When it comes to business marketing, there is an important distinction to be made between local and location.
Local businesses have a distinct advantage due to their physical location – proximity to a population of potential buyers.
Yet, ever business can capitalize on local, because in addition to location, it is affected by a number of influences - including consumer interests, social behaviors, and all types of human interactions.
The intersection of these influences creates a number of ways to interpret local, and any one, or a combination, can be used to create distinct advantages for your business.
The Primary Location Advantage is Time
Location marketing rightfully capitalizes on one component – proximity, which translates into convenience and the time savings associated with it.
You can charge more for convenience – or not, but it nevertheless can be incorporated into your marketing plans to accomplish specific business objectives.
Time is a valuable commodity that you can effectively use to be more local to the markets you serve. The only challenge is building a business model to uniquely capitalize on it.
The Internet enabled non-local businesses to effectively become local, with Amazon, Zappos, and Warby Parker being just a few that have used different business models to benefit from consumer desires for convenience and saving time.
You can get products shipped to you within a day or two from Amazon and pay little or no premium for the benefit. That’s convenient.
Zappos allows you to purchase shoes and other products, while having a full year to return them for a refund – and shipping is free both ways.
At the Warby Parker website you can virtually try on eyewear frames by uploading your photo. After narrowing down your choices, they send you up to 5 frames at a time to physically examine for 5 days, with free shipping both ways.
Hmm, I wonder where they go that idea?
After that, you place your order online.
Local Advantages are Many and Interrelated
Local is much more than location.
You can define local in terms of many different criteria, with location being just one of them.
Local is alignment - which may be due to proximity, but is also influenced by the people you are with and the complex social behaviors that result from those interactions.
Local is multi-faceted because people are.
Here are a few to consider.
Interests - We are naturally attracted to those who share our interests. This is the magic behind Facebook and other social networks such as question and answer site Quora. They bring together people with shared interests, despite their physical location.
Influence – We are all simultaneously influencers, and influenced by others. The greater the influence, the stronger the alignment or local effect. Klout is a site that attempts to measure and analyze this.
Social Circles – Google+ allows you to create circles to organize your connections. You can create large or small circles of connections, while also placing circles within circles to respect those social connections that are closest (or local) to you.
Industry – We all spend the majority of our waking life at work. So, it stands to reason that our industry colleagues are just as local to our daily lives as our families – if not more, because they help us support our families.
Take advantage of the physical location of your business if you have one.
However, if your business does not have a physical location for customers to visit, you can still be a local business.
How are you using local and location to advance your business objectives? Leave a comment below – and feel free to share with your community.
Until next time, Jeff