How to Support Local Marketing While Meeting Corporate Marketing Standards
Businesses in the current economy just don’t look like they used to. Rarely is there a simple central office to which everyone reports, 9-5, Monday through Friday. Most companies face coordinating multiple locations, stakeholders, vendors, field sales, etc., and must manage them all from a single corporate headquarters. A corporate marketing team is essential for making decisions for the company brand as a whole, then disseminating and implementing their strategic initiatives across these dispersed and varied channels.
In a perfect world, that’s a seamless operation. Corporate develops compelling content, marketing collateral and campaigns, and executes on a national or global level while local markets take micro-campaigns and customize to their regions or needs. But local marketing is not always executing in line with corporate strategies and requirements. This is not necessarily through any fault of their own, but how can corporate encourage better alignment and campaign success, without oversight or micro management by marketing leadership and/or corporate teams?
6 Elements to Improve Corporate and Local Marketing Alignment
Applying the six methods outlined below can help you ensure your campaigns and initiatives are successfully executed across your entire distributed marketing network – from local marketing teams to channel partners, affiliates, field sales and independent reps.
- Start at the Beginning
Local teams are often trying to operate at the speed of lightning, and in trying to do so may cut corners in terms of delivering the right content and at a high level of quality. Some may not even be up to date on the best practices you want implemented and carried out. How do you maintain the overarching corporate standards, as well as the campaign objectives, while giving local operators the flexibility and efficiency they need? Look to your Brand Standards for guidance and reinforce the use of your company’s Best Practices. Then implement processes and enabling technologies to pull it all together.
- Centralized Marketing Management Technologies
It’s time: If you haven’t already, there is simply no way around it – it’s time to invest in marketing technology solutions that enable corporate and local teams to operate in sync across a multitude of marketing initiatives.It is no longer just about CRM and email marketing software. Centrally managing marketing materials across all touchpoints is critical to enterprise-wide alignment. For instance, having a marketing resource management system to store, manage, modify and disseminate marketing content and resources gives corporate marketing brand control and reduces the burden of ad-hoc requests for materials, while local stakeholders get easy access to the materials most relevant to their needs. Be sure to include supporting resources such as Brand Guidelines to foster brand consistency and compliance and Best Practices for more successful marketing.
- Streamline and Automate
In addition to centralized marketing management, user-friendly software used to streamline and automate marketing processes makes achieving corporate and local alignment much easier. A wealth of tools are available, whether you want to streamline marketing campaign execution or more general fulfillment activities. Some of the best systems automate the process of local marketing campaigns, incorporating both the structure of the campaign elements as well as the access and distribution. There are a variety of technologies out there to choose from; but a system that controls workflow by streamlining processes and automating many of the related tasks empowers the entire marketing function to execute faster and more easily.
- Timing and the Power of Real-Time Marketing Execution
Marketing needs to continually respond with agility and be able to address and serve up content when shifts occur. Coordinate with your team to understand their changing needs, and be able to plan around supporting those initiatives or requests to take full advantage of seasonal or targeted promotional opportunities. They need to respond on the fly – produce timely marketing content or make relevant changes – and can’t be held up by inefficient or manual processes. Which hearkens back to our aforementioned steps; implement the appropriate technologies to support your local marketing teams and distributed networks of stakeholders, so they can create marketing campaigns, communications and custom marketing materials in real time.
- Dynamic Templates
One of the most powerful ways to support the efficiency you’re after – while maintaining brand control – is via dynamic templates. Dynamic templates are electronic master files of corporate approved templates that allow authorized users to produce custom marketing pieces that conform to brand standards. Corporate marketing can use them to create brand-compliant and repeatable items in a templated format, and determine what areas can be customized for localization and personalization, such as location and/or a sales rep’s information.
Software solutions handle this differently, but in this case I’ll return to the role of marketing resource management technologies. The best marketing resource management systems will incorporate the use of pre-built profiles that the system administrator (in conjunction with marketing leadership) has formalized, so variable data is always quality controlled, eliminating the potential for human error while also speeding the process at which users can personalize marketing content.
Technology is great, but don’t forget the power of clear communication! Don’t undo all the research and creative execution or undermine your marketing technologies by failing to provide the hands-on guidance and on-boarding to help local teams understand and maximize your initiatives. Keep all impacted stakeholders informed; from regional marketers and your agency to PR and Sales. Letting them know you’re launching a campaign is imperative – you certainly don’t want a customer or someone from the media asking about a new product or promotion and them returning a blank stare or not being prepared to answer questions.
And remember, communication in both directions is critical. Your market-facing groups are the ‘eyes on the street’ and have first-hand perspective on what’s happening in their market. Organize regular and ongoing opportunities to share information about offerings at the central level that can benefit local teams, as well as insights and data from local marketing efforts that offer opportunities corporate marketing can support.
- Start at the Beginning
Achieving Corporate and Local Marketing Alignment
Implementing these tips will pave the way to increased synergy and alignment between corporate and local marketing. The end result will be more successful local campaigns and corporate marketing strategies.
Contact us here or call 610-941-6100 to learn more about how MRM can help meet your organization’s corporate and local marketing.