The localization of social media

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I’m at  Shop.org with 3,500 other people and just got done listening to the CEO of Urban Outfitters, Glen T. Senk and he brought up an excellent point about retail and locations and what I would call localism. He mentioned the fact that each store in a chain is selling different things based on differing locations. (For those in the retail industry, you would file this under the “duh” column.) A key element to location marketing is obviously the people that buy the product and their motivations may be different from their peers in other locations. They may be the identical but to assume they’re the same is foolish and potentially dangerous. In my mind, the keys to location marketing are:

  • Location
  • Product
  • Mobile
  • Social

Location is different. Product is different. Mobile is “different”, (currently a matter of flavor; SMS, email, app push alerts). This means that social media can’t be the vanilla. It has to be specific to the region/location and the people/products at that location.  Currently this isn’t realistic for most local business managers and it would be best to pepper in local messages with the corporate messages. This adds a level of local authenticity that most businesses will need to embrace. As retail evolves, businesses should allow specific stores/regions to create their own differentiators. With hyper-localization marching forward, brick and mortar businesses are going to need to evolve. Store managers will also need to be more sophisticated about mobile marketing, social marketing and location marketing while employees need to be empowered.

Long-term, the lion’s share of social media will need to be localized.

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I'm an Associate Teaching Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. I also consult with startups and established brands. I'm currently focused on artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience and culture. I am married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, biking, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive and/or surf. I'm passionate about architecture, design, street art, photography and the art that tattooing has evolved into.

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