“The devil is in the details.”
This idiom rings true in many arenas, but especially so in distributed marketing. One misplaced field in your POS system could cause customers to get a marketing message that is meaningless to them. Any time there is a complex system with many interdependencies, attention to detail is of paramount importance in ensuring that automated systems run correctly.
Distributed marketing requires that systems be built to correctly integrate data points across many different platforms and tested to ensure that the system will not break down with a large influx of data. These technologies are built to save brands time and overhead costs, as well as to facilitate compliance. That can all go out the window if the system fails and none of your marketing assets reach the right people at the right time. For example, most systems have date of sale (DOS) as a field to track so that if a customer does not go back to the store in two months, they can be sent a coupon or reminder -- something to lure them back into the store. But imagine you are mapping your POS system into a marketing platform, and the DOS is inadvertently swapped with DOB, or date of birth. If something like this happens, everyone in your system will get at least two irrelevant and incorrect marketing pieces.
Here are two ways you can avoid such a situation.
Consolidate Marketing Platforms
If you have eight different solutions for your network -- two email systems, a social media platform, two direct mail providers, a promotional item producer, a website provider, and a local media buying company -- you have a lot of places to go to ensure all your brand’s data is sent and treated correctly. Consolidation is the key to limiting the discrepancies that multiple platforms can create. Instead of having several different point solutions that can lead to different data fields, metrics and APIs, use a marketing platform that brings multiple point solutions under one umbrella platform. Not only will it make it easier for you and your partners to come to one place, but it will also force the marketing data to this umbrella platform. This umbrella platform should normalize marketing data so you can easily see apples to apples comparisons and make informed deicsions regarding marketing strategy.
Test Your Data
It is important to test your system from the point of origin to the output of marketing assets with customizations. There is a lot that can go wrong -- sometimes in very unexpected ways. Testing data is how you can ensure that all marketing dollars are spent efficiently on correct marketing collateral.
Consolidating and testing your data will get you only so far. The most important part is making sure that your local partners participate in the programs that you offer. Make it as easy to enroll as possible, and make sure that customer data collection is as painless as possible for your partners and their customers. These are only a few of the methods to work through the multitude of details that can make the difference between a successful marketing program and a failed one. If you keep a close eye on even the smallest details, your distributed marketing platform will make life easier for you and your partners by generating higher brand awareness at the local level.
About the Author
Neil is a natural digital marketer with a mix of tech nerd, news junkie, and style. He began his marketing career in Boston with a specialization in SEO after graduating from Purdue University in Indiana. After a couple of years with a heavy SEO focus, Neil has branched out into the many other fascinating aspects of internet marketing.More Content by Neil Ingalls