For a vast majority of businesses, the local marketplace really matters. Retailers, restauranteurs, and service providers know there’s a limit on how far customers will be willing to travel for their offerings.
E-commerce has certainly allowed some businesses to exponentially expand their reach, but even then, geography matters to some extent. For example, of all the Down East t-shirts a Maine online retailer sells each year, very few are sold to people in the northern regions of the Midwest; even fewer are sold to customers outside the US.
We’re all operating with a limited amount of marketing dollars. To use those funds strategically, it’s important to know where your customers are. The size of your neighborhood has an impact on what marketing tools and techniques make sense for you. If you’re connecting with customers all around the world, you’ll have a different set of priorities than a business owner who’s focused on connecting with all the customers on their block.
Neighborhood size can be categorized in the following ways:
Hyperlocal: Your marketplace is extremely targeted, such as a food truck that wants to capture all the business on a particular street corner.
Local: Your marketplace is the town/neighborhood in which your business is located and whatever people in your area consider a reasonable drive to reach you is. This varies by geographic region – in some communities, going 15 miles is nothing at all, while in others, it’s quite a schlepp.
State/Region-wide: Most often seen as being relevant to destination locations, the state or region-wide market includes communities that are within a 3-4 hour drive of your facility.
Nationwide/Global: You have customers in significant numbers all around the country – or even the world.
Your frontline personnel can play a huge role in helping you determine your neighborhood size. They know if they’re seeing the same customers regularly, or if there’s a regular influx of tourist traffic. Online retailers can use order details to get this information. It’s a great idea to plot this information on a map & keep this map in your marketing department. It’ll help you stay focused when deciding what marketing opportunities to take advantage of, as well as when you’re targeting your advertising.