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“Quick Design Requests” Cost More Than You Think: A Case for Through-Channel Marketing Automation

All those collateral requests put a bigger burden on your brand than you realize. Learn why TCMA is the better choice.

For multi-location brands like franchises, nationwide retailers or service providers, it can seem like the requests for new marketing collateral never stop coming. The store manager in Austin needs a point-of-sale poster to advertise an upcoming local promotion, while the Midwest sales rep wants a leave-behind flyer highlighting this season’s new products, and the corporate marketing team needs to advertise the same new products via social media graphics.

With all these requests coming in at once, it may seem like the easiest option is to forward them on to your in-house design team—or the handful of trusted freelancers who know your brand standards inside and out and turn the collateral around quickly.

Here’s the catch, though: every “quick design request” takes away from the time the design experts’ have to work on bigger, more strategic projects for your brand. (And, in the case of freelance designers, each request means spending money to have your designer basically recreate something she’s already spent her time—and your money—creating.) The designers get frustrated with the onslaught of distractions, the delays start to pile up (tempting local marketers to DIY their own collateral, to varying results), and before you know it, all those “easy” requests have cost more in lost opportunities and clean-up efforts than they were worth.

Let’s take a look at a few of the hidden costs of all these piecemeal marketing collateral design requests—and a better alternative.

Drawbacks of Piecemeal Marketing Collateral Design

Inefficiency

As with any informal—or missing—business process, asking the designers to field random, one-off request from every local marketer (and the corporate team, too) will inevitably lead to inefficiencies and delays as the design team triages and juggles all these similar-but-not-quite-identical projects. As the “quick turns” pile up, so does the potential for errors, dropped balls, and missed deadlines. All of this creates opportunity cost as marketers are left without the simple collateral they need for local campaigns—and larger design initiatives are put on hold in favor of the small stuff.

Brand Inconsistencies

When a designer—or several different designers—are tasked with customizing content for every local marketer, no matter how skilled they are, they’re all but guaranteed to introduce inconsistencies. Alternatively, local marketers who are anxious about getting their collateral ready on time may decide to take it upon themselves to become designers, creating their own materials that may or may not align to brand standards or quality benchmarks, ultimately leading to mismatched marketing campaigns from location to location or channel to channel.

However they happen, these inconsistencies in brand messaging and design compromise brand integrity and customer experience—diluting customer trust and risking valued long-term relationships.

Compliance Failures

In many highly regulated industries—such as healthcare, finance, or alcohol and beverage—the stakes are even higher when it comes to potential branding inefficiencies. In these industries, there are specific messaging requirements and promotional regulations that may vary from state to state. Designers and local marketing reps likely aren’t well-versed in these requirements, so asking them to take on that compliance burden—no matter how detail-oriented and meticulous they are—is putting the company at risk not only of customer dissatisfaction but of potentially devastating legal ramifications as well.

Instead, Empower Local Marketers with Through-Channel Marketing Automation

So, how can far-flung brands ensure every rep and marketer has the collateral they need without the cost of burdening individual contributors with every request? Relief—not to mention watertight brand integrity and legal compliance—comes in the form of a through-channel marketing automation (TCMA) platform.

TCMA platforms, like OneTouchPoint’s U.Connect, 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.

With access to pre-approved collateral templates for every channel, local marketers have everything they need at their fingertips to create and then order what they need, have it produced on-demand (or kitted from the warehouse), then shipped directly to them – enabling them to easily launch local print and digital marketing campaigns that both align with national strategy and speak directly to their unique audiences. And all without burdening designers or jeopardizing brand integrity.

This is all made even easier with the use of modular content, which is content that’s been divided into the smallest possible preapproved “blocks” that local marketers can localize and customize into any number of assets with very little effort and, more importantly, no actual design work. These include text blocks (think: disclaimers, value statements, and product descriptions), and visuals (think: product shots, brand approved images, partner logos, and infographics). In conjunction with the TCMA’s asset hub, modular content goes a long way to ensure global brand consistency while still giving users the flexibility to create relevant promotional assets in local markets.

When every marketer is empowered to create easy-to-approve, compliant collateral at the drop of a hat, brands can save significant time, money, and risk on outsourcing everyday content creation—freeing up their creative teams to work on the big-picture strategic initiatives that will really drive growth.

And that’s just one of many benefits of through-channel marketing automation.

OneTouchPoint’s TCMA platform, U.Connect, empowers our clients to accomplish their loftiest multichannel marketing goals, starting with collateral design and going much, much further. We pride ourselves on providing our partners with a centralized marketing hub and full-service support that enables 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.

10 Steps for a Successful Direct Mail Campaign

A checklist to help you get started planning your next Direct Mail or EDDM campaign.

Direct Mail and Every Door Direct Mail® (EDDM) are quick, cost-effective, proven methods to communicate to local markets. Whether you are a local franchise sharing new pick-up hours or a local store providing coupons to drive in-store and online sales, these tactics get your offers delivered directly to your consumer’s mailboxes.

Use this checklist as a guide to help you get started planning your next Direct Mail or EDDM campaign.

Get Started Checklist: Direct Mail & EDDM®

  1. Identify your goals (as part of a multichannel campaign)Are you offering a coupon to drive sales, looking to create brand awareness, advertising a new store opening (or reopening), or sharing news and updates with loyal customers? Make sure you have a specific goal in mind.
  2. Define your target audience. Will the mailing be sent to a specific audience, to known customers based on demographics, or to a localized area or specific zip codes? Make sure you identify the right target for your offer.
  3. Set your budget. Based on your goals and desired reach, determine how much you are willing to spend. Keep in mind the overall spend if it’s part of a larger campaign—you may need to adjust your final counts.
  4. Map out the timing. Is this a standalone campaign, part of a bigger, multichannel strategy, or are you announcing a time-critical opening or reopening? Timing the offer and when people will get it, is key.
  5. Create your copy. Powerful headlines, concise copy with a clear CTA (call-to-action) that drives action and appeals to your target audience is critical. Where it makes sense, create a dedicated landing page to drive traffic to for a specific offer/CTA.
  6. Design your assets and keep localization (and spacing in mind). Be creative and convey your brand. If you are personalizing content—names, maps, locations, phone numbers, social pages, etc.—make sure the piece is built to accommodate all of the detail. And makes sure the CTA stands out.
  7. Create your mailing list. Are you planning to target specific zip codes or regions? If so, an EDDM mailing may be optimal (and the cheapest). If you are reaching out to loyal customers, you’ll want to make sure your list is up-to-date and accurate. Looking to target specific demographics, or have a more niche business? List Rental can ensure you are targeting the right people for your business.
  8. Define success metrics. Outline what success looks like for the campaign and understand how you will track your responses (i.e. coupon codes, web visits, telephone tracking, form submission, etc.).
  9. Prepare your (sales) team for launch. Make sure the necessary teams are informed. From assigning who will handle new leads or inquires to training staff on how to track coupon codes, you want all hands on deck and up-to-speed to make the campaign a success.
  10. Launch campaign – then track & refine. Launch your campaign, and then review and monitor your pre-determined metrics to evaluate your ROI and help refine your marketing strategy for future campaigns.

Download the checklist now!

Direct Mail & EDDM at OneTouchPoint

We’re passionate about delivering messages that have an impact in the real world. That’s why we offer a suite of mailing services tailored to fit virtually any project or budget. We mail over 155 million pieces of mail each year, offer list rental services, and have USPS experts on staff to ensure your mail pieces meet all regulations and are mailed at the most cost-effective rates possible. OneTouchPoint also takes traditional EDDM services a step further, with an easy-to-use advanced mapping tool to select mail routes & delivery date(s)

We’ve made it easier than ever to get your mailings out the door as quickly, and cost-effectively as possible, and into the hands of your customers. Learn more here.

Leveraging Kits for a Successful Reopening

Tips to leverage store kits to ensure a successful store reopening in the wake of COVID-19.

Getting your locations up and running again is no easy task. Businesses are navigating uncharted waters as they work to balance the need to optimize their revenue, while simultaneously protecting their employees and customers.

Mix in consumer sentiment concerns about the safety of visiting brick and mortar store locations, implementing new operational policies, evaluating the need to maintain popular (new) buying channels (i.e. carryout, curbside pickup, etc.) – across multi-unit locations – then add in the need to communicate these changes to build consumer trust with your brand, in addition to differing policies at state, even local levels, has created a complex juggling act.

Here are a few tips, that will help you streamline and ensure a successful and safe-as-possible reopening, without breaking the bank or overwhelming your corporate marketing team.

Simplify your (re)openings with kits.

One of the many reasons people buy in to a franchise is to gain access to the corporate structure and brand, enabling franchisees to run their business, while the corporate team drives brand consistency and operational efficiency that creates a strong organizational foundation. And while a pandemic was likely not in the disaster preparedness plan, local franchise owners will be looking to the corporate office to establish procedures and protocols that align with the brand’s vision, ensuring employee and customer safety and providing them the needed materials (and guidelines) to reopen successfully.

As your locations begin to reopen, creating and sending pre-set, branded kits, is a great option to provide your locations with what they need to open safely – while ensuring that they don’t drift off-brand. Businesses may function differently across industries, however providing updated branded materials to successfully get up and running is critical to everyone.

Must-Have Assets in Reopening Kits:

  • COVID-19 Signage: Create, print and send updated COVID-19 signage that informs your customers and employees of regulations or procedures in place (corporate or state mandated) and to keep people safely informed of COVID regulations at your locations.
  • Employee & Customer Safety Manuals: You have likely updated employee manuals, work policies, operational policies to follow CDC guidelines, procedures for employee well-being checks, and/or employee on-boarding requirements based on corporate changes and/or state/county requirements. Including these materials in a kit provides the same materials, across all locations, ensuring that everyone is “in the know” and are prepped and ready to reopen as safely as possible.
  • Employee & Consumer PPE: Ensuring employee safety is likely at the forefront. Provide PPE in your kits – anything from masks, hand sanitizer, throw away masks, etc. – to your employees and front-line staff. If your brick & mortar location requires masks, you can provide one-time use masks for consumers upon entry.

Order on-demand, variable branded kits (and assets).

As you look to create your re-opening materials and/or kits, the ramifications of state and local authorities having disparate rules and regulations could make it difficult to have a “one size fits all” kit across all locations. While pre-set kits work well for static assets and materials, you may want to consider providing access to approved, branded assets that can be localized and customized by your franchisee owners or local store managers that can be included as part of the kit.

By providing access for local stores to create customized and localized assets, you can help ensure franchises owners keep your brand on point.

Tip: Provide easy-to-use assets that will increase local awareness and ROI, including posters, POS, banners, window / floor decals, gift cards and updated promo items.

Look beyond kits.

While variable pieces can be included as part of a kit, having a branded asset portal easily allows franchisee owners and local store managers access to branded material at their fingertips. These types of materials will allow local stores to more easily connect with consumers, while you ensure they stay on brand.

In addition, as rules and regulations morph over time, in lieu of providing entire kits, you can provide access to approved, branded assets – saving you time and money allowing them to order and customize and localize on demand. Your team will no longer have to micromanage each order, can easily review and approve customized assets, ensuring your brand stays on point.

Branding the New Normal

No franchise is exactly the same – and neither are your responses to COVID. What is the same, is that every franchise owner is looking for direction and clarity. Learn more about how OneTouchPoint is here to support you as you navigate the new normal.

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