Franchises miss out with a one-size-fits-all approach to digital marketing.

Yes, it’s easier to come up with one set of creative for national advertising to help every store. But it’s not ideal.

You wouldn’t create ads to run in Japan using English only copywriting, would you? Of course not.

We understand this basic level of personalization. It makes sense.

We can see why a Japanese customer might be turned off by an ad that’s out of tune with their natural language.

U.S. Regional and Neighborhood Differences

But the regional and local differences within the U.S. can be harder to see, if we don’t look for them, and if we don’t have a system for discovering what works best in each locale.

If you were advertising a store in Linda Vista, California, you might just think of it as yet another San Diego area zip code, but in fact, Linda Vista has large populations of Vietnamese and Chinese families, with unique Asian grocery stores like Duong Xuan Duong. Would a bilingual approach here do better? Yes, and similar language localization can be used in primarily Hispanic neighborhoods to drive bigger results.

Why does ad customization at the local level work?

Well, if you make the McDonald’s menu and ads comprehensible to first generation immigrants who mainly speak Spanish or Vietnamese or Mandarin, while the Wendy’s next door is only in English, who do you think wins? Which one is more welcoming? Even when younger people in the family are native English speakers, everyone is involved in the decision of where to go.

This isn’t limited to language. Other types of cultural localization can be very successful.

Localizing Football and Basketball

Football-themed ads in Texas advertising where to eat before or after the high school football game are smart and fit the culture.

But a football-themed approach will fall flat in March in Raleigh-Durham, NC when everyone is going crazy for the UNC Tar Heels or the Duke Blue Devils.

Fishing for More Customers

And even more interesting, when a franchise or chain store has multiple offers going nationally, as Midas always does, we find that some offers do great in some stores, but are not as appealing to people who go to other stores.

We don’t always know WHY one neighborhood reacts more to $10 off and another reacts more to 10% off… but having the options out there and learning from the data always improves performance.

It’s like going fishing, but using the whole lake, and trying several different types of bait in each part of the lake. You’re going to catch more fish!

And if your competitor is customizing locally, and you aren’t, what do you think is going to happen?

They’re going to have an advantage over you.

Start customizing your ad creative, copywriting and offers at the neighborhood level!

Brian Carter

An IBM futurist and top expert recommended by LinkedIn, Brian Carter has been a trusted influencer for over a decade. He's built programs and been a keynote speaker for companies like Microsoft, NBC-Universal, Citrix, Marketo, Salesforce as well as small businesses. He delivers motivational keynotes with practical takeaways based his 15 years of cutting-edge work. Brian is a bestselling author you may have seen on Bloomberg TV or in Inc, Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. He has over 250,000 online fans and reaches over 3 million people per year.