Regional Australia. It’s the new black.

Is it time to rethink your regional #marketing spend?

The word is out: Brands are already missing a key media opportunity in regional Australia. To reach this lucrative market, they’ll also need to rethink what they know about regional consumers.

If I asked you to come up with a campaign to launch a new range of feminine hygiene products, you’re not likely to round up a group of guys and ask them about what women look for in a tampon. That’s how we ended up with blue liquid demonstrations to begin with…

So why is it, that when a brief targeting regional Australia comes through at agencies in metro areas, the people who spent a weekend in Mudgee last year for a wedding suddenly become the experts on all-things beyond Bondi? Or the team starts collectively Googling things like, “what is a B&S”….

It’s likely because of thoughts like:

“I can imagine what it’d be like out there.”

“I went to a music festival in the bush once.”

Or worse… “They’re not all that clever, so we’ll get by.”

That’s not a great position to be in: We call it an outsight, what someone looking at an issue without bothering to get inside it.

An ‘outsight’ in marketing is a dangerous thing, because the assumptions forms the basis of future campaign design and thinking, all without any first hand experience or grounded insights coming from the market they are trying to reach.

That’s how we end up with lazy perceptions like “those folks in regional NSW aren’t all that fashionable or tech savvy either”.

If that were the case, how did Zara open a new concept store in Kotara last year and have a line-up of the most enthusiastic shoppers already waiting? Or the fact that two of the top five postcodes with the highest growth in online shopping are outside Sydney – while the other three are located well outside of a 20km radius from Sydney’s CBD.

And why are NSW farmers and communities working with investors and engineers at innovation hubs, like in Wagga Wagga, using precision agtech, real-time livestock or crop monitoring including drones, smart ear tags or even cow pregnancy sensors. That’s right people, the cows phone home now!

Sloppy research or marketing deserves a chunky slap to the over moisturised chops, because here’s the thing…

Money is our common ground, which was the idea behind it all to begin with. And regional Australian dollars are currently burning holes in those recently-bought pant pockets from Zara. It doesn’t matter what you think about regional Aussies, they will still spend their money. And they’ll do it on their terms.

The gang at Boomtown have run the numbers, and know that 36% of the population have just 10% of the national media spend aimed at them, and there is plenty of space to reach customers who don’t have the onslaught of brands metropolitan audiences can have.

That’s a massive gap: READ AS opportunity to connect brands with receptive audiences that are actually open to brand experiences.

At Enigma, we have done our fair share of campaigns, activations and interactions across regional Australian markets and in our capital cities. We know the malaise of meeting another brand activation in Martin Place on the morning commute is countered by genuine interest by eager consumers in regional markets.

Our campaign thinking is based on a range of psychographic as well as demographic data, to develop a greater and more meaningful connection with the people relevant to the brands we partner with. With three quarters of our team based outside of metropolitan areas, we’re a little more connected than your average agency to a bigger picture of how Australia thinks, feels and acts. Here’s a small sample of our work.

In marketing buzzword bingo, regional Australia is the new Grey Tsunami, is the new Millennials, and it’s a massive Sleeping Giant. So when it opens its eyes, wouldn’t it be great to serve those fresh eyeballs some great content that shucks the old stereotypes?

We think so too.

* No regional Australians were harmed in the making of this viewpoint. Some metropolitan egos may have been bruised. Our regional and metropolitan offices were all involved in the development of this topic. (You googled B&S didn’t you…)