A national campaign director shares some lessons learned on how to uncover insights about your audience while also striking the right balance of personalization with practicality.

Over the past two decades, the race for audiences propelled a shift away from local. Mainstream national news trumped local, national chain stores pushed out local shops and national advertising campaigns became the default over local. But this trend is changing. Now more than ever, local communities are thriving. The desire to connect with people, no matter their geography, shaped the digital landscape. Now, that desire for human connection is swinging back towards the familiar: the community and the local.

Local has become a more dominant focus for brands as well. Search, for example, is fueled by local-driven queries, with local advertisers serving as the primary driver of Google’s revenues last year. This is a fundamental shift away from traditional mass marketing, as well as an important step towards hyper-personalization. Local marketing is its unique beast – what works in Jensen Beach, Florida, will not resonate with audiences in Billings, Montana.

For many brands, local marketing is only logical at a certain scale: targeting several local communities, across a broader geographic landscape. Anything more specific requires too much additional work, from creating custom segmentations, messages and managing the campaigns (although adtech has helped significantly with the last issue).

This has been a longstanding challenge for political campaigns, particularly those of Political Action Committees, national and statewide candidates. Campaigns win by engaging voters and gaining votes which require connecting with constituents at the local level, often across many unique communities. Personalization is everything. How can you execute on a mass scale, without losing personalization?

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