Plan your Local Marketing Strategy First, Save Time Later

September 2, 2011 Jared Shusterman

Your channel marketing plan - do you have one? You've made the decision to move forward with giving your local sales and distributed marketing channels top-notch marketing support. You are about to embark on creating the best online marketing center there is for your organization for local-level and field marketing support.

You've thought about your local marketing programs, you've had your design team create your art files and templates for local access, you've chosen the marketing mediums (direct mail, e-mail, social) you want to support, you've managed to create excitement within your organization. You've selected the software and partner to help you support your initiatives. So what's next? The first word of advice we give all our clients is PLAN. Amidst all the excitement, as well as the many other things on your agenda, its often easy to overlook the single-most important step in the distributed marketing process - planning. Without planning, all the effort you put into coordinating the set-up of local marketing tools for your sales channels can lead to a load of headaches and maintenance issues later. And when there is IT integration connecting software systems, it can get even worse. We've heard horror stories, and admittedly made some of our own mistakes earlier in the history of our company.

To make for a strong support system that doesn't become a time-suck for you and your department after the launch of your new marketing programs, here are a few reasons why it is so important:

Marketing Content Permissions Even though it may not be on your radar to start, invariably your marketing strategy will grow and evolve. Your marketing materials and programs may be restricted to different end-users in your software, or groups of people/businesses. As the marketing tools and program initiatives gain company-wide visibility, other departments may even jump on the band-wagon. Pretty soon, the VP of Sales wants to know how he can use this system to support his/her own sales people out in the field. Think about all the different groups of people in your organization that may use your online marketing center, and how you may want to restricted access to your marketing programs, materials and co-op fund support. By charting out your "Account Groups", you can design your site to keep content permissions maintained. If you plan to have your website integrated with your marketing center, make sure your IT group knows the plan. If you don't do this now, you may find your team having to manually update content permissions later as new users get added to your system, or user responsibilities / titles change in the course of business.

Template Maintenance What content changes often on your art files? Is it copyright dates? Pricing? Products and promotions? By putting some thought to this up-front, you can build a proper content linking strategy so templates update with little effort - keeping all your sales and marketing materials interconnected from one data-source.

Reporting How do you look at your sales and marketing reports internally? Do you segment this data by region, channel category, or department? Knowing and planning for this up-front can ensure you receive the reports you need as your online marketing center and distributed marketing strategy grows.

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About the Author

Jared Shusterman

Jared is the Founder and Managing Partner of SproutLoud. Since 2005, 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 ( 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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