Survey of local marketers show that some traditional tactics fair better than others on the local level.

According to our State of Local Marketing Report, Brandmuscle uncovered a tough truth about the way many dealers, agents and franchisees market their businesses: they’re more comfortable using old tools regardless of whether or not those tools are the best to get the job done.

Think of this as building a house using only your favorite tool – except your favorite tool is a hammer. Sure the hammer is one tool you need to complete the project, and you’ve become an absolute expert with it, but the hammer is much more effective when combined with newer tools. For instance, a nail gun. If you are willing to learn how to use the nail gun, you could be more effective and speed up the process.

For local dealers, agents and franchisees, however, the marketing version of a “nail gun” might be even scarier than actual power tools. Think paid search or social media marketing. Also, if the traditional “hammer” is still working, they may not see a need to upgrade.

Old tools like hammers, saws and wrenches laid out on a rustic bench.

Some traditional tools and tactics still work in Local Marketing. Do you know which ones?

According to our study, traditional marketing tactics like coupons, direct mail and newspaper advertising still function as basic building blocks for many local marketing programs. These tried-and-true tactics are still effective for reaching customers and are familiar for local marketers.

On the other hand, some traditional tactics aren’t as effective and are being replaced with newer tools. Think of these as the “handsaw” of marketing – a tool that has mostly been replaced with more powerful alternatives like miter saws and radial saws, which perform a similar function in a much more dynamic and efficient manner. As an example, we found that traditional Yellow Page listings have seriously declined in usage and satisfaction with the growth of online search, digital directories and social media.

So how can marketers look at traditional tactics and determine which one is the trusty hammer and which one is the outdated handsaw?

Understanding industry trends can help, which is one reason we published The 2014 Brandmuscle State of Local Marketing Report. An understanding of marketing trends can help corporate marketers see how best practices are applied in similar business models.

Ultimately, though, determining which tactics will drive customers to your local affiliates requires both art and science. Reviewing numbers and trends can hint at what it takes to achieve success, but a combined expertise of corporate branding and local know-how can be the perfect mix.

Which traditional tactics still work for you? What doesn’t work?  How do you determine what works on a local level so you can shift your efforts? Let us know in the comments below.