Learn About Hyperlocal Marketing

Marketing tips for business women and entrepreneurs

Buzzwords have a tendency to come and go, but the concept of marketing to hyperlocal areas has been around since recorded history and is certainly here to stay. The only real change history has shown is in how we deliver our hyper-marketed messages to others.

The Oldest Form Of Marketing

Hyperlocal marketing may be a new buzzword, but it is probably one of the oldest methods of marketing in existence. In the days before the Internet, television, radio, and even print, merchants had no choice but to rely on hyperlocal markets to survive. The only thing that has changed over time is the technology available to analyze and market to micro areas.

Definition of Hyperlocal Marketing

Hyperlocal describes a particular area in very close proximity to your home or place of business. Hyperlocal marketing became a popular new buzzword around 2009 and is defined as extremely targeted and niche marketing campaigns. For example, Maryland itself would not be considered hyperlocal, but Montgomery Village in Montgomery County, MD would be.

The First Hyperlocal Marketing Tool: The Human Voice

Original hyperlocal marketing included a great deal of sound: vendors crying out, hawking wares in the street, fairs, and festivals. Word-of-mouth advertising remains an essential, and often underrated, marketing tool. It doesn't get more hyperlocal than neighbors chatting over the fence sharing information about local businesses. Even things as simple as hanging out a shingle, holding town hall meetings, and community events were all early ways of reaching people close to a place of business. 

The Role of Printed Materials

People can only shout so loud and so long, and the desire to be heard has certainly played a part in the quest for new ways of printing mass materials. Over time, the ability to print materials has afforded exciting and innovative ways to get attention in local areas beyond the street corner; billboards replaced town fliers, and newspapers, magazines, and books became more widely available. The voice of the town criers was replaced with a new voice of writers and journalists. The easier and more affordable it became to print materials, the more businesses began creating flyers, posters, pamphlets, and business cards.

The Golden Age of Technology and Hyperlocal Marketing

As modern technology gave birth to radio and television, only a few companies with large advertising budgets could reach into the living rooms of families across the country, thereby mass penetrating every hyperlocal area where people had TVs. But even this technology became more advanced and affordable with the birth of cable; local communities could receive information, updates, and advertisements with much more targeted information than ever before. Businesses who could never afford (or need) to advertise to a nation-wide market suddenly could advertise on cable spots, sponsor a local show, or even run their full-length talk on cable networks.

In the early 1970s when Reston Cable TV was one of the first communities to have their own hyperlocal cable company, ads and announcements were placed on cards similar to index cards and inserted into a rotating device that looked like a large rotating Rolodex wheel. As the cards rotated on a timer, a camera focused on them and the ad images transformed magically into one of the first examples of hyperlocal marketing in Northern Virginia living rooms. For early cable subscribers who manually had to get up and switch from A to B cable (long before remotes were even available), these low-tech cable ads were still quite impressive.

From the mid-1970s through the mid-1990s, the Reston cable network was owned by Warner Cable. In early 1996 Jones Communications bought the Reston cable system, and then in 1999, Comcast purchased Jones Communications. By the year 2000, the old dual-cable system was converted to a single-cable system delivering analog channels, digital services, and high-speed internet connections. Today, we have satellite, social networks, mobile devices to reach out to local markets.

The Bottom Line

Since people first began exchanging ideas, goods, and services, they have been using some form of hyperlocal marketing. Hyperlocal marketing will be around long after the term hyperlocal itself becomes old news—history has already proven that.