset so it’s important to test, measure, analyze, wash and repeat. By using data to measure the effectiveness of such a campaign is an easy way to determine the ever so elusive, ROI.
In the end, reaching the goal of increasing the awareness and participation of a Buy Local program is a success. There are plenty of posts online stating the benefits of Buy Local programs. I’ve included an infographic below that came from The Huffington Post article, Why Buying Local Is Worth Every Cent [Infographic] - Huffington Post Posted: 11/24/2013. It’s my favorite designed piece to gain a better understanding of the benefits of a Buy Local Program. It’s time to take Buy Local to the next level.
Michael Salguero CEO and Co-founder, CustomMade.com
Why Buying Local Is Worth Every Cent [Infographic] - Huffington Post Posted: 11/24/2013