New Study From Uberall Reveals Misplaced Optimism Around Local Digital Marketing Maturity in North America

Uberall, a global provider of hybrid customer experience (CX) solutions, released its Benchmark for Local Digital Marketing, which examines how well multi-location businesses are adapting to a digital-first customer journey.

While The Pandemic Created Urgency for Location-Based Businesses to Lean Into Digital, Overall Local Digital Marketing Maturity Is Still Lagging

Uberall, a global provider of hybrid customer experience (CX) solutions, today released its Benchmark for Local Digital Marketing, which examines how well multi-location businesses are adapting to a digital-first customer journey. The study – which surveyed more than 450 businesses worldwide and 244 businesses in North America – measures digital maturity along the customer journey from discovery, to purchase, to loyalty.

According to the report, the average local digital marketing maturity score in North America is 53 out of 100, leaving ample opportunity for improvement. The survey revealed that while the majority of North American multi-location businesses have the basics covered like local business directories (83%) and local social pages (76%), most are not fully leveraging these tools for online discovery, engagement and conversion.

“While most multi-location businesses understand the importance of digital marketing, this new research reveals untapped opportunity at the local level,” said Florian Hubner, Founder & CEO of Uberall. “Many businesses spend heavily on digital marketing campaigns and broad brand awareness, but under-resource on local digital marketing to influence nearby customers in their moment of need. However, in the current economic climate, gaining an edge is more important than ever. A solid local digital marketing strategy is key to achieve that.”

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“Many businesses (. . .) under-resource on local digital marketing (. . .). However, in the current economic climate, gaining an edge is more important than ever. A solid local digital marketing strategy is key to achieve that,” said Florian Hubner, Founder & CEO of Uberall.

Local Digital Marketing Maturity Declines Throughout Customer Journey

While the report found that a slight majority of the North American businesses (57%) have a moderately mature approach to make themselves found online, customer experience declines when it comes to optimizing for conversion (53%) and driving loyalty (50%).

The local marketing maturity decline in loyalty is attributed to businesses failing to incorporate essential tools and strategies for this part of the customer journey. The study found that 62% of businesses globally don’t analyze sentiment or have customer loyalty programs, while 65% of businesses don’t use review management tools.

Although businesses had slightly stronger maturity approaches for the Get Found and Be Chosen stages, there are improvements that can be made on both fronts. In fact, 17% of multi-location businesses in North America say they do not use business listings at all. Furthermore, 39% do not include a list of local stores on their website and nearly half (48%) do not provide local web pages for each local store, making it more difficult to get found by potential customers.

When it comes to being chosen, 42% of North American businesses polled don’t respond to reviews frequently and 69% lack a customer referral program. Improvements in these areas can not only increase brand discoverability, but also consideration and online-to-offline conversion rates.

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Overall Maturity Among US Businesses Nearly Equals Global Average

The report found that US and Canadian businesses have much higher maturity than their European counterparts at 49% and 63% respectively. Of European countries surveyed, UK businesses came in the highest at 47%, French companies averaged 42% and German businesses came in with the lowest score at 36%.

The study also found that every country, with the exception of Canada, had subpar maturity levels in the areas of being chosen and driving loyalty – helping to contribute to an overall poor global average maturity.

“In the current economic climate, settling for average puts brands at a disadvantage. It’s a certainty that consumers continue leveraging digital channels with nearly every purchase decision they make. Hence location-based businesses can only win if they create seamless experiences that bridge the digital and real world,” adds Hübner. “For businesses worldwide to gain and keep customers they need to put more resources into local digital marketing so they can influence high-intent buyers closer to the point of purchase.”

Financial and Retail Sectors Register Strongest Maturity Levels

The report finds that globally the financial services industry is the most mature (54%), followed closely by the retail sector (52%). On the other hand, the verticals for gas or EV service stations and convenience stores (46%), as well as restaurants, food, and beverage (46%), are slightly below the global average (48%). Businesses in hospitality, tourism, and leisure lag behind with an overall maturity of only 40%.

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