Is hyperlocal here to stay? Buzzwords do have a tenancy 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.
Hyperlocal Marketing: The Oldest Form Of Marketing Around
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 - even before 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
Sometime during 2009 the term "hyperlocal marketing" became a popular new buzzword. Since the term is still relatively new, let me start by saying the unofficial preferred usage is one word "hyperlocal" not two words as in "hyper local," and definitely not linked with a hyphen.
Let's start by defining "hyperlocal,"; "marketing" is already fairly clear.
Wikipedia defines hyperlocal as: "The term hyperlocal can be used as a noun in isolation or as a modifier of some other term (e.g. news). It connotes having the character of being oriented around a well defined, community scale area with a primary focus being directed towards the concerns of its residents. When used in isolation it refers to the emergent ecology of data (including textual content), aggregators, publication mechanism and user interactions and behaviors which center on a resident of a location and the business of being a resident."
Hyperlocal describes: a very specific area, locally (in proximity) very close to home (or, your place of business.) Examples include the people in your office, local park, driving down Main Street, and everyone else within walking or driving the distance to a particular destination, or, that is united somehow into one identifiable community. To make it even simpler: Hyperlocal = local community.
- Maryland (MD): not hyperlocal.
- Montgomery County, MD: semi-hyperlocal.
- Montgomery Village, MD: truly hyperlocal.
Is hyperlocal here to stay? 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 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 still remains a very important, and often underrated marketing tool. How more hyperlocal can you get than neighbors chatting over the fence sharing information about local churches, realtors, and sales?
Even things as simple as hanging out a shingle, holding town hall meetings, and community events were all early ways of reaching people in close proximity to a place of business. And, nowhere do we see more long-lasting effects of hyper-marketing via close social interaction than in the spread of religion. Messages delivered over two thousand years ago still resonate with millions of Christian people worldwide.
Printed Materials: Wings To Allow The Human Voice To Reach More Locals
People can only shout so loud and so long, and the desire to be heard - and remembered - certainly must have played a part in the quest for new ways of printing mass materials.
Over time, the ability to print materials afforded exciting and innovative ways to get attention in local areas beyond the street corner: the billboard replaced town fliers, and as newspapers, magazines, and books became more widely available, the voice of the town criers were replaced with a new voice: that 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. Enter in direct mail marketing and coupons in the "Sunday edition."
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 be served information, updates, and advertisements with much more targeted information than ever before.
Businesses who could never afford (or need to) to advertise to a nation-wide market over the airwaves suddenly could advertise on cable spots, sponsor a local show, or even run their full-length talk on cable networks like Channel 8, "Reston Community Television."
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 were magically transformed 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 (and, long before remotes were even available) these low-tech cable ads really 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. Jones, in turn, was purchased by Comcast in mid-1999. By the year 2000, the old dual-cable system was converted to a single-cable system delivering analog channels and digital services, and high-speed internet connections (in the spring of 2000, Comcast began offering cable internet service.) Today, we have satellite, social networks, mobile devices to reach out to local markets.
Since people first began exchanging ideas, goods, and services, they have been using one form or another of hyperlocal marketing. There is no telling where technology will take us in fifty years, but whatever new hi-tech developments and gadgets become available, you can be assured that everyone from teens to preachers to businesses will find new ways to get their message out to others.
Hyperlocal marketing will be around long after the term itself, "hyperlocal," becomes old news. History has already proven that.