Pulling Corporate Marketing Rewards from a Distributed Marketing Network
For the corporate marketing manager of a distributed marketing network, engaging local marketers throughout the direct marketing processes can be both rewarding and frightening.
The reward opportunity is obvious. Involving local marketers can expand the budget and reach of a campaign and resulting sales. Further, local marketers have knowledge of the community that can be invaluable in helping optimize campaign copy and graphic effectiveness.
Equally obvious is how frightening handing over any content control can be. Local "marketers" in many distributed marketing organizations aren't marketers at all. They're small business men and women who often share similar characteristics:
- They have numerous priorities queued ahead of marketing activities.
- They rarely follow corporate marketing guidance, often preferring either to not market at all or to do their own thing if they do.
- They are much more focused on store traffic than brand messaging.
As a result, corporate marketers must strive to provide the correct balance between mandating too much control, thus driving local marketers away from corporate initiated projects, and exerting too little control, which eliminates all the value that direct marketing measurement and methodology can bring to the entire distributed marketing network.
With a few simple considerations, corporate marketers can eliminate the fright and unlock the rewards of engaging local marketers in direct marketing initiatives. In spite of the pitfalls, the challenge is worthwhile, for when ease of use and local engagement is achieved, marketing effectiveness often follows. Here are three tips to consider:
1. Make direct marketing processes profoundly easy for local marketers. The best friend corporate managers of distributed marketing networks have is ease of use. If you provide an easy way to create and distribute turnkey, proven marketing communication, local marketers will respond. For local businesspeople who don't like the marketing aspect of their role, this provides an unintimidating way to market products or services. For individuals who want to be a part of each marketing process, an easy promise provides a compelling alternative to the time required to develop and distribute their own marketing materials. Distributed marketing management platforms can help with this.
2. Provide freedom, but do so within a framework. Local marketers will be more likely to engage with corporate marketing in a productive manner when they have the ability to make some of the marketing decisions. These might be items like headline selection, offer selection, use of coupons and more. Providing these options will often also increase the local relevancy of the brand message. This freedom to participate in content and offer selection, however, should be enabled within a well-thought-out framework that preserves the integrity of the direct marketing message.
3. Coordinate response monitoring and other key direct principles so you can measure effectiveness. Engaging local marketers in the direct marketing content creation process will diminish some of the predictive value of direct campaigns as the concept of a "control" communication is lost. That noted, corporate marketers should hold fast to other direct principles. Response monitoring, for example, should always be mandated. List selection parameters should also be enforced, as should format and key call-to-action messaging (possibly even offer content).