How Local Marketers Are Sharing Customer Data with National Brands

May 3, 2013 Jared Shusterman

It used to be a forbidden subject. Ask a local marketer for their customer data? Thoughts of disintermediation...suspicion...mistrust.

National brands, selling through local independent dealers or affiliate sales channels, know how protective their partners can be over customer databases. But brands also understand the value of that data. The exact value. They understand the lifetime value of the customer, and how to grow that value, through effective marketing spend.

When a customer database is under the exclusive custody of the partner, the Brand's hands are tied. And local partners lack the marketing automation tools brands would typically employ, that efficiently target customers, placing all involved in a difficult situation.

Truth of the matter is, most local marketers will admit that they could use the help. They have their hands full running their businesses. And brands have that help to give, so how can both parties get around these issues and on the same team?

The onus is on the brand to bring a solution to their partners especially considering what is at stake. Here are a few helpful hints for national brands to build a strong customer lifestyle solution which incorporates local partner data:

  • Establish an intermediary. Given local partners won't give their customer data to the brand directly, find a vendor that can keep both parties interests in mind. The vendor selected should be the company that executes marketing tactics across all channels - traditional, digital and social.
  • Highlight independence. Local partners need to know that the intermediary isn't owned by the brand. this messaging, as well as a data policy, needs to be clear, uncompromising and repeatedly communicated.
  • Do the strategy. Many programs put self-service tools in the hands of local partners to drive local store marketing for themselves. For rule and behavior based customer life cycle marketing, brands need to be in the driver seat - with only a few local based preferences tweaking the campaigns.
  • Take on the maintenance. Brands have hundreds or thousands of local partner data-points to collect. And so brands should be constantly evaluating what's working to make tweaks at a macro level.
  • Automate or fail. Proper programs require a certain level of sophistication....making it easy to participate for local partners is the last key to success.

Strong marketing programs can be easy and show a demonstrable return when built properly - even paid for in full or part by local partners. Partners will jump all over the right program...all with cooperation and coordination, avoiding conflicts over customer data once fiercely guarded.

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About the Author

Jared Shusterman

Jared is the Chief Executive Officer of SproutLoud. Since 2006, he has been primarily responsible for strategic direction of the Company, as well as the oversight of SproutLoud's Partner ecosystem. Prior to SproutLoud, Jared worked in Thomas Weisel Partner’s internet and online advertising investment banking practice in San Francisco. He served as the lead analyst on a number of Corporate Finance and M&A deals including Newscorps’ buyout of Intermix Media (Myspace.com). Jared graduated with a B.A. in Finance and Marketing from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. Jared has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and is a member of the Young President's Organization (YPO). Jared has been honored as one of the Top 40 Under 40 Entrepreneurs by South Florida Business Journal and a Top 50 Entrepreneur by Business Leader Magazine. Jared lives in South Florida with his wife and two sons.

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