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Top 5 ways that brands can reach remote workers in their local area in 2023
January 19, 2023
Coming out of Covid, communities across the country have fundamentally changed, with mass migration from cities to the countryside driving significant changes in the demographics and culture of neighborhoods.
One of the major drivers behind this trend has been the continued ability to work from home (WFH). ONS surveys suggest that about 40% of the workforce is now able to work remotely and the evidence is that many are splitting their working time between home and office-based working. And all indications are that the work from home trend is here to stay, with the government recently announcing a raft of new measures that will give employees greater access to flexibility over where, when, and how they work.
Marketers need to be aware of how the trend towards WFH is changing levels of footfall across the country and altering the DNA of communities. For example, recent research from analysts Placemake.io and Visitor Insights (based on anonymized phone data) found that the trend for working from home is leading to increased activity in many suburban and small towns. It also noted that city centres have seen a decline, and that seaside towns are significantly busier than before the Covid pandemic.
So, how can brands update their local marketing strategies to increase their ROI in this new working world? And how can they engage the WFH crowd when and where it matters most?
1) Forget the 5-day week
The Placemake.io research suggests that the typical week in the office now runs from Tuesday to Thursday. Brands in suburban areas should therefore be mindful of the fact that more people will be spending time in their local communities on Mondays and Fridays, and consider re-focusing marketing spend on these days. These will be the days when people working from home are most likely to pop out to the shops or run local errands. Conversely, companies targeting office districts may boost ROI by concentrating efforts on Tuesdays to Thursdays.
2) Review demographics
There are some areas in the country which experienced a sudden influx of newcomers: people who finally had the choice to live in their preferred location, without sacrificing their career or current job role. A notable increase in working adults in any given area may change the demographic and buying habits within neighborhoods. There may, for example, be a decrease in the average age and an increase in average disposable income. Now is a good time for brands to review demographics to make sure their marketing efforts are as impactful as possible.
3) Focus on real-world connection
One in five (20%) of us feel lonely at work on a typical working day, according to Mental Health UK, and remote workers are most impacted. Brands must pay attention to these emotional needs and update their marketing strategies accordingly. By encouraging more in-person and real-world connections, they will become a trusted part of the neighborhood. They will also play a role in solving a broader community challenge: ending loneliness.
4) Think local
Remote workers will be spending more time in their community, and they are therefore likely to build a much stronger affinity to the local area. Brands need to think about more than just where people are living and working, but how they can emotionally connect. While local businesses can dial up their independent identity to create an emotional connection, national brands need to go the extra mile to demonstrate their commitment to the local area.
5) Think longer-term
Over the past few years, brands and marketers have had to be agile – quickly adapting to the way people live and work. Now, data shows house prices are beginning to fall which will lead to an inevitable fall in the housing market and result in more residents and workers staying put. Companies can therefore feel a little more confident setting longer-term local marketing strategies.
The WFH crowd is not the only group that marketers need to engage – but they are one sub-audience that should not be under-estimated. These workers will be spending a significant amount of time in the local community and could become the biggest champions for your brand. Companies which pay close attention to where these individuals are spending their time, and what they want from their local community, will create meaningful connections with this uniquely engaged, influential audience.
By Gareth Walton, Head of EMEA Sales, Nextdoor