New research reveals there’s a strong shift in Australian companies to balance local and global marketing as they seek for a competitive advantage.

A report released by the Australian Centre for Retail Studies (ACRS), commissioned by Retail Safari, showed the country’s largest companies are planning to increase up to 60 per cent in their allocation for localised marketing.

ACRS research director Sean Sands said developing strong engagement at local community and individual levels is a must.

“Localisation is no longer just about customising creative messages and running a few local promotions, but has to integrate and involve all channels and touchpoints. It encompasses everything from strategy, pricing and merchandising to field teams, websites and media planning,” he said.

“Fundamentally there needs to be a paradigm shift in the way marketers develop strategies for acquisition and sales.”

The study explored the growing phenomenon of local and personalised marketing in a rapidly evolving and channel-saturated retail landscape.

“Key outcomes of this study indicate that by centralising the strategic and operational development of localised marketing activities, organisations can expect significant cost savings, improved brand integrity and overall sales performance,” Sands said.

The report found despite the benefits, there were several common barriers to developing a more locally focused approach. The most critical being access to suitably skilled resources, understanding of local market dynamics, segmentation challenges and the relatively high cost of Australian media.

Gingkai Tan, managing director of Retail Safari, said the research validated the focus on driving local market penetration across multiple channels.

“This is not just an Australian phenomenon,” he said. “We are seeing our international businesses moving in the same direction, driven by the demands of the market and our clients.”

“The fact is in today’s retail environment the relationship with brands is managed at the local level – whether in terms of brand messaging, direct customer engagement, merchandising and stock assortment or pricing.

“The challenge for retailers and manufacturers today is clearly one of cost – how to manage national or global scale and resource availability with local market realities and profit opportunities.”