The phrase “we’ve decided to go with someone local” resonates with many members of the digital marketing community, particularly people in my position attempting to establish professional ties with business owners who have decided to work with a local marketing firm. The idea of someone “close by” seems to provide comfort to some, while others may feel partial toward someone who contributes to their community. In many instances, professionals who “go local” look forward to meeting their marketing team face-to-face to review marketing strategy and reports.
While local companies offer unique benefits that industry specialists might not be able to provide, what is the reality of hiring a local marketer over an industry specialist? Is proximity to your geographical location more important than an understanding of how to effectively market your service or product? Both options certainly have their merits, but I can tell you with confidence that an understanding of and background in your industry will be much more beneficial in helping you get the return on investment you crave.
What better way to analyze your options besides looking at all the benefits of each option? Let’s take a look:
Local Marketing Firms
- Might be active members of your community
- Should know more about your city’s demographics, cultural aspects, and neighborhoods.
- Might be able to meet with you in-person more frequently or easily
- May promote peace of mind and trust by being nearby
The greatest benefit of working with a local marketer is having a firm comprised of locals who understand your city’s unique traits. Local agencies likely have a greater understanding of your competitors, other local businesses and organizations, knowledge which may be beneficial when developing out-of-the-box strategies to lure in more customers or clients.
Many people assume that because an agency is physically closer, their representatives at the firm will be more available to meet with them. Just because a business may be down the road doesn’t mean that meetings will happen at the drop of a hat. Conferences will primarily occur over the phone or via video conferencing due to the nature of the campaign. The number of meetings you will have with your marketing company will likely be about the same, whether your agency is one or one thousand miles away.
Industry Marketing Firms
- Have access to vendors and consultants that may help supplement marketing efforts.
People who work in a niche firm tend to establish themselves in that niche, which means they might have more leverage in getting you into unique marketing channels for less money.
- Prioritize communication
Since communication and trust can make or break a relationship before even working on the campaign, “speaking the lingo” and being able to relate to your team goes a long way. Local firms also excel in this arena, as you can more easily bond over your favorite sports teams and eateries.
- Thorough knowledge of what your business does
Understanding the fundamentals of your business is critical to reinforcing content, email, and social marketing strategies, as well as hiring creatives. A firm’s knowledge of your business can help boosts almost every aspect of marketing. For example, an agency familiar with the legal field should know what the tone of the content should be, how to strike the correct balance between creatives and paid campaigns, and know about specific state bar regulations regarding ethics in advertising for attorneys.
These days, businesses cannot afford to work with companies that have never experienced working in their industries. Winging a campaign on your time and money before the agency starts to understand the nature of your business isn’t what you need.
Making the Right Choice in a Marketing Firm
Would someone in your industry that’s also a local be the best-case scenario? This scenario sounds like the best of both worlds. You should determine if the agency you’re considering is qualified to market in your industry. At the end of the day you’ should always expect:
- Case studies
- Examples of previous work
- A confident ability to answer all your questions and cater to your needs
As a business owner, the notion of working with someone local makes you think that they have your back; yet, you shouldn’t put all your faith into a company just because they are close to you. Unless you intend to sell a product to local vendors and retailers to get it on the market, the local approach would generally not be a good substitute for the niche approach.
Most of the world’s top talented marketing experts are always on-the-go, working to take businesses to the next level with specific approaches. The majority of these tactics require intimate knowledge within certain industries. No one ever found solace working with someone who claimed to be a jack-of-all-trades.