If Community Marketing Is So Great, Why Doesn’t Every Business Utilize It?
Community Marketing is challenging. In fact, most agencies do not offer this service to its clients because it is difficult to execute and is a long term project that requires a great deal of effort and coordination. It takes on-going commitment, creativity, and lots of work. However, the best part of Community Marketing is its rewards. Community Marketing can make such an impact on a community and drive sales, frequency, loyalty and awareness, that it can eliminate the need for other forms of advertising expenditures.
Community Marketing is a specific plan targeted to a specific group or groups of potential guests within a specific trading area (target market) to create and build awareness of your brand with potential guests within the three to five-mile radius around each business location and more broadly for each business. But the focus is on the demographic and psycho-graphic profiles of your business’s target guests.
Community Marketing is an on-going marketing process intended to build sales over time within a specific market. It requires a consistent on-going effort and commitment to yield the desired outcomes.
Community Marketing programs are created to:
- Enhance and entrench the business’s leadership position in the community
- Establish and strengthen guest loyalty
- Build brand awareness with existing and potential guests and employees
- Grow business traffic, sales and awareness
- Develop involvement, recognition and influence within the local community
Community Marketing plans need to be specific, measurable, planned, coordinated, executed all year long, with every business, consistently. This process ingrains the brand within the local community and the guest’s minds.The adage, “If you build it, they will come” is a myth. Community Marketing needs to be part of your business’s DNA. It is about building relationships, giving back to the community, creating a venue for activity or entertainment, and serving the needs of guests within the 3-5 mile radius of the business for many, many years.
Why is Community Marketing Important?
Community Marketing is one of the most valuable tools in a holistic marketing strategy and is frequently overlooked. Many businesss & hotels budget their local marketing efforts around coupon & discount distribution or other unfocused, push-marketing tactics without examining the trade areas for more tangible growth opportunities. While using other marketing resources can seemingly produce short-term outcomes, Community Marketing is one of the most cost effective and proven tools to achieve long-term business relationships with guests, employees and the community.
Will Partnering Help Community Marketing Efforts?
One key to success with Community Marketing is creating community partners. Partners should include all of those business and non-business organizations that interact with your potential guests in the trade area.
- Select businesses or non-profit organizations that fit with the type of service or products that business offers.
- Determine what kind of potential guests frequent the potential partner’s place of business or interact with the activities of the potential partner.
- Focus on partner’s whose guests/employees who are similar to your target market.
- Includes social media and all online efforts. See – Building & Managing Your Web Presence
- Lay the groundwork for a long-term Cause Marketing effort. See – Cause Branding
Should Community Marketing Include Public Relations?
An effective public relations program consists of regular, and consistent contact with the editorial community. Regular contact with the editors to keep them informed about the product, business and direction, keeps the business in the news and the brand top of mind with guests.
How Do You Execute Community Marketing Plans and Programs?
Community Marketing plans and programs must be coordinated among all stakeholders – owners/operators, managers, employees and even guests. Determining their needs and ability to execute as well as timing and support, is crucial to success with Community Marketing. The Community Marketing efforts should not burden the business, but support it. Many marketing efforts do not include this crucial role of operations, and the best plans and programs never see the light of day.
You Need To Get Your Community Marketing Efforts Started Now
To get particular locations sales to grow and to generate awareness, a Community Marketing plan needs to be developed for all locations or trade areas.Objectives:
- Determine each location’s need..
- Research areas and locations for plan development.
- Meet with GM’s, franchisees, area managers to determine what has worked in the past, and gather information regarding trade area, customer profile, etc.
- Create a test area of businesses to test programs with strong management teams.
- Provide feedback from test locations.
- Develop specific Community Marketing tactics for each business and their trade area.
- Put together a communications plan for business and work with management team to plan and communicate particular events to staff and community.
- Provide training for execution and implementation of programs.
- Execute Community Marketing plans per business and area.
- Evaluate outcomes and determine next steps.
- Provide feedback and analysis of outcomes.
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