Walmart Does Local at Scale, a Look at Their New Marketing Strategy

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Vice President and Group Leader

At first, it might seem a bit paradoxical. Walmart is a giant, international operation that has over 2 million employees around the world. But with over 4,000 stores integrated into U.S. communities, the retailer is also deeply, inherently local.

And now, more than ever, the company is speaking locally.

We’ve discussed Walmart’s local marketing before.  Their “See For Yourself” campaign has real customers doing real price comparisons in over 70 markets.

Walmart’s Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Quinn recently spoke at the ANA Masters of Marketing Conference in Phoenix about the challenges and opportunities of local marketing. “We have freedom within a framework to do local at scale,” he said. “That’s created some pretty amazing output” as the retailer shifted its creative message to “real moms in real shopping occasions.”

As Inside Radio reports, Walmart spent 60% more on radio advertising in the first quarter and 40% more in the second. Quinn said Wal-Mart is also paying less to produce local creative. “Everyday low cost marketing is really important to support our everyday low price promise to our customers.”

As Inside Radio reports:

Pivoting to a localizing marketing approach isn’t the only way radio’s top retail spender is responding to changing consumer behavior.  Wal-Mart is also investing more in social and digital, including Facebook pages for individual stores.  “Our customers have taught us that engagement on social media is important to them and that’s made us more mobile,” Quinn said.

And, like any good local marketer, Walmart is always optimizing their digital assets to better reach consumers. More and more local Walmart stores have their own, unique, Facebook pages for local residents to follow.

Walmart faces a unique challenge for growth given it’s already colossal size. The retailer has had to get creative in its strategy to increase sales. As a result, they’re rolling on with e-commerce and smaller stores designed for urban areas, Trefis reports.  They’ve even started putting small stores tailored to students in college campuses.

As part of their e-commerce drive, Walmart has rolled out several new initiatives. Orders online are increasingly being shipped from local stores and lockers are being equipped in more for customers to pick-up online orders. And – this is a first – you’ll be able to pay in cash for online orders. For those who live in San Fransco, you can now even get same-day delivery on groceries.

With it’s new targeted marketing strategy and e-commerce initiatives, Walmart is primed to redefine retail in 2014. And we can’t wait to help them on their journey.