Originally, Marketing Automation (MA) as an industry was heavily focused on catering to the enterprise level client, the brand. MA as it applied to the local marketer was of secondary importance; give them the self-service tools, maybe a few co-op marketing dollars, and hope that something productive happens at the local level. Marketing Automation Platforms (MAP) went underutilized and the programs those platforms offered suffered poor adoption.
Marketing Resource Management (MRM) companies that have already built out mature products and services to serve enterprise level brand clients are logically turning their attention to the local marketer level; more advanced products and services are being offered to network partners everyday as the potential for MRM companies to serve at this level is infinitely greater.
As Marketing Automation Platforms orient themselves towards local marketers and delivering more advanced programs, there are two somewhat pedestrian yet very important concerns to worry about that affect the success of the whole system: MAP adoption and optimal MAP usage.
Marketing Automation Platform Adoption – Not So Automated
There has to be a lot of forethought that goes into the upfront strategy and plan, without that, there will be no adoption. There are a few key factors to keep in mind when planning an adoption strategy:
- Tonality – The brand must address the local marketer as the expert. Not only is it important to keep this in mind when developing an adoption strategy, but also when designing the promotional messaging brand and local marketer will push together.
- Local Marketer First, the Brand Second – A local marketer must know that even though they will be deploying brand created programs they will be able to promote themselves first and the brand second.
- Enrollment – The incentive to enroll must be clear and communicated properly. The brand with the help of the MRM company has to launch an effective enrollment campaign that appeals to the needs of the network partner.
Optimal MAP Usage, the Marketing Automation Platform Playbook
Addressing local marketers properly and getting them enrolled was the easy part, now you have to ensure that the MAP and the programs it offers are being utilized to the fullest. Keep in mind, they usually aren’t because often times a local marketer has never used a MAP before. The key is to simplify for your local marketers the features of the MAP with a MAP Playbook that packages subsets of features into whole programs with clear presentations.
Parts of the Marketing Automation Platform Playbook
- Overview – Describes how the “Play” or program will interact with its intended audience by explaining where it fits in the buyer’s journey and visually sequences all communications with the customer.
- Testimonial – Features a local marketer who has successfully used the Play before.
- Time-to-Market Indicator – It may seem too simple, but explicitly stating the number of days it takes to get a program fully running is relevant to a local marketer.
- Bundled Forms – Includes a Program Initiation Document and all other request forms for the information needed to build the individual campaign tactics like email templates, landing pages, etc.
- Templated – The playbook itself should be templated as it is a reusable framework that can be used to arrange various packages of distinct features. A process for how to handle incoming Program Initiation Documents and accompanying request forms for certain Playbooks can be considered the backend of the template.
Addressing network partners properly from the outset and reminding them of their importance sets the tone for enthusiastic enrollment. Once enrolled, MAP Playbooks can increase program uptake by packaging complementary features Marketing Automation Platforms offer and clarifying their benefit and deployment.
About the Author
Gary Ritkes, President of SproutLoud, oversees all Business Development and Marketing for the company. Gary, a pioneer in the emerging vertical of Distributed Marketing Technology, is an industry leader and innovator with 20+ years experience in graphic communications and marketing strategy. Gary has been involved with SproutLoud since the inception of the company. Prior to joining SproutLoud, Gary was VP of Marketing for Rex Three, Inc., SproutLoud’s first and largest vendor among its network of providers. He has served many Fortune 1000 clients and worldwide advertising agencies in providing marketing technology direction and optimization. He was an original founder of U.S. based Earth Color Group and co-founder of Advanced Digital Services (ADS), which was sold in 1996 to publicly traded Katz Digital Technologies. He has served as a board member of the local chapter of the American Advertising Federation chapter and other national industry associations, including the DMA and AGA.More Content by Gary Ritkes