Regional Relevance Is Everywhere (Are you paying attention to it?)

By Chris Cushman

Coca-Cola established dominance in the early 20th century largely because of it mastered local and re- gional marketing. Local bottlers and distributors had marketing dollars to drive the brand. The American landscape was dotted with small stores and grocers with signs bearing the store name and the familiar Coca-Cola moniker. Other brands followed suit in a battle to buy football scoreboards and execute other regional marketing interventions. However, it was very challenging for other brands to gain traction against Coca-Cola as a “first mover” in regional marketing.

Regional marketing is about making a national brand relevant, part of the fabric of the local communities it serves. Attention to “place” in marketing — which is one of HRM’s “6 Ps” — helps brands better reach their desired audiences. And connection to place helps brands make more meaningful and is an obvious analogy, it really hit home for us at HRM when we got a chance to relevance (along with other variables) to get the most out of your brand, market-by-market? CPG brands often provide great examples of capitalizing on regional variability caused by the weather. In a stroke of genius, shampoo marketers have partnered with The Weather Channel to develop a series of dy- namic digital ads that change based on the weather outside. For example, “The humidity is high today, more emotional connections. This is particularly true in healthcare, because the administration of health- care is quite different from place to place across the United States. Healthcare decision-making and prescription-writing are rarely just a logical choices. The best brand doesn’t always win, and in many cases, there isn’t a best brand. Among the myriad variables that 1) affect access to decision-makers and shape the thinking of decision-makers, regional relevance is a powerful influence.

To help underscore the importance of making regional marketing a plank of any brand’s strategy, HRM has developed a series of short analogies titled “Why Regional Relevance Matters,” which follows great brands and marketing innovators, as we are focused on providing brand analytics, strategy, and tactical solutions that are rooted in regional varia- tion. Regional variation can easily be translated into regional opportunity with the right insights.

The first chapter in our “Why Regional Relevance Matters” series focuses on sports. While everyone may think that sports learn from an ESPN executive at a regional market- ing conference. ESPN has a complete offering that revolves around the idea of regional relevance. The executive noted that LA, Boston, NYC, Chicago, and other cities are so different from each other that they require their own online experience. These cities    are packed with sports enthusiasts. But that is where the similarities end and the differences begin. ESPN was smart enough to realize that regional relevance matters and that these consumer/viewer/ reader groups needed experiences they could call their own.

Chapter two is about the weather — the ultimate icebreaker. “How about that rain?” “Can you believe how hot it is this time of year?” “Wait, let me take a picture of my car temperature display and post it on Facebook.” Weather is a very visible driver of regional relevance. Not surprisingly, marketers with seasonal products (convertibles, snow blow- ers, sunscreen, etc.) clearly understand this, but what about your brand? How do your consumers’ behaviors change based on the direction of the wind? Have you found a way to tap into this regional consider a frizz-reducing shampoo.” Now that’s a relevant, value-adding marketing message!

Healthcare Regional Relevance

At HRM, we have a mountain of time-proven examples that demonstrate how having a good understanding of a brand’s regional variation will help drive brand performance. Walking the talk and providing your sales force, the decision-makers, and ultimately your patients, with regionally relevant materials and messages will unlock opportunities market-by-market. Is the local sports team going to be a driver for your business? Probably not.

However, the local patient demographics, the usage of co-pay cards, the influence of NP/PAs, the biases of KOLs, or the density of ACOs in a particular area all could be. Once you have uncovered the local market drivers of your business, you will be equipped with a regional marketing road map that can significantly affect your sales and marketing efforts.

So how about that rain…

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