When I was about 6 or 7, my mother started a tuition center in a small town called Alwar (She was an English lecturer with focus on teaching in her spare time, and of course make a few bucks) So, one morning at about 4 AM, both my mom and I, with a few hundred pamphlets, went from house-to-house in our locality, sliding in the pamphlet (now, it is called a flier) under the gates. We did that for about an hour or two, even before the newspaper vendors invaded the street. That was my first stint with a marketing activity. I would not remember the impact that exercise had on generating footfalls, but I do remember that she got a regular batch of students who came to learn English. However, I would remember that most of her students came from what I later learnt is called word-of-mouth. Her business thrived, so much that some of her students are still in touch with my mother! The point I am coming to is that my mother applied, quite inadvertently, the laws of local cost-effective marketing. She was a lecturer in a small town, which meant she had to socialize just a bit more to acquaint with the influencers in the city. That got her the first batch. The few leaflets would have fetched more students. Then those who learnt the language must have flaunted their angrezi skills before their friends – to attract more students via word-of-mouth. She also put up a signboard at the street entrance to ensure that students reach the right place. In a few months, she had her hands full!
This brings me to the point of local, or shall I say, localized marketing. Localized marketing for me is that which is targeted a specific zone because business caters to a specific zone. For example, a gym in an area that can only target customers in a 5-km radius. These are not big businesses that have the budget to hire agencies. They bank of homemade marketing recipes, and they are smart! They capitalize on newspaper handouts, banners that are left hanging between two tree trunks, pillar hoardings (they come expensive on main roads), small-time BTL activities in small markets, and lastly word-of-mouth. Word-of-mouth can be an epidemic for such businesses as they need to target the so-called ‘connectors’ to push their business into the market. They patch up with RWAs, find ways to engage their audience, and make friends (where big brands fail) with them. More importantly, they put face before their business. Would you not recall the name of that beautician than her salon? That electrician than the shop name? Yes, if we recall a face than a brand label, we feel more connected, and of course, feel like subscribing to its service. For localized brands, the owner is the brand ambassador, its marketing vehicle, and its chief propagator. The more he exposes himself, his charm & effervescence, the more the brand will grow stronger.
Localized marketing is not for making customers; it is to make friends.