For brands whose products and services are sold in multiple locations, by multiple partners and reps (think franchises, multi-location retail chains or multi-branch service providers, distributors, etc.), one of the biggest marketing challenges is maintaining brand integrity from location to location.
Whether they’re franchisees or distribution partners, local brand representatives best understand their community and are often skilled at building relationships in their markets. Oftentimes their skill sets don’t always extend to marketing, and as a brand, you want to ensure continuity of your brand – and message – across markets. Customers today expect consistent, quality, multichannel interactions with the brands they buy from — and they’re ready and willing to find a new provider if those expectations aren’t met.
Because the stakes for consistency and quality are so high, national marketing leaders can’t afford to take a “live and let live” approach, which often means they’re spending significant time handholding and micromanaging local marketers to avoid conflicting messaging, renegade collateral design, or other brand dilution. Of course, all that work is on top of these brand leaders’ already full plates and can shift their focus away from the core responsibilities that are integral to growth.
To eliminate both the overwhelming task of brand management, local marketing and supporting local marketers, savvy marketing leaders are looking for ways to empower local brand representatives to create and deploy high-quality campaigns that adhere to brand standards — with little to no input from the national team. Many of them are turning to Through-Channel Marketing Automation technology to get the job done.
What Is Through-Channel Marketing Automation?
Also known as distributed marketing platforms, Through-Channel Marketing Automation platforms are SaaS solutions that help brands centralize their distributed marketing efforts, enabling retailers, distributors, agents, franchisees, and any other local brand representatives to quickly access approved marketing collateral and resources twenty-four-seven.
How Can Through-Channel Marketing Automation Help My Brand?
To put it simply, a Through-Channel Marketing Automation platform provides local marketers with the resources and support they need to operate like a CMO. With preapproved collateral templates for every channel and access to production and distribution partners at their fingertips, no local marketer will ever feel the need to “reinvent the wheel” and risk diluting the brand with campaigns that don’t meet national standards. Nor will they need to reach out to the executive team for materials and support.
The burden of oversight and micromanagement is lifted from the national leaders’ shoulders. And even better, the right Through-Channel Marketing Automation platform will also provide transparency into every aspect of local reps’ marketing efforts, including budget tracking, inventory count, success metrics, and more. That means that, rather than spending time tracking down reports from dozens of team members or disparate systems, brand leaders can get the near-real-time data they need at any given moment.
What Should I Look for in a Through-Channel Marketing Automation Platform?
For brands looking to streamline their local marketing efforts, a Through-Channel Marketing Automation platform can be a powerful advantage. But where to begin the search? In The Forrester Wave™: Through-Channel Marketing Automation, Q2 2020, Forrester identifies three key criteria Through-Channel Marketing Automation buyers should look for in the providers they consider:
1. “Provide robust support for all the channels their buyers rely on.”
Today’s buyers are accustomed to communicating with brands across a variety of digital and print channels, and they prefer to buy from brands that can meet them where they are with relevant information and value. So it stands to reason that businesses should search for Through-Channel Marketing Automation platforms that can support their initiatives in every marketing channel — not just one or two.
2. “Meet buyers’ demand for personalized, contextual engagement.”
Not only do customers demand consistent communication, but they also want it to be personalized. Recent research from Marketo found that 79 percent of consumers say they are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalized to reflect previous interactions they’ve had with the brand. And McKinsey reports that personalization can reduce acquisition costs by as much as half, lift revenues by up to 15 percent and increase marketing spend efficiency by up to 30 percent. To reap these benefits, ensure that any Through-Channel Marketing Automation platform you’re vetting enables users to personalize key information within pre-approved templates.
3. “Accommodate their partners’ capabilities and proclivities.”
This goes back to the notion that many of the local marketers aren’t actually marketers — that’s not why they were hired, and it’s not the core of their job. And yet, they’re still responsible for high-quality marketing. A Through-Channel Marketing Automation platform should make their jobs easier with user-friendly support for everything from localizing marketing collateral to direct mail campaigns to social media retargeting. The simpler it is to execute effective campaigns — and see the resulting success — the more every brand partner will be willing to interact with the platform.
Through-Channel Marketing Automation is a powerful way for businesses to meet customer engagement demands without diminishing brand integrity or overloading their own plates with manual marketing support requirements. At OneTouchPoint, our U.Connect platform provides our partners with a centralized marketing hub and full-service support that empowers reps at every level to create and launch powerful marketing campaigns that build brand awareness and drive growth at every turn.