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Programs vs Campaigns: Why Launching Both Strategies Will Give Your Brand a Local Digital Marketing Advantage

Image of Kristian Kotsbak
Kristian Kotsbak

Increasing adoption of effective local digital marketing ranks amongst the top priorities for marketing leaders at multi-location and franchised brands.

In fact, national brands are starting to prioritize local agility in their ad campaigns more than ever, as the risk of not being in front of local consumers with relevant and authentic digital messages is just too great. 

One of our greatest joys is helping our partners increase local adoption of sophisticated local marketing by leveraging the power of technology over headcount – a huge win for our brand partners. However, technology alone does not solve problems. A great strategy can be the difference between success and mediocrity in your multi-location advertising efforts. Success requires building trust amongst the many franchisees or locations whom brand marketers depend to invest their local budgets effectively and delivering local results for them that complement national efforts. Those that take advantage of Programs and Campaigns working together typically fare better than those that don’t – actually, it’s not even close.

So, what’s the difference between a Program and a Campaign in local digital marketing? Using a sports analogy, think of basketball when creating your Program. Your chances of making a shot improve greatly when there’s a solid structure always in place in the form of the backboard. Building a multi-location digital marketing Program, with the correct structure and best practices in place, will set your locations up for success and help supercharge your seasonal or promotional Campaigns.  

Set Your Brand and Locations Up for Epic Success. Learn from Others Mistakes

Speak to any multi-location brand marketer and they’ll tell you the challenges they’ve faced getting all locations or franchisees rowing the brand boat in the same direction. Without technology to power national or regional efforts at the individual location level, and without the required adoption of digital marketing at the local level from franchisees, most brands have resorted to regional or DMA advertising efforts to support all locations. Some brand locations in larger DMAs might see decent results, others won’t. All locations don’t benefit equally.

To solve the need for effective local brand advertising, some brand marketers have vetted local digital ad agencies and traditional local vendors, provided training for their locations/franchisees on how to use the platforms or services themselves, only to see about 20% of locations actually activate themselves and adopt. Typically there are too many decisions left to the individual locations, and fees can become exorbitant, which are both non-starters. The brand experiences a steep learning curve wastes time and resources and ultimately might have to go through another RFP process one year later to replace them. 

Some franchisees want to work with their own local digital marketing agency versus going with a corporately approved vendor. While that vendor might know the local market well and have digital marketing expertise, they don’t know enough about the brand’s national campaign strategy to be able to replicate it and supplement it locally using a smaller local budget like $500 per month. 

Other franchisees, who don’t feel they’ve gotten good results previously or support from corporate, go rogue. Whether they fancy themselves as marketing experts or not, they attempt to set up their own local paid search or display campaigns on Google Ads, Facebook, or other ad terminals. Often, the brand’s local locations don’t see immediate results or a positive ROI on their local digital marketing campaigns (hint, without Programs already in place this is to be expected!). Individual locations or franchisees then become gun shy about conducting digital marketing locally. This is not only bad for the brand but bad for the brand’s locations as well.  

Programs Versus Campaigns: Why They Need Each Other to Succeed

It’s hard for an individual franchisee or location to set up their own local digital marketing campaigns on smaller budgets and see much success. As a brand, the best thing you can do to ensure local digital marketing success for your locations is to put a proven Program and structure in place that leverages multi-location marketing technology and both national and local data. A program that is always on – typically consisting of local search and retargeting high-value customers across display and social – for hundreds or thousands of locations. Each community is addressed uniquely, optimized to deliver results for every location, building new local data per location and creating unique audience profiles per location. After all, no two communities are alike and the consumer demand for local authenticity is at an all-time high.

When it comes time to launch Campaigns (seasonal or promotional efforts with set start and end dates) each location will already have a head start. The Programs have set the backboard with unique local data, look-a-like audiences, and retargeting capabilities for each location. In effect, by first installing Programs brand marketers can then supercharge those Campaigns at the local level. 

Here are some benefits to structuring centrally managed digital marketing programs and campaigns using a single multi-location marketing platform. 

1. When National and Local Work Together, Everyone Wins

When franchisees or ad agencies run individual campaigns in local markets on their own, there are issues that can arise leading to disastrous consequences. When everyone uses their own platforms, local campaigns for one store can end up competing with and even cannibalizing another store’s campaigns or national campaigns set up by the brand. You may end up bidding on the same keywords, have overlapping target audiences and areas, and potentially serve up a horrible customer experience. When this happens, dollars and resources are wasted and marketing strategies and data become fragmented or siloed. Both the brand and its locations can suffer. 

Instead, set up national and local digital marketing programs and campaigns using a single platform. Power your brand’s paid digital marketing on behalf of every location by automating the creation, optimization, and reporting of localized programs across all top ad-buying terminals. This will help ensure national and local campaigns can work in harmony. Locations can leverage the national buying power of the brand and more cost-effectively market to local consumers and boost their ROI.

2. Brand Directed Digital Marketing Programs Remove Complexities and Potential Pitfalls

Executing digital marketing across paid search, paid social, display, and video requires a time commitment and skillset most franchisees do not have. Franchisees likely aren’t able to leverage technology and create sophisticated hyperlocal targeting. Frankly, franchisees should be focused on what they do best, operating inside their business. One of the benefits of joining a franchise system is being able to leverage a proven model which includes its marketing programs.  

Brand marketing teams must be able to guide and oversee all local efforts, allowing all locations to benefit from their expertise. Centralized digital marketing program management can truly sing when managed by experts who can leverage martech automation and several datasets to gain insights quicker and improve results for the brand and its individual locations. To deliver improved results for local owners when it comes time for them to invest their own local budgets in digital ads, the Hyperlocology platform empowers local advertising that’s brand-directed, with pre-constructed and localized campaigns, allowing locations to simply plug and play. 

Locations can make brand-safe selections to customize or localize pre-configured Campaigns in a few clicks – promotional messaging or creative, campaign dates or duration, featured products, and their individual budgets – to suit their business priorities in their local service areas. 

This brand-directed and locally perfected strategy delivers improved local marketing results, and it creates greater trust and collaboration between locations and the central brand team. Removing complexities, limiting the number of decisions required by locations, and reducing costs are the 3 key ingredients to creating local digital marketing success. 

3. Replicating Success Across Locations 

Using a single multi-location marketing platform like Hyperlocology enables two kinds of efficiencies: increased agility and more global awareness of which tactics are generating results at the national and local levels. Because a multi-location brand marketer is running 100s or 1000s of local campaigns simultaneously, he or she can develop and optimize keyword lists, make bid adjustments, A/B test ad creative in bulk, and be more agile in improving campaign and program performance.

A centralized program gives managers access to a larger data set, enabling optimization across multiple campaigns. Knowing what works globally is a good start. Supplementing that with individual location data from Hyperlocology, and the ability to quickly deploy campaigns and act on local data empowers greater agility. What works in one DMA or nationally should not always be broadly applied and duplicated across all local markets. Having national and local data harvested from 1000’s of campaigns on a single platform and stored in DMPs will allow you to make more sophisticated marketing decisions and optimizations to benefit each individual location.

This also allows brand marketers to identify best-performing campaigns that work across a variety of local markets that exhibit similarities in the data sets to advise locations on when and how to invest their individual local marketing budgets in those campaigns. Using these local and national insights can help connect upper and lower funnel tactics and improve results for both national and local campaigns.

With Programs and Campaigns Feeding Off Each Other, Watch Local Participation and Results Soar

Executing sophisticated digital marketing programs with Hyperlocology that are always-on, in every community, and align national and local efforts is the first step to local digital marketing success. A program that also empowers your locations to infuse their local expertise into creative and messaging decisions and set their own individual budgets gives them more ownership of their local store marketing. If a program is performing well in its local market, locations can add more budget to drive more results. 

When it comes time for locations to invest their own local budgets into brand-directed Campaigns on Hyperlocology’s platform (seasonal, quarterly, or promotional) they will already have a head start by leveraging new local data, refined local audiences, and retargeting capabilities in their community produced from the Program. With Programs serving as the backboard for all Campaigns at the local level, top multi-location brands are able to create more trust, increase adoption of effective local digital marketing and drive improved results for every location and the brand. 

If you want to dig in more on the topic, read our guide to Transforming Multi-Location Digital Advertising - just click the button to open!

Transform multi location digital advertising

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