What Can Apple’s Latest Gaffe Teach You about Distributed Marketing?

March 21, 2013 Tim Paulson

Last week, ex-Apple President Jean-Louis Gassée made waves in an article titled Apple is Losing The War – Of Words. Stemming from Apple VP of Marketing Phil Schiller’s inaccurate (and rather un-Jobs-like) preemptive attack on the Samsung Galaxy S4, Gassée proclaimed that Apple “has lost control of the narrative.” If you think about it, he isn’t wrong. Not since the John Hodgman “I’m a Mac” commercials has Apple so actively and effectively shaped its own narrative. Now, Apple mainly lets the products speak for themselves.

The Internet Abhors a Vacuum

The vacuum Apple left behind in the conversation space has been filled with Samsung ads positioning themselves as the hip, next-gen technology, and Apple as the stodgy, Microsoftesque brand for your parents, as well as the endless barrage of “news” articles predicting and prognosticating the advent of the long-awaited but never materialized iPhone killer. Gassée’s article got me thinking about distributed marketing programs, because, come on, this blog isn’t exactly your first stop for Apple news and gossip. What fascinated me was the idea that even Apple, Steve Job’s Apple, could have trouble controlling their message. Competitor attacks and an adversarial media, those are jobs for PR firms, and, honestly, that’s what the above-referenced article is really about. But throw dozens, hundreds or even thousands of local marketers, retailers and franchisees into the mix, and any hope of managing a single, consistent message becomes a herculean task. Unless you have a distributed marketing provider. By utilizing a distributed marketing provider (DMP), you gain the tools to control your marketing message as much as you want.

Conflict Of Interest

Network members are business owners, and their business needs and yours may not always be in perfect sync. You may not want your logo sharing ad space with three of your competitors despite your network member wanting to demonstrate the breadth of their offerings. You also probably don’t want your normally-blue logo changed to green for a big St. Patrick’s Day promotion without you knowing.

Distributed Marketing to the Rescue

A DMP allows you to create marcom templates for your network and lock down key elements such as logos, imaging, promotion details and copy. You can even require network members to submit final assets to you for approval before they go out. A DMP worth half its salt is going to allow you to do all of this within an intelligent technology solution that is automated and user-friendly. The point is, you control the message, and you control your brand. And now your message can be communicated out to your customers in a single, melodic voice, and not the atonal nightmare of a hundred singers all trying to out-sing each other, and all singing a different song. Your brand is your greatest asset, and its voice is your most important attribute. Don’t risk falling behind in the war of words. The last thing you want to be is another Apple.

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