Marketing departments of big brands are constantly trying to find the right balance between national and local marketing initiatives. The big question has become, “What is more important, clearly reinforcing my brand’s awareness or mixing that message with something actionable -- like information about how to convert locally?” If you have channel partners that conduct your brand’s point-of-sale transactions, then you’ll want to start directing your consumers to them.
The single most critical component of successfully managing this shift is to employ a technological solution that will allow for automated marketing, asset management, co-op funds management and comprehensive analytics. But many are hesitant to move to a channel marketing management system, but there is no reason to stress out; it actually can make your life a lot easier. A single system can address most marketing challenges that brands will face when considering shifting messaging and calls-to-action to their local partners.
4 Concerns A Channel Marketing Platform Will Address:
- “I will lose control of my branding!”
Not quite. Brand compliance has historically been a problem when working with local partners for marketing. There are classic stories of colors being changed, tag lines tweaked and unauthorized offers broadcast to the detriment of the brand.
With a channel marketing management platform, you will be able to upload assets and lock down where and what local partners can customize. You protect the brand integrity. And the local marketers also get a valuable resource with your creative assets -- as they do not have the time nor the expertise to develop the same high level of quality. It is a win-win arrangement.
- “It will be impossible to manage!”
- “It will cost me more money!”
- "I have enough trouble measuring success, won’t this be impossible!?”
So many mediums, and so many local partners, how is managing this whole mess even possible!? Many brand marketers have had the mantra of “just make the message about the brand”, but often this is not aligned with the needs of the local partner, inhibiting their participation. By focusing on national campaigns without the capability of local customizations, brands are leaving the stores that actually sell their product(s) in the dark.
The automatic localization (versioning) of the messaging takes the agony out of managing hundreds or thousands of variations while making your advertising more relevant for your consumers
Happy byproduct: The evolution of digital and automated marketing also contributed to decentralization of its management. Most started out as 1-trick ponies which created a variety of siloed services, and brand marketers got used to it. One for direct mail, one for email, one for social media, one for PPC, and so it goes… A channel marketing management platform flips this paradigm with ONE platform that includes all important mediums, and one platform where you can track all of your local partners.
This one actually may be true -- but in a good way. If shifting your messaging from a brand to a localized focus means that more local partners will want to run those marketing programs, you may have higher engagement -- but you’ll probably have more sales too!
Depending on the size and complexity of your organization, utilizing a channel marketing system may cost money upfront, but less over time because of the primary advantage of improving the administration of co-op funds.
Co-op marketing combines brand and local marketing budgets to share the responsibility for implementing relevant marketing campaigns. Brands can choose to pay all or just a percentage of the marketing initiatives, depending on the medium, campaign, or the level of partner involvement. This flexibility will enable you get the best return out of the co-op dollars you invest.
It also eliminates the need for clunky reimbursement schemes. You can also save by enticing your local partners to get some skin in the game with their own marketing dollars.
Not necessarily -- after all, brand level campaigns usually are the ones that have no metrics in place for measurement. But with a good POS system, you can have local visibility on campaign redemptions, which is MUCH more valuable than trying to guesstimate results on brand level campaigns.
With a robust channel platform you’ll see success and failure across several mediums AND channels. You can see what campaigns are working, in which mediums they are working, and even where (geographically) they are working. Measuring success or failure in this much detail can inform all of your strategic marketing decisions. Over time this will enable your brand to develop smarter, more cohesive marketing initiatives.'
Smart brands have learned that the best way to drive sales is by partnering with their local points of distribution. By creating shared messaging with your local partner, they’ll be more apt to participate and a channel marketing platform is the glue that can make it all come to life.
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