What Is a ‘Localized Business’?

In a nutshell: A localized business is a business with one or more physical locations where they serve nearby customers. Localized businesses benefit from Near-user Marketing.

When we describe the businesses we have tailored Near-user Marketing to serve, we use the term  “localized” instead of “local.” “Local” is sometimes used to denote small, single-location businesses, and many local businesses do not primarily target nearby customers.

Localized businesses can have one or many locations. What localized businesses all have in common is that they target customers near those locations.

Businesses should consider if they are a localized business before diving into Internet marketing strategies and tactics. Considering the many advantages that a localized business has online; it’s an important consideration.

Customers Are Nearby

A localized business is one that chooses to market its products or services through a physical location (or locations) situated in a reasonable proximity to its customers. Confusion may arise in thinking of “local” businesses (nearby businesses) as localized businesses. A “local” business may or may not be a localized business. The distinction is rooted in the geography of the market that business serves, and the business’s proximity to that market.

‘Localized’ Does Not Mean ‘Small’

Adding to the confusion, “local” sometimes implies that the business is nearby, and other times implies that it is small. For example, you might say, “John is the owner of a local business that makes furniture.” In reality, John may not sell his chairs locally, but might depend on retailers to sell his chairs throughout the country. His business may be very large. He may sell chairs as a retailer, but only through his website’s online store. In both cases, John’s local business is not a localized business because he doesn’t sell something to, or serve, a market near to his location. His location is somewhat irrelevant in terms of how he reaches his audience. On the other hand, if John has a retail outlet where he sells chairs and his most likely market comprises people who live or visit his area, then he is operating a localized business.

What Is and Isn’t a Localized Business?

While a localized business can be a small business, it can also be a national or international brand with its sales and/or service outlets as individual stores. It can be a “mom and pop”-owned dry cleaner or a national brand like Wells Fargo. It’s not Amazon, Kellogg’s, or Cisco Systems.

More examples of localized businesses include regional banks with branches and regional restaurant franchises, along with single-location accounting firms or electronics stores.

One example of a business category that is not localized are those that sell products to a national audience through an online or mail order distribution system. Businesses that provide products or services to other businesses may or may not be localized. For example, a CPA may be a specialist in a specific area and in demand nationally. The office may be in a remote area that is close to an airport, but not close to any clients. Meanwhile, another CPA may only serve clients within a 25-mile radius. The latter is a localized business, the former is not. Being localized depends less on the industry and more on the proximity between the business location(s) and its market(s).

Some businesses are both localized and non-localized. Manufacturers, for example, are typically not localized businesses, unless they serve a nearby market through an outlet store. A company that provides services or products to other businesses is typically not a localized business, unless its primary target market is within geographic proximity and that proximity is relevant to the product and/or service exchange.

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