5 Tips for Marketing to Chicagoland in 2021

5 Tips for Marketing to Chicagoland in 2021

If you’ve decided to market to Chicago, you have to do it right. Marketing to Chicagoland in 2021 requires study and interaction with the city itself before it can truly speak to Chicago consumers. When done right, Forbes explains, “tapping into [the Chicago market] can make a business a household name, as well as create a faithful group of advocates who not only take advantage of a business’s services but draw in people in their network.”

Below are five tips to start marketers on their journey to successfully marketing to Chicago’s beautiful city and its faithful locals.

Appeal to Chicago Pride

The people make the city. They’re helpful, friendly, proud, hardworking, and there’s a “soul of Chicago” that can’t be easily described or found in other cities. It’s just felt through experiences from tourists and locals alike. Chicago has its own identity, and many people feel pride in it, especially when it comes to their undying commitment to Chicago sports teams. It is important to appeal to that pride.

The number one rule to remember is simple: Don’t sponsor Chicago’s sports competitors.

As the chairman of the Chicago White Sox, Jerry Reinsdorf, recently said, “The City of Chicago is home to the very best sports fans in the world. For every sports team in Chicago, our fans have been there for us, in both good times and bad.”

Even with the Cub’s third-worst record in baseball and the infamous “Curse of the Billy Goat,” fans showed immense support and pride for the team. If you support sports competitors, it’s a guarantee Chicago sports fans will stubbornly avoid your product/services.

Get Endorsements from Local Radio Personalities

Using endorsements from radio hosts on local channels will help marketing convey trust to locals. Not only are these hosts already established in the daily lives of locals (sometimes for decades), but they’re representative of the population as well. They live the same lifestyle, know the city’s trends, and speak the same language. They’re already trusted, so when they endorse you, you will automatically be trusted as well.

Studies show that 1 in 2 radio listeners have a favorite radio personality whom they’ve listened to for an average of 8 years, and 84% say that they would follow their favorite to a new station. Such a commitment could go a long way in your marketing efforts if you successfully make a radio endorsement work for your brand.

For instance, WDRV ‘s Sherman & Tingle Show hosted an event benefiting ASPCA, during the fifth annual “Operation: Santa Paws” in December 2020.  They raised over $20,000 in only eight hours at the live on-air event.  Mike’s Hard Lemonade was the sponsor of the successful event.

Local Newsjacking

Newsjacking is the incorporation of personal thoughts and opinions on recent, important news stories to bring attention to your own content and brand. According to Content Marketing Institute, “newsjacking can have an immediate impact, allowing brand marketing efforts to either become part of the trend or get out ahead of it as it’s happening, capturing the highest traffic for popular keyword and hashtag searches.”

Newsjacking can be used for local issues and events, which are important to Chicago consumers but may not matter outside of the city. For instance, the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series. Brands were quick to jump on the big win and piggy-back off the end of a long-time losing streak. Just look at Fatigue Science, who incorporated their brand into the win, saying that the Cubs were “counting on its players being deep sleepers to get it there. What impact is fatigue having on your athletes’ performance?”

Partner with Local Causes

Cause marketing can be useful when the cause will impact the Chicago community or if the cause originates from a group within Chicago. Engage for Good reveals that “when consumers think a brand has a strong Purpose, they are 4.1 times more likely to trust the company,” and there’s nothing that says “strong Purpose” like partnering with local causes that directly affect Chicagoans.

An excellent way to increase your brand awareness is through Cause marketing. You work together with a non-profit or another company to support a meaningful cause while expanding your brand awareness and sales to your partner’s audience. For inspiration and ideas, take a look at Greater Chicago Food Depository partnerships. Many of them have established significant support and change within the community while bringing positive attention to their brands.

Sponsor Community Events

Another effective method is to become part of the community and raise brand awareness by sponsoring small, local events instead of huge sports arenas. When you opt for smaller venues that may not have as many eyes, you show locals you are committed to the community, not just the sales. Great places to start when considering what and where to sponsor community events are organizations specific to Chicago and committed to the growth, success, positive change, and support of locals.

Among the many options to choose from, there is BUILD Chicago, whose mission is “to engage at-risk youth in schools and on the streets to help them realize their potential and contribute to our communities.” They even offer sponsorship and support assistance by “listen[ing] to what you want to accomplish with your support and match[ing] you or your company with a program, event, or initiative that not only has a tremendous impact on young people but connects you in a meaningful way to a legacy of positive change in Chicago’s most challenged communities.”

Chicago vs. Other Cities

The above tactics could be especially useful when dealing with Chicago versus other cities/rural areas. This isn’t to say that other cities can’t be successfully marketed to in some way by appealing to their local pride and sports team support, but it doesn’t seem to be as influential. Chicagoans support their city and teams through significant ups and downs without falter, while many other city locals support the parts that are always thriving. There’s a loyalty you get from Chicago locals that can’t be seen anywhere else.

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