The Power of Local Markets

cindy2-260While traveling for the up-coming Thanksgiving holiday, take close account of your surroundings for tips on how to be a better planner and/or buyer.  There are generally several nuances that you can pick-up on while traveling that you can tap into when it comes time to write and execute your media plan.  Here are a few from my personal list.

Out of Home-I recently flew into Reno, NV and quickly realized that the flat desert roads and highways were the perfect vehicle for outdoor billboards.  You can clearly see them in the distance and you are ready for the messaging when you get closer to each board.   I caught a great concert (Tedeschi Trucks) in South Lake Tahoe thanks to one of those outdoor billboards.  Without the board, I would have missed one of the best shows I’ve seen in a while.

Local Radio-Although terrestrial radio has become homogenized it’s always fun to take a spin around the dial to see if you can find an interesting station DJ that you might want to execute a future promotion with.  Or, listen to station bumpers to find what the station is participating in around town.  Is the station the official sponsor of a local event that may align with one of your clients?  If you’re driving around to different sections of town check to see if the signal is good at each of your destinations.  With some stations, due to the positioning of their antennae, you might lose the signal on the outside of town.

Local Newspaper-Most towns have at least one free paper that you can find at tourist spots, supermarkets, hotel lobbies etc.  Pick one up and leaf through it.  Getting a feel for the type of advertising it contains will help you know if it’s worthy of including in your next plan.  Paid newspapers are also interesting to review.  Are they running different Ad units you haven’t seen before?  What is their editorial slant?  Are they conservative?  Perhaps their edit doesn’t align with your product which is good to know when executing a plan.

Local Television-Does the station participate in a local holiday promotion such as a coat drive or local hospital gift giving event?  Can you incorporate this type of idea in your plan?  What does their local early and late news look like?  Is it a low budget news that wouldn’t make sense for your blue-chip account?  Or, do they have a special feature; financial tip, community calendar or Auto sponsorship that you can incorporate into your plan?

Local Sports-Don’t just concentrate on professional sports.  Throughout your travels, try to find the local junior high and high school sports fields.  Due to the high cost of athletic programs, local schools may accept signage around the field to offset their costs.  Grass roots programs like these are difficult to ferret out when you’re not in-market.   

The above should come in useful as you make your annual trek to family and friends.  However, one last piece of advice, don’t make your trip too focused on work.  Getting away should be to relax and unwind and not constantly think about work.  If you can keep a healthy balance, you’ll arrive back at your desk refreshed and ready to implement some insightful media plans.