On my way home the other day I heard a commercial from Panera Bread Company in which they talked about getting menu ideas from their customers. From my experience in the service industry, this is a great idea because it makes your customers feel valued. As a distributed organization, if you see the same kind of special requests coming from your network members – why not take their advice?
As a brand in the distributed space, you may be competing with other brands for that perfect merchandising or marketing space in local stores. If those local stores are consistently requesting the same types of changes on the marketing materials you provide, do you have a mechanism in place to collect, track, measure and implement this feedback?
Too often I've seen great suggestions and ideas coming from "the field" that get stuck in a bureaucratic quagmire because brands don't have a way to identify patterns and opportunities for execution. So make sure you're listening to your local partners -- its free market research!