Jennifer Trenery
Jennifer Trenery 14 May 2015

Biggest Budgetary Challenges For Multi-Location Brands

We consider the biggest budget-busters for multi-location brands, and present a solution to meet their most crucial - and costly - marketing challenges.

In an industry that evolves every day, there’s one thing that seems to stick like glue. Just like it was in 2013, the biggest challenge faced by marketers in 2014 was return-on-investment. So it’s likely that smarter spending will remain high on the agenda this year, particularly for retail businesses operating in multiple locations.


For retail brands reliant on bricks-and-mortar trading, reaching local audiences online is absolutely crucial. But it can also be a drain on finances, leaving marketing directors wondering where exactly they can save money without compromising on results.


We lay out some common – and costly – challenges that multi-location brands are facing, before presenting a solution that could mean your digital marketing budget might not be blown after all.

1. Creating Local Visibility

With more and more consumers using online media to find local products and services, standing out on a local level is something retailers and hospitality businesses can’t afford to miss out on.


In a UK survey, 60% of consumers said they expected local companies to at least have a basic online presence with essential information such as contact details and opening times. In addition, being able to browse products and services, and make online bookings, were among the features respondents said would entice them into outlets on their local high street. 

Having a fully localised website for each site really is a fundamental requirement for any multi-unit business but if you multiply the costs of building that website across the number of local outlets you have, it can be a budget killer.

2. Maintaining Local Visibility

It isn’t enough just to simply exist online. For every one of your businesses that doesn’t appear prominently – i.e. early on – in search results, you’re leaving money on the table for your competitors.

Creating and updating optimised web content tailored to each location is essential to a good search engine ranking position (SERP). These days, to be search-engine optimised means to be user-optimised. With Google results being focused on the user’s location and browsing habits, local relevance is the key. Generic content just won’t cut it – and if it’s duplicated across local sites, it may be penalised by Google.

All content, from core pages to news updates or promotions, needs to be properly targeted if it’s to perform well in search and be relevant to your local audiences. Also, sites with regularly uploaded fresh content will be prioritised in search – so to stay visible demands on-going maintenance.

3. Putting Customers First

Modern consumers expect their interactions with brands to be personalised. In the quest for relevance, it makes sense for communications to be personalised to the outlet they’re representing locally as well as to the audience or individual being targeted. This highlights the need to create joined-up, customer-focused campaigns that are consistent across touch-points. Of course, when considering customer journeys tailored around multiple locations, the production costs associated are yet another considerable strain on your marketing budget.

4. Making Mobile Count

The local element is a big one here – 40% of mobile searches have local intent, according to a report by Nielsen and Google. And half of consumers visit a store within a day of their local search via mobile. Also worth noting, though, is that one in two people say a bad mobile experience makes them less likely to engage with a company. So your website needs to be optimised for both local search and mobile in order to get the best footfall. Sadly, mobile-friendly doesn’t always equate to budget-friendly, especially if you’re having to pay for a whole new website to be created around a mobile user journey.

Responsive design has become a must for many businesses, allowing consumers to enjoy their online experience through to conversion, whether they’re connecting from a PC, smartphone or tablet. As a singular solution it can certainly be more cost-effective than a separate mobile site or app. Nevertheless, it adds yet another layer of cost to the build of a multi-location website.


5. Reliance On Third Parties

To get the best marketing results, you need the best marketing tools. But third-party agencies and vendors can eat up a considerable chunk of the marketing budget. You may find yourself forking out for expensive subscriptions to a web content management system (CMS), marketing automation and email marketing software, and a social-media management dashboard, as well as paying monthly retainers to creative agencies that are just not cost-effective.

The worst part is that even after spending all that money every month, you still won’t necessarily find yourself with thefully integrated, streamlined approach you were hoping for, let alone the reporting and visibility you need across all channels to ensure both your nationwide and local campaigns are performing as well as they could be.

Joining Up The Dots

There is an answer to the budget-based woes of multi-unit operators – in the form of a multi-location platform (MLP). Replacing the ‘brand down’ approach that limits the online visibility and marketing performance of individual outlets, our multi-location platform Cerium is essentially a digital marketing and content platform for multi-site brands, designed to enable ‘business up’ control that lets local requirements take centre stage.

How Does A Multi-Location Platform Cut Costs?

?    Content and communications are personalised and geo-aware, allowing you to create and maintain a strong online presence for each of your outlets – and therefore provide a relevant service to a local audience without the cost of building multiple websites

?    CMS, marketing automation and social tools come straight out of the box, as does real-time reporting and analytics across channels, cutting down on those mounting third-party costs

?    Integration with your CRM, booking and e-commerce platforms is easy, so it’s business as usual

?    The MLP platform is mobile ready, increasing consumer engagement without the extra spend through a responsive web experience on all devices

?    Integrated campaign visibility and real-time reporting allows activity to be assessed across channels on a local and national level, giving better insight into what works and why

?    CE’s own MLP, Cerium, comes with a full-service outfit – bringing together all the specialist teams needed to fulfil a brand’s multifarious marketing demands  

Learn more about Cerium


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