How You Can Try a Local Marketing Platform Before You Buy It

April 15, 2015 Olivia Mitchell

“Try it before you buy it,” they say. We hear this phrase all the time. There’s a lot of risk involved with buying something that you may be unfamiliar with. The ability to try before buying is a great benefit, but it doesn't work for everything. As much as you’d like to try a pack of candy before you buy it, you can’t. Can you try out a local marketing automation platform before you buy it? Absolutely. But what does that look like?

The most common way to do this is with what some call a phased launch or a quick start program. As a marketer, you might have your local partners divided into groups based on sales activity or some other criterion. To embark on a phased launch, you can set up your local marketing platform and then introduce it to a small group of active partners. Allow these partners to test the platform -- during what you might name a “beta phase” -- and give you their feedback. Once that phase is over, you can decide if the platform is the right fit for the rest of your partners.

One benefit to this approach is that you mitigate risk. If you launch to a small group of partners, you aren't allocating as many resources as you would by launching to your entire network. If you decide that the platform is right for you, then you know that your initial investment isn't a waste. A marketing platform can cost thousands of dollars, so you want to make sure that your investment will be valuable for your network. The risk of investing in the wrong platform is one that you don’t have to take if you try the platform first.

Another benefit is that you can conduct this without involving your IT team. If you launch on a smaller scale, you won’t have to worry about some of the technical integrations that come with a larger program. Such integrations can take up a lot of time and energy from your internal teams. In trying out your local marketing platform first, you make sure that the resources needed for these integrations are a worthy investment.

With a phased launch, you also have the opportunity to get your partners’ feedback before taking the plunge with the marketing platform. Imagine if you were to make a full financial commitment to a local marketing portal only to find out that your partners are not very happy about it. The costs go far beyond your budget. Your partners may lose faith in you, and that could bring irreversible damage to your relationships with them and your brand. Before you open the portal up to your entire network, make sure that your partners will enjoy using it.

Trying before buying may be unheard of in some industries, but not in the local marketing automation world. You can find a platform that will allow you to launch with a small financial investment. This small investment should enable some of your partners to test the platform and let you know how they like it. By starting off small, you not only have confidence that you’re making the right decision for your business, but you also know that your partners support that decision. That support plays a big role in building your brand at the local level.

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Can you try before you buy your local marketing automation platform? Yes -- and you should. Read more to find out how.

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