Boost Food Campaign Results with 5 Local Digital Media Strategies

Consumers are increasingly dependent on mobile usage, mobile pay, wearable devices, digital personal voice assistants, and other new technologies to make their life (and purchasing behavior) easier. The heavy adoption of these new technologies also brings forth new opportunities to effectively reach consumers at the local level.

Traditional platforms are incorporating new digital technologies to greatly improve targeting (and results) by enabling food marketers to deliver a highly localized message, to a specific customer, at precisely the best time to influence a purchase decision.

Staying on top of these changes and strategically applying these new media solutions is critical for today’s food marketers. Here are five digital strategies paying off big time for many of our food clients.

Mobile Strategy

With the explosion of mobile usage, a mobile media strategy must be included in your media strategy in order to deliver your messaging to the consumer at the point-of-purchase. 95% of the U.S. owns a cell phone and 77% of those are smartphone. Consumers are only a click away from looking up a recipe while they enter the supermarket, which is a great time to remind them to pick up your food brand. Additionally, reward points are added to their frequency account as purchase data is captured.

Location Based Targeting

Location based targeting, or “geo-targeting,” focuses on the person’s physical whereabouts and which retail stores they shop, within a specified geography. For example: millennial women who purchased frozen potatoes, within the top 10 DMA markets, and shop at Walmart locations/stores within a five-mile radius.

Geo-targeting for local digital advertising can be executed in a multitude of ways: DMA’s TV Households (including 210 Nielsen markets), State, IP-based, Radius (coordinates obtained from mobile phones’ GPS), zip code and Polygon (data secured through physical locations of buildings, such as a mall, where the retail store and consumer is located).

Using beacons or location traffic, allows for targeted ads when consumers are in a specific retail environment. This approach uses real-time location information, obtained through mobile phone data, to serve relevant ads and offers at the store level. Targeting is executed very specifically using additional criteria such as demographics, contextual, previous purchases and more. This strategy is used to drive traffic to specific offers, LTO’s, or boost attendance to a specific in-store event.


Hyperlocal marketing targets consumers in a specific, restricted geography within a few blocks of a business location to drive foot traffic. Available through numerous digital partners, this strategy is executable across platforms but is especially impactful on social. It’s not only relevant for small businesses, but any business trying to steer traffic to a specific retailer with special offers and in-store events. We can now target consumers based on their IP address, residence, demographic, media habits, radius, and even commuter route.


Geo-fencing is a popular way to hyper-target on mobile phones at the store level. It allows marketers to setup perimeters around specific retail locations. As customers cross into the area, it serves messages about a unique offer. The analytics collected offer a better understanding of the consumer’s shopping habits and lifestyle. It can also give you the opportunity to reach them in a meaningful way, building brand loyalty.

Digital Personal Assistants & Smart Devices

The number of people using virtual assistant has been growing exponentially. It is expected to hit 1.8 billion users in 2021. According to

  • 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information in the last 12 months
  • 46% of voice search users look for a local business on a daily basis
  • 27% visit the website of a local business after making a voice search
  • 52% of global smartphone users want a voice assistant that can help them shop in a store

Although you can order Domino’s Pizza from your Amazon Echo, or tell Alexa to play your favorite radio station, there are currently no advertising options on voice search. That’s likely to change at some future point, after the technology becomes more deeply seated in consumer behavior. In the meantime, food brands need to invest in voice search technology to ensure they are searchable on these devices.

Non-Linear Path to Purchase Offers Opportunity

Huge advances in technology are affecting the way we live, and the way we shop at the retail level. Prior to making a purchase, today’s consumers have instant access to detailed information, whether checking out a new product, a restaurant, a recipe, or a service provider. The path to purchase is no longer linear. Due to mobile and social media, our target customers are now engaged in a dialog with brands, other consumers, their friends, and the ratings of strangers.

These seismic shifts provide food marketers with an historic opportunity to create and deliver well integrated and measurable messages to a local audience.

Smart food marketers will capitalize on this new local media landscape to augment the visibility of their brand, support their local retail partners at the store level, and deepen their brand’s relationship with the consumer.

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Lily Katz-Smolenske Sr VP/Media Director EvansHardy+Young
Lily Katz-Smolenske, Senior VP Media Director

Before leading the Media department at EvansHardy+Young for the past 17 years, Lily served as Senior Partner/Media Director at J. Walter Thompson/LA, Senior VP/Account Director at Western International Media and VP/Media Director at TBWA/Chiat Day and on the client side as Group Media Manager for Seagram’s. Lily is a committed Foodie and owns an extensive cookbook collection