Entertain and Persuade for Superior Channel Marketing Management

June 3, 2014 Gary Ritkes

As a channel marketer, you know that marketing has to entertain and grab attention before anything else happens. Only once attention is won, can persuasion begin. But you work within constraints like ad space and ad time, so not every direct mail postcard, online display ad, or radio advertisement can both entertain and persuade.

The fact is consumers have shorter attention spans than ever before and the average consumer is exposed to anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand ads per day. You have probably noticed that to combat ad / message fatigue, advertisers are now often separating the attention grab from persuasion. Instead ads try to drive consumers to engage with a brand via a second medium. The first ad impression aims to get consumers to take some sort of action short of purchase, while providing a pathway to another ad that seeks to persuade.

Let’s talk specifically about how channel organizations, brands and manufacturers that sell through resellers, retailers, dealers, VARs and field agents, can setup those partners to succeed in this 2-step (entertain & persuade) model, where step one and two will most likely take place over two different mediums.

Channel Marketing Management Requires Grabbing Attention and Persuasion

There are a few different mediums a national brand can use to entertain and grab attention while urging potential customers to take a next step short of purchase – that’s step one. Step two involves positioning local partners as an immediate-trusted solution in the customer’s community ready to serve them; dividing the two steps correctly between brand and partners is good channel marketing management. Here are some examples of how this might play out.

TV & Radio to Local Web Page – A national pharmacy franchise uses TV and Radio to draw attention to the fact that tens of thousands of seniors die each year from pneumonia; the staggering number draws attention. Receiving a shot a pharmacy instead of a doctor’s office might seem odd to seniors, thus mention is made in the ad to “go online to see how easy it is.”

Meanwhile, the local web pages assigned to pharmacy franchisees are organically optimized for “Houston, pneumonia shot” and “pharmacy name, pneumonia shot,” etc. The site persuades with a quick video about how easy it is to get a pneumonia shot, a photo and information about the employees on staff that will do it, and of course store hours, directions and even appointment requests.

Direct Mail to Landing Page – An investment firm with semi-independent advisors scattered all over the US designs a creative direct mail piece that grabs the attention of high net worth individuals. The direct mail prominently shows dedicated URLs that host landing pages for the local advisors.

Interested direct mail recipients make their way to landing pages that persuades (with video, case studies, testimonials, calls-to-action and information about the advisor) visitors to fill out the form and receive a free consultation. The rest of the sale is handled over the phone by the financial advisor.

Email to Landing Page – A water filtration company that sells through local field agents rents a list of “green conscious consumers” to run email marketing on behalf of its field agents. The water filter has a high price point and not a ton of brand recognition so its sale requires significant persuasion.

The email campaign grabs attention with provocative subject lines like “Water in the 90045 zip code has X Chemical” or “Do You Know What’s in Your Water?” The body of the email contains attention grabbing information about the chemicals the local municipality puts in the water and provides a link to a landing page with more information. The landing page is shareable, has a contact form and phone number of the local field agent, and persuades the visitor about a lifetime of health benefits for a water filter that costs just a few hundred dollars.  

PPC and Display to Rep – Being that the “discover online, buy offline” phenomenon is stronger than ever, PPC and display advertising  for local partners makes sense, and after all you only pay when clicked. A paint manufacturer with a network of dealers all over the US wants to drive more traffic to storefronts. The brand defines and bids on local keywords, and writes PPC copy that grabs attention with “free delivery” and “match any paint”.

Of course the PPC copy can forward to a landing page, but if it’s mobile PPC, it can include a click-to-call link to the dealer, or the landing page can prominently display the phone number of the dealer. In either case, the dealer takes care of the persuasion, and call tracking can be reported.       

Now you may say all that sounds great, but with all those different vendors supplying different point solutions to my local partners it will be a nightmare to make it all work together, let alone track it. Well, it’s possible, but you will have to read here to find out how.

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The 2-step process of grabbing attention and persuasion is shared by brand and local distributor. Is your brand performing, or is there room to improve?

About the Author

Gary Ritkes

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.

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