Empowering and Aligning Distributed Networks to Meet Corporate Goals
The market for data-driven analytics is projected to grow to $84 billion by 2026, up from $27.36 billion in 2014, according to the Big Data Vendor Revenue and Market Forecast, 2011-2026. In order for data to work for businesses, accurately identifying a business model is crucial. The modern world of business is evolving quickly, with increased complexities, more stakeholders, and more locations. And while your marketing plan may include captivating content, eye-catching visuals, and robust direct and digital strategies, if the way your business best channels its marketing efforts is not geared toward the correct business model, you can waste significant time and money.
Reach, reception, budget, and more all suffer if your business isn’t using the best tools to optimize marketing efforts. For a distributed marketing network, the complex characteristics of this type of model require streamlined techniques to ensure brand consistency is employed while marketing campaigns are conducted efficiently. Marketing resource management (MRM) provides an exceptional solution when you’ve determined your business is a distributed marketing network. But how do you know if your business is a distributed marketing network?
What Is a Distributed Marketing Network?
A distributed organization is typically a large corporate entity or mid-sized business with smaller local branches, franchises, dealerships, etc., in multiple geographic locations. Any business with a one-to-many relationship and distributed groups with local, personalized needs and interests is a distributed marketing network. Some examples include:
- Insurance companies with independent sales representatives
- Hospitals and health systems with multiple locations of varying services and sizes
- Business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) companies, with hundreds of client locations with varying customer demographics
- Restaurant chains and car dealerships
- Manufacturers of a product with many distributors, such as stores, online retailers, catalogs and sales teams
- Franchises with global reach and their franchisees that operate independently
While a corporate marketing group’s goals include upholding brand standards and speeding time to market, with multiple marketing teams and non-marketing stakeholders representing the brand, it can be difficult to balance corporate ideals with local expectations. Some of the challenges distributed marketing networks face include:
- Brand consistency
- Ability to respond quickly to changes
- Backlog on central marketing teams
- Organized multi-channel messaging
- Accurate customer data
- Content management
Marrying corporate strategies with targeted, local-level solutions is an ideal way to satisfy the needs of all parties involved. Localization is vital and should be embraced by distributed organizations. A 2012 survey from Gleanster found top performers in the distributed marketing space effectively engaged prospects and current customers in communications that were relevant and timely to their communities. Some of the reasons marketing should be localized include:
- Local jargon may differ from corporate, and certain copywriting may resonate better with some communities over others
- Thoughtful local imagery may better reflect the targeted community’s demographics
- Local special events or holidays may warrant special promotions
An effective local market’s campaign should drive the strategy of its future marketing campaigns and will be unique to each market.
The success of a distributed marketing network correlates directly with the type of support a central team provides its local affiliates. Because local franchises, channel merchants, field sales reps and the like may have smaller budgets and goals of their own, receiving corporate materials and direction helps make their work less time-consuming and allows them to better connect with their customers and reach new prospects. Collaboration and communication that allows the corporation to better understand local needs helps a distributed enterprise achieve corporate goals.
How Can I Help My Distributed Marketing Network Succeed?
To maintain speed and order with a wide variety of marketing initiatives and gain insight into what factors can drive future successes, a centralized marketing resource management software platform should be a top priority. In fact, 96% of the top distributed companies used or planned to use marketing resource management (MRM) to consolidate and monitor campaigns.
MRM systems allow distributed businesses to streamline marketing workflows including:
- Creative execution, via automated proof and approvals processes.
- Direct marketing, including list management, personalized mailers and brochures.
- Email marketing, by providing standardized and customizable templates.
- Print and Fulfillment, including placing on-demand orders for brochures, signage and premiums. If a local franchise of a corporation has run out of posters or POS materials, a store manager can quickly order the materials online and request to have them shipped directly to the store.
- Digital marketing, ranging from content marketing and social media, to mobile advertising.
Using one central, on-demand, self-service MRM platform with multi-channel campaign execution eliminates the need for long email chains, undue burden placed on central teams and having to use multiple applications for different but related tasks. This can save a business money and time, while eliminating inconsistencies within their process.
The most effective MRM systems allow for the following capabilities:
- Centralized storage of branded, customizable templates, as well as static materials for download. If a local distributor wants to market a promotion that involves another local business, executing a campaign is simple with the use of distributed materials that are compliant and corporately branded. For a community that has a special celebration or event in which local branches want to offer specials, for example, they may market a community-specific promotion that uses corporate logos, language, and other assets. Brand templates that can be localized include templates for flyers, direct mail, email marketing, online ads and more that have the same main message but allow for the addition of a geographic element.
- Robust administrative controls including multiple user level permissions, which allows management to control who gets access to what, and how they can use it.
- Comprehensive digital asset management that allows users to quickly and easily locate the right file for their needs in the appropriate format.
- Business documentation libraries to store corporate resources and reference materials that sometimes are disconnected from other marketing-owned materials.
- Inventory management to control costs and prevent waste. Order/usage tracking to better measure spending and return on investment.
Utilizing MRM systems allows distributed network businesses to increase efficiency since all materials are in one central location, saving costs for both the corporation and local businesses. For example, hospitals and health systems can easily provide access to HIPAA guidelines as well as brand standards to meet both regulatory and brand requirements, protecting your business legally and your brand’s integrity.
For local branches creating their own marketing materials, MRM systems enable them to submit assets and get them approved, all through a process that is tracked and can be further optimized based on the company’s needs.
Using a Customized MRM Platform
At Strata, we create the most comprehensive MRM platform to improve your business’ marketing process and return on investment. Contact us to find out how MarCom On Demand, Strata’s flagship MRM platform, has helped businesses around the world cut costs and streamline their distributed marketing processes.
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