Nationwide marketing teams at the helms of large, multi-location brands (from franchises, retail chains and multi-branch service providers, to dealer networks and distributors, and more) are, to put it simply, spinning too many plates. Between balancing national and local initiatives, ensuring brand compliance, managing local marketers, overseeing the marketing supply chain and, ultimately, guiding prospective customers through their journeys to purchase and advocacy is hardly sustainable — at least, when done without the right tools.
That’s where through-channel marketing automation (TCMA) comes in. Also known as distributed marketing platforms, TCMA platforms are SaaS solutions designed to centralize brands’ 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.
The right TCMA platform can increase omnichannel marketing effectiveness, protect brand integrity, and lighten the load for corporate marketing leaders, supporting prospective customers on the journey from browser to buyer and beyond.
Let’s take a look at how:
Turning Local Leaders Into CMOs
Whether they’re franchisees or distribution partners, local brand representatives know their individual communities much better than the corporate team ever could, and they’re often skilled at building relationships in their markets. However, these local reps’ skill sets don’t always extend to marketing, which means corporate leaders are expected to play a heavy supporting role in local marketers’ efforts — despite their plates already being overloaded.
A TCMA platform, however, eases this burden by providing local leaders with easy access to the (corporate approved) resources and support they need to operate like highly sophisticated marketers. With pre-approved collateral templates for every channel – and access to production and distribution partners at their fingertips – local marketers have everything they need at their fingertips to create localized assets, manage corporate approved local campaigns, produce their goods – on brand, and launch local print and digital marketing campaigns that both align with national strategy and speak directly to their unique audiences.
This platform lifts the burden of oversight from the national leaders’ shoulders while providing full transparency into every aspect of local marketing efforts, including budget tracking, inventory count, success metrics, and more. And if corporate marketing wants additional controls, the platform locks down assets at the user level and/or automate workflow approvals, giving corporate marketing as much – or as little – control as they want.
The result: higher quality, further-reaching marketing campaigns with significantly lower stress for both local and national marketers.
Creating Consistency Across Channels
One of the key ways a TCMA empowers local marketers is by ensuring they never have to create collateral from scratch. First, because that’s a waste of time and resources when the national team has already provided everything local marketers need. Second, and even more important, because the more local reps are “reinventing the wheel,” the more they’re putting the brand in jeopardy through inconsistent design and messaging. The right TCMA platform, like OneTouchPoint’s U.Connect, can solve this problem by keeping pre-approved collateral (with controlled customization fields) at local marketers’ fingertips. When the time comes to create a campaign, there’s no need to start with a blank page (or to email corporate to ask them to send that brochure template just one more time), and no risk of accidentally distributing an outdated version. Instead, local marketers can quickly and easily find the content they need, customize it within the bounds of approved brand messaging (all determined at the user level), and either publish digitally or order print materials from an approved vendor — all within the platform.
Why is this so important? A key consideration for consumers’ buying decision is their experience with the brand, which involves the opportunity to interact consistently across multiple channels and in multiple formats. Creating consistency across every postcard, email, and social media post is hard enough on its own, but add a few dozen (or hundred) local marketers with their own perspectives and skillsets into the mix, and it can begin to feel unmanageable.
Automating Customer Intimacy
Today’s consumers want to feel as though they’re building authentic relationships with the businesses they support, and multichannel marketing is the primary way brands can foster this desired intimacy. Of course, communicating consistently with customers in the way they demand is easier said than done. These initiatives require significant time and resources that neither national brand leaders nor local marketing reps have to spare. Here again, TCMA can help lift that burden.
While automation of any kind tends to evoke the opposite of intimacy, TCMA is actually a powerful driver of customer relationships. That’s because what these platforms are automating is not the message, substance, or value a brand brings to customers, but the logistics: the coordination, the supply chain management, and the other minute aspects of marketing that, when handled manually, only add complications and obstacles to campaign creation. With a TCMA platform supporting those aspects of marketing, local and national marketers are free to focus on what really matters: building customer intimacy and loyalty through messaging and materials that will be eye-catching, informative, entertaining – and most importantly, on brand – no matter where customers encounter them.
Finding the Right Through-Channel Marketing Automation Partner
TCMA 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. However, as with so many business automations, finding the right platform is critical to achieving the desired results. The right TCMA platform, according to Forrester, accomplishes three things:
- “Provide robust support for all the channels their buyers rely on.”
- “Meet buyers’ demand for personalized, contextual engagement.”
- “Accommodate their partners’ capabilities and proclivities.”
OneTouchPoint’s U.Connect platform accomplishes these goals and more. We pride ourselves on providing 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. To learn more about how OneTouchPoint helps brands grow with through-channel marketing automation, we invite you to contact us to talk with our experts about how OneTouchPoint can deliver phenomenal results at a great price.