Digital Disconnect: The Push for Genuine Local Engagement

Roadside Republic
4 min readFeb 13, 2024

I feel like 2024 is my era.

The skills and experience I earned back in the early 2000s are beginning to come back around as “the new thing.” So I guess it’s true that you just have to wait long enough and everything becomes popular once again.

Let me explain…

I learned guerrilla marketing and business tactics working with mom & pop convenience stores for almost 10 years. Helping the little guys get an edge on branded c-stores was no easy feat, but we did it again and again.

We brought in more foot traffic to these mom & pops, increased their in-store sales, customer loyalty, and at the end of the day, even raised the overall value of the business when the owners sold and moved on.

I probably worked with 3000+ convenience stores across the U.S. and learned what it truly means to provide hyper local marketing, getting inside the consumer’s head to understand what was important to them and why.

Heck, I even got so good at talking to consumers, that we went 7 layers deep together to uncover and articulate what the customer didn’t know they wanted, but what emotionally made them make decisions about spending and satisfaction.

I spent soooo much time at convenience stores, y’all. And today, it makes me happy to find all the mom & pop ones I can, and patronize that business rather than the ginormous branded gas station occupying 10X the real estate down the street — but I digress.

It was this informal “boots-on-the-ground” marketing experience that makes me wildly excited for the transition I’m seeing today towards more hyper focused marketing at the micro-local level.

Old School Marketing is making a comeback.

Here’s the scoop: Studies show that younger folks are pretty keen on authenticity. This we know. And data is actually reflecting that folks would rather have a heartfelt chat in a local cafe than be bombarded with another ad online.

We are sick to death and distrustful of video marketing ads, this according to HubSpot.

And guess what’s popping up now? Good old-fashioned direct mail and guerrilla marketing. Yep, getting a personal mailer feels kinda special in this digital age now.

USPS even did a study looking at millennials and direct mail.

Businesses are ditching the wide net for a local focus, aiming to be the neighborhood’s go-to by getting involved in what matters to us. They are hitting the streets with flyers and deals, making sure we know they’re more than just a logo; they’re part of our daily lives.

And it’s not just about selling us stuff. It’s about building real relationships, supporting local causes, and making sure we feel connected.

The Harvard Business Review reported on this trend which started to surface in 2022.

Statistics show that over 90% of search engine users are looking online to find local businesses. By focusing on hyper local marketing, businesses should spend more time on their Google My Business profile and local online directories, according to Forbes most recent Local Marketing in 2024 guide.

This is my jam! Grass roots, baby. Reaching people in that golden 3–5 radius from the business.

Here are the perks from hyper local marketing

Boost Your Visibility: Local marketing isn’t just effective; it’s essential for putting your business on the map. Social media platforms and targeted ads are your best friends here, helping you reach potential customers who might not know you exist.

Climb the Search Rankings: Being on the first page of search results is crucial since most folks don’t bother looking beyond it. Using various local marketing strategies can help you climb higher in these rankings, ensuring more people find your business.

Save Your Pennies: One of the best things about local marketing is how cost-effective it is. Tools like Google Business Profile can significantly boost your visibility without costing a dime. Sure, it takes time to optimize everything, but the return on investment is well worth it.

Understand and Serve Your Customers Better: Local marketing gives you insights into who your customers are and what they want. This information is gold, enabling you to tailor your services and connect more deeply with your community.

Build a Loyal Customer Base: Excellent customer service leads to happy customers, which leads to brand loyalty. When customers feel connected and appreciated, they’re not just more likely to come back; they’ll also spread the word, acting as free advertisers for your business.

In a nutshell, local marketing is about more than just advertising; it’s about building relationships, understanding your community, and growing your business in a sustainable, impactful way.

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Roadside Republic

We are insanely passionate about roadside stands and our goal is to create a network of roadside destinations across the US. https://stan.store/RoadsideRepublic