When you’re a national brand leader overseeing marketing efforts from multiple local brand representatives, it can feel as though you’ve got two highly demanding full-time jobs. Not only are you in charge of creating global marketing campaigns and branding strategies, but you’re also in charge of ensuring every local rep produces and implements campaigns that meet the brand standards for design, messaging and production quality.
And in both jobs, the stakes are high: consumers today are fully in the driver’s seat when it comes to selecting product and service providers, and a key part of their selection process is their experience with the brand. They expect to interact with brands they patronize across multiple channels and in multiple formats, and they want those interactions to be consistent. If customers’ branding expectations aren’t met, Salesforce reports, 73 percent say they’ll take their business elsewhere. That’s a tall order on its own. Throw in a few dozen local marketing reps to oversee, and it can begin to feel unmanageable.
Your company’s local marketers know their markets well, and they’re savvy business people — that’s why corporate hired them! But they’ll often have their own perspectives about what constitutes effective marketing, and those may not align with the brand standards you, in the global office, have created. That said, you don’t have several hours a week to guide local marketers through the ins and outs of asset creation, place their orders for them and track their expenses. And you definitely don’t have time to juggle all the local marketing execution needs on your own.
So, how can you, the global marketing leader, oversee local marketing initiatives and protect brand standards without spreading yourself too thin?
Empower Local Marketers to Do It Themselves — Within the Boundaries You’ve Established
The key to protecting brand integrity without having to spend hours micromanaging or, worse, just doing it yourself, is setting up systems that make it easy for local marketers to do it themselves — and do it right. Here are three ways to get started:
1. Centralize the Latest Assets for Easy Access, Personalization and Approval
Sure, you’ve emailed your local reps the PDF of the latest POS signage approximately ten times each, but are they using it? Or are they using last year’s signage with outdated promotions and the old version of the company logo? You can’t see or control what’s on local marketers’ hard drives, so if you’re relying on them to keep their own asset folders up to date, you lose a degree of control, and you end up having to do a whole lot more handholding or clean up more messes when the wrong assets get produced and mailed.
But what if there was a central, cloud-based hub where you could keep all the latest, approved marketing assets (and none of the outdated versions), that local marketers could access easily, twenty-four-seven? They could instantly download assets that don’t require personalization, or they could personalize branded templates according to your established brand guidelines and quickly submit them for approval.
You, as the national leader, no longer have to shepherd the design process or fret about subpar marketing assets, while local reps feel empowered to create effective campaigns on their own, without “corporate breathing down their necks.”
2. Make Production a Breeze by Giving Local Reps On-Demand Access to a Trusted Printing and Fulfillment Partner
Once the design and messaging are squared away, the next piece of marketing execution where it’s easy to lose control is in production. Who are local reps using to print collateral? Are they saving a buck by going to a lower-quality vendor down the street? Are they overpaying somewhere else? Or, are you having to manage all the printing orders for them in order to maintain quality standards and stick to the budget?
The good news is, this is another process that’s fairly simple to streamline. Identify a trusted production and distribution partner that can handle on-demand and bulk printing for all your assets. Ideally, you’ll find a partner who can produce traditional, small-format collateral as well as the special, grand-format items and who has expertise in variable data printing, kitting and mailing. By committing to one partner for both national and local marketing initiatives, you ensure consistent quality across all your print orders. But just because you’re limiting execution to one vendor doesn’t mean you have to handle all the print orders yourself. Give local reps access to the printer, allowing them to order and track their own materials on demand from that same, centralized hub.
Again, local reps are empowered to take control over their marketing initiatives, but you’ve made it easy for them to create quality, cost-effective material by giving them on-demand access to your preferred vendor.
3. Keep Inventory and Expenses Where You Can See Them
Of course, as the global brand leader, you can’t be entirely hands-off. Somebody’s got to keep track of expenses, inventory and KPIs. Empowering local marketers to create and execute their own print campaigns means far less micromanaging for you, but it may also lead to less visibility into how much your leaders are spending, how much stock is on hand and what’s working and what’s not.
Sure, you could rely on each local marketer to report key data on a regular basis, but that means spending time requesting, reminding, following up, gathering data and converting it into a cohesive, insightful report. Instead, what about building in a system that tracks expenses, inventory and other important stats for you, taking the reporting burden off local reps’ shoulders and making it easy get a clear picture of status and progress — by location or overall — at any moment.
As a national marketing leader, your brand is your priority, but the more “cooks in the kitchen,” the harder it can be to stay in control without spreading yourself too thin. At OneTouchPoint, your brand is our priority, too, and we take pride in helping clients streamline local marketing efforts to ensure highly effective print campaigns every time. To learn more about our about our end-to-end print marketing support capabilities, we invite you to contact OneTouchPoint today.