In ye olde days, by which I mean a few years ago, national home improvement brands didn’t put much thought into local marketing. Dealers and franchisees were left to handle the heavy lifting of marketing their products to homeowners. Brands didn’t have the marketing muscle or expertise to drive leads for their dealers…and didn’t feel much obligation to.
But a lot’s changed over the years, and with the advent of Google and the advancement of the Web, local marketing has become much more complicated. Now, even the biggest national brand needs to know how to cater to a local market. If they don’t, they’re missing out on plenty of potential leads. There are several reasons for this, but one of the biggest is that Google and other search engines have put a much greater emphasis on local search results.
And you would think “it’s easier for local dealers to generate local results” than for brands. Yes, and no. Certain elements of local online listings are certainly the domain of the local dealer or franchisee. Online results like the Google Business listings are difficult for brands to manage…they are inherently locally oriented. But most other elements of online marketing can be done at the national level for their local dealers.
It’s complicated, to put it mildly. But it’s very doable for brands who want to dive in. I know, dealers and franchisees are often loathe to hand over marketing duties to their corporate parents. But in many cases, it makes sense. A hundred different local dealers for one home improvement product are likely to attack online marketing the same way. This leads to two real outcomes. Lack of brand cohesion and lots of dealers doing a poor job of online marketing. It’s a poor outcome for everyone involved.
As we see it,brands and their dealers have to come together in a much strong way to improve their online results. If you’re a homeowner getting a major renovation done, you want it handled by someone locally. But that doesn’t mean that the online marketing has to be done locally. The web is so complicated and in a state of constant change, that it’s nearly impossible for a group of franchisees to constantly stay ahead of the pack. But it can be done at the brand level – as long as the brand maintains a local focus.