Cooperative Customer Management


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The sharing of customers by corporate and local marketers is an important part of exploding brand value at the local level. Customers view their relationship with a branded product or service as a single relationship. While conflicts over customer ownership may naturally arise, it is important that corporate and local markets engage the consumer as one.

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Cooperative Customer Management

  1. 1. Saepio Learning Series Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level Part 5 of 7 Cooperative Customer Management
  2. 2. Cooperative Customer Management AboutThis Series When we first published the Distributed Marketing Leadership Series guidebook“Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level,”we had no expectation that it would quickly move to be one of the all-time most downloaded content pieces from the Saepio library and sustain that position for the next three years. But we probably shouldn’t have been surprised. Exploding brand value at the local level is the objective of every distributed marketer. And it’s not an easy task. In this DMLS Guidebook series, we both revisit and expand on the concepts laid out in the first guidebook and the subsequent industry-specific versions of this popular paper. In this revisit, we find that much has changed since our first publication date. However, we are frustrated by how much remains the same. In particular, we are frustrated by the fact that while expansive, innovative distributed marketing platform solutions are now fully market-tested and proven, many corporate and local marketers are still struggling with basic relationships. Thus, we have chosen to provide an expanded take on the Five (now Six) C’s of the win-win brand marketing strategy. There’s nothing inherently profound about these six C’s. Yet, they so often remain overlooked or minimized and a less-than-optimal brand value results. We trust this expanded view will provide valuable insights that will help you build the effectives of your distributed marketing efforts and truly explode brand value for your organization at the local level. Part 1 (available here) explored how to explode your brand’s value a the local level with the 6 C’s of corporate + local marketing. Part 2 (available here) explored the importance of common objectives between corporate and local marketers. Part 3 (available here) explored the unique challenges faced by corporate marketing managers of distributed marketing networks and outlines why consistency matters. Part 4 (available here) explored the need to have coordinated corporate and local marketing messages at key“moments of truth”. Part 5 explores the need to have an effective shared customer program with clear defintions of a customer and the relationships of the corporate brand and the local brand or delivery point to that customer.
  3. 3. Cooperative Customer Management 1 Introduction How corporate and local marketers share customers is key to exploding brand value at the local level. Both the corporate brand and the local outlet where the brand is delivered and experienced strongly feel that they should own the customer. And both should. In turn, the customer should feel connected to both the corporate brand and its local delivery. Many brands struggle to do this well. Local marketers don’t always trust the corporate mar- keter to act in the local marketer’s best interest. Sharing the customer, in their minds, puts the customer at risk for a direct sales relationship with the brand. Corporate marketers aren’t always eager to share the customer with the local outlet. Often they have nurtured the customer through an online discovery process and are wary of turning over the customer to a local front-line marketer who doesn’t have the insight needed to continue the engage- ment through to a sale. In the mean time, the customer just wants to experience the brand in both its corporate and local facets. The customer often has created a connection with the brand persona or the attributes/benefits of the product or service. The customer will gladly define how they want corporate and local to collectively manage their relationship with the brand. It is now in the hands of the local outlet to deliver on these expectations, not just for the single brand encounter but for many repeat purchases to come.
  4. 4. Cooperative Customer Management 2 Chapter One Defining Shared Customer Management To understand the roles of corporate and local marketing in customer management one must first create some definitions around what constitutes a customer. These definitions vary based upon the role played. •An individual who is a member of a local loyalty program. Given these scenarios, clearly not all corporate customers are also local customers or local customers, corporate customers. Even in scenarios of a single vertical branding (such as a quick service restaurant chain), corporate, if it’s brutally honest, doesn’t ultimately care if a product or service is consumed by one location over another. Thus, a shared customer is an individual who meets at least one criterion from both of the definition lists above. Distributed marketing management strategies involving corporate and local marketer management of shared customers should be designed around these intersection points. For corporate marketers, the definition of a customer looks something like this: • An individual who is a member of a loyalty club. • An individual who has purchased a product or service and registered for warranty protection. • An individual who has purchased a product or service and who through some means has provided a name and contact information to the corporation. • An individual who is not known to have purchased a product or service, but who is a frequent visitor to the corporate or product website. • An individual who is not known to have purchased, who is researching a product or service. Forlocalmarketers,thedefinitionisslightlydifferent: • An individual who is a member of a local loyalty program. • An individual who has made a purchase at the retail outlet or ordered a service, whether for the corporate marketers brand or otherwise. • Anyone browsing the store (in-store or online).
  5. 5. When previous purchases are involved and local and/or corporate brand preferences are established within the customer (such as membership in a loyalty or ongoing service program), designing shared customer management strategies is relatively straightforward. However, it’s important to note that individuals with no previous product or service purchase may be included in the“customer”definitions. How corporate and local marketing share these“customers”and respect one another in the process will also be key to effective shared customer management and the exploding of brand value at the local level. Cooperative Customer Management 3
  6. 6. Cooperative Customer Management ChapterTwo Your Customers Are Making It Clear: Local Needs Corporate and Corporate Needs Local While the fact that local needs corporate and corporate needs local is obvious, getting to a point of full shared customer management between corporate and local marketing requires the corporate marketer to honestly examine why local marketers would want to share customers and why they wouldn’t. Local marketers should be fiercely possessive of their customers. There are many historical reasons why they should be wary of a corporate marketer wanting access to a customer list, particularly if it’s not a shared list by the customer’s choice. Here’s what they fear most: • Corporate will guide the customer to another location (this legitimate concern is explored further in the next chapter). • Corporate will sell to the customer directly through an online store or connect a customer to an online store. • The corporate brand will replace the local brand as the dominant brand in the cus- tomer relationship. Multiple brands may be involved in the local relationship. The local brand cannot afford to let a customer’s relationship depend on a single brand experience. • Corporate campaigns will conflict with their local campaigns. Clearly, these are legitimate concerns. But there’s another side to the story. The local marketer has a lot of ways to protect and/or win customer business through the aid of corporate marketing as well. • The local marketer is the local access to a branded product or service. A corporate brand preference, particularly when there is a loyalty program involved or a previous purchase with a positive experience (see the second moment of truth discussion in Book 4), dramatically increases the likelihood that a purchase will be made from that local marketer. • Many consumers start a decision process via online search. The search is often generic, not brand specific. These Zero or Local Moments of Truth (again, see Book 4 for more on ZMOTs and LMOTs) must often be won by the corporate brand before they become a call to action that will be delivered by the local brand. This is particularly relevant with higher price point products and services. • Corporate marketing can simply outspend local marketers. In particular, they can apply the insights gleaned from customer analytics to guide a customer to a purchase decision. 4
  7. 7. Cooperative Customer Management 5 • Corporate marketing can make the point-of-sale come to life graphically with innovative, highly creative materials that would be beyond the capabilities or affordability of the local marketer. Simply stated, there’s a lot to win by working together and a lot to lose by not addressing the legitimate local concerns. At the same time, often lost in considerations of common concerns and opportunities between corporate and local marketing is the fact that the customers have an opinion too. In most cases, the customer has provided a ton of input into the relationship they think corporate and local marketing should have when serving them. • If they’re in a loyalty club, they’ve asked to experience the corporate brand locally delivered again. • If they’ve registered for a warranty program, they have invited an ongoing relationship that creates a continual second moment of truth and a repeat purchase at the appropriate time. • If they’ve provided their name to receive special promotions or offers, they want you to keep them informed of ways to give you money. • If they’ve visited your website, they want to learn about your brand and where they can experience the brand locally. • If they’ve searched on a keyword that is relevant to you, they want your help in making a local purchase decision. • If they’re in a retail store, they have a purchase decision in mind. • If they’ve accessed you through the corporate brand or the local brand, they’ve invited When a single brand identity is involved, corporate marketers must find a way for the cus- tomer to select the local connection to the brand and structure a seamless communication pathway in support of that choice. In cases where corporate marketers have a single brand focus but local doesn’t, the action must be different. In such cases, it’s not fair of corporate to ask a local retailer or service provider to always promote their brand, but that doesn’t restrict the ability to influence them to do so. Sharing customers in such cases comes with greater challenges. But those corporate marketers who provide the most compelling approaches to local marketers will best explode brand value at the local level and ultimately win at the point of sale. Customers are asking for a single experience. Corporate needs local to deliver on this and local needs corporate. But, corporate marketers must take the lead.
  8. 8. Cooperative Customer Management ChapterThree Pathways to Purchase: Lists, Cadence,Timing, Frontline Marketer Training and More... Effective customer sharing typically breaks down not because of ill intentions of the corporate or the local marketers but rather because of ill timing of good intentions. It’s not easy to stay coordinated. In the example alluded to earlier, through the efforts of a corporate marketer, a consumer may have walked into a retail environment intending to buy the corporate marketer’s branded product but is immediately presented with multiple alternatives to that product. As the consumer stands in the product aisle, a well intentioned front-line marketer engages him or her and provides guidance through to the purchase of a product from a competitor. The consumer appreciates the assistance provided and goes home happy and the front-line marketer experiences the appreciation of the satisfied customer. The competing brand, of course, is happy too. But something has gone terribly wrong. The potential power of sharing a customer has not just been lost, it’s been violated. Worse still, no one has a clue. Creating such a plan begins with anticipating the various pathways to purchase, that a shared customer might take. Does he begin with a search process (the Zero Moment of Truth from Book 4) and connect to the corporate brand that way? Is the buy more impulse and driven more by a“Local Moment of Truth”where location and ease of purchase are the most critical factors? Did a loyalty club initiate the engagement? Or, was this a response to local or corporate brand advertising? Each of these scenarios takes the consumer down a unique pathway to purchase and both the corporate and local marketer must play key and potentially varying roles at critical points in that journey. As shown in the example above, without the help of the local and frontline marketer, the corporate marketer’s work can quickly become in vain. It is helpful to outline these often-complex customer pathways to purchase on a white board with each step labeled as corporate controlled, local controlled or shared. When this exercise is completed, the potential pitfall points of managing a shared customer become obvious. The corporate marketer now has the insights needed to begin to build a strong customer sharing plan. 6 Sharing a customer must be more than just a premise. It must be a well thought out, well anticipated game plan that address each potential misstep in the consumer’s pathway to purchase. It’s easy to blame the frontline marketer or even the behind-the- scenes local marketer involved in the illustration above, but to do so would be totally unfair. The absence of an organized plan is to blame.
  9. 9. Cooperative Customer Management 7 Look for opportunities to create communications that connects the dots between corporate and local for the customer. In many cases, like a single branded auto dealership or a restaurant chain, this is easy. But in other cases, a strong brand/visual connection will be needed between the brand communications the consumer first saw, the retail brand and the product brand at the point of product selection. Look for ways to ask the consumer to provide the connection between corporate and local marketing interactions. In the case example, if the consumer had carried a printed or electronic offer with them to the point of sale, the frontline marketer would have known that the business was courtesy of the brand and could have guided the consumer through the completion of the sale he or she came to make. Make sure local and frontline marketers are prepared to receive the customer hand offs.The best means to accomplish this is by thinking of frontline marketers as a target audience too. After identifying the key messages needed at point of handoff, create marketing campaigns aimed at frontline marketers and focused on those points. Use point of purchase signage and materials to educate. Find a means to gain access to frontline mar- keters for remarketing campaigns that sell the value proposition of the product or service. Where reasonable, provide incentives for local and front-line marketers to experience the product or service themselves. Provide a synchronized experience for the consumer too. Where possible, share email and direct mail lists between corporate and local marketers. This will help ensure that the consumer receives coordinated messages. Find a distributed email marketing solution that includes both shared list management and cadence manage- ment features. This will keep the right flow of information from the correct entity arriving in the consumer’s inbox or mailbox. Also, as noted earlier, make sure the timing and sequence of communication to the consumer from both corporate and local marketers is done in a manner that guides the individual seamlessly down a pathway to purchase and that provides the correct content for the consumer to carry to the frontline marketer. As you white board diagram the customer pathways to purchase, make sure to take into consideration both brand initiated and customer initiated engagement. Customer initiated engagement should be structured in a manner that lets the customer guide the process but within a framework that moves down a pathway to local purchase. This is particularly true in cases where the engagement begins during an LMOT encounter. When more than one local option exists for a product or service purchase, putting the deci- sion in the hands of the customer helps corporate marketing stay neutral.
  10. 10. Cooperative Customer Management Brand initiated engagement, on the other hand, can be more easily organized around a shared customer concept. In a brand initiated engagement, the primary consideration is how and/or when corporate, local and third-party customer data intersects (It’s important to note that the sharing of data for campaign purposes does not require the permanent sharing of customer data). Data may include information on the preferred entity/location for the delivery of a product or service. In cases where such a relationship isn’t known or doesn’t exist, if corporate initiated the engagement it can guide the consumer to a location selection. In cases where the local marketer creates the engagement, the customer can be guided to the local marketer’s point of product or service delivery. Regardless of what pathway has brought the consumer to the point of decision, at this point it is imperative the frontline marketer realize that this is a shared customer and take on the representation of the brand through the conclusion of the sale process. Advanced distributed marketing management platforms can enable corporate managers of distributed marketing networks to manage: • The sharing or merging at point of campaign of corporate and local lists • The cadence of communications (to ensure, for example, that corporate and local campaigns are coordinated) • The brand messaging of content in local-, corporate- or customer-initiated communications • The creation of powerful, localized point of sale materials and the automated fulfillment and timing of campaigns When properly structured, these platforms can heavily automate content creation and delivery in support of the various customer pathways to purchase. Without them, shared customer management between corporate and local, while possible, is challenging. 8 A distributed marketing management platform can play a helpful role with shared customer management. Such platforms can receive data input from customer initiated engagements and return locally focused brand messages. Similarly, through a distributed marketing management platform, brand initiated campaigns can be localized both in content creation and message dissemination.
  11. 11. Cooperative Customer Management 9 Chapter Four Five Considerations for Cooperative Customer Management Sharing customers can be one of the most delicate challenges corporate and local market- ers face when striving to explode brand value at the local level. Nothing should be trea- sured more than the customer relationship. The corporate marketer must respect the local marketers’desire to keep local relationships strong. To that end, a corporate marketer should consider the following when developing a shared customer management approach for his/her network of local marketers. ConsiderationOne: Let the customer define how the relationship unfolds Too often corporate and local marketers fight over nuanced guidelines regarding how to share a customer when the customers are providing their preferred guidelines through their actions. • Map customer experiences. Simply start by looking at the brand relationship through the eyes of a consumer. • Create pathway maps that account for customer“moment of truth”entry points and continuation to sale. • Identify when corporate and/or local should lead the interactions. ConsiderationTwo: Design logical programs that map to the customer Moments ofTruth How a customer is communicated to/with and who – between corporate and local – leads that communication depends on whether the brand or the consumer initiated the conver- sation and at what stage in the decision process. As all four Moments of Truth – Zero, Local, First and Second – may be entry points, focus customer management strategies and tactics around these highly important stages of shared customer management. • Map communication roles between corporate and local to the moment of truth stage of customer engagement. • Link customer data bases, analytics engines and campaign management systems to optimize all responses to customer-initiated engagements. • Automate dynamic content creation and marketing fulfillment processes to ensure timely customer engagement.
  12. 12. Cooperative Customer Management ConsiderationThree: Makethecustomerrelationshiphandoffpointseasytounderstandandimplement Customers consider the brand one entity. They simply presume they are shared between the corporate brand and the local delivery of that brand. Creating that shared relationship on the brand side isn’t always so easy…particularly when a management of a communication sequence is handed off from corporate marketer to local marketer. • Identify key hand off points in the customer communication pathways. • Train corporate, local and frontline marketers on the roles they play in the shared customer management and on the messages the customer will have received prior to their turn in leading the engagement. • Automate communications where possible and ensure that brand messaging aids are abundant. ConsiderationFour: Betheadvocateforthelocalmarketer’sconnectiontothecustomer This is a recurring theme found throughout the series. When the corporate marketer thinks first about how to create a“win”for the local marketer, a win for the brand usually occurs too. A genuine focus on the local marketer’s success in shared customer management begins with respecting the local marketers’ownership of their customers and the recognition that sharing a customer doesn’t necessarily require shared ownership of customer data. • Design programs that map to your distributed marketers’needs to protect customer relationships. • Create engagement pathways that identify pre-existing relationships and/or select new local relationships of the customers choosing. • Identify opportunities for co-branding messages between the corporate and local brands or corporate brand and local delivery of that brand. ConsiderationFive: Build strong distributed marketing management platforms to facilitate customer sharing Effective customer sharing requires investment in supporting infrastructures, including a strong foundation for distributed marketing management. • Look for technology that supports shared customer list management as well as the management of customer communications cadence. • Look for multi-channel dynamic content creation to facilitate co-branding, customer directed communications and hyper localization in real time. • Look for solutions that can support communications needs for all customer moments of truth including strong point of sale content and ongoing loyalty marketing. 10
  13. 13. Cooperative Customer Management Summary The sharing of customers by corporate and local marketers is an important part of explod- ing brand value at the local level. Customers view their relationship with a branded product or service as a single relationship. While conflicts over customer ownership may naturally arise, it is important that corporate and local marketers engage the consumer as one. An effective shared customer program begins with creating clear definitions of a customer and the relationships of the corporate brand and the local brand or delivery point of the brand to that customer. Next, both corporate and local marketers must understand how customers want to engage with the brand and map internal processes accordingly. These engagements may differ depending on whether the brand initiated the engagement via a corporate or local marketing campaign or whether the customer initiated the engagement. Creating customer engagement pathways to purchase will help guide who engages with the consumer and at what point customer management should be handed off from corpo- rate marketers to local or frontline marketers. Connecting these pathways to the consumer Moments of Truth – Zero, Local, First and Second – can lead to effective communications for each stage of a customer’s decision process. In creating a shared customer management program, corporate brand marketers should: • Let the customer define how the relationship unfolds • Design logical programs that map to the customer Moments of Truth • Make the customer relationship hand off points easy to understand and implement • Be the advocate for the local marketer’s connection to the customer • Build strong distributed marketing management platforms to facilitate customer sharing 11
  14. 14. Cooperative Customer Management About Saepio Saepio makes it easy for corporate and local marketers to build and run effective and engaging all-channel marketing campaigns. Saepio’s powerful MarketPort marketing platform starts with easy … • Easy to Build and Run Cross-Channel Campaigns because everything – email, landing pages, social, mobile, digital banner ads, signage, print ads, direct mail, and much more – are all managed in a single, integrated digital marketing platform. • Easy to Maximize Brand Value at the Local Level because local and corporate marketers share a single platform but experience the same platform differently based on their roles. Brand control, speed to market, and content localization is all easily accomplished whether messages are for local, national or global audiences and corporate marketers can easily assign campaign tasks to local marketers. • Easy to Engage Customers with personalized, relevant messages because corporate intelligence gleaned from CRM data, customer analytics, consumer actions and more can determine what content is served when, where and how. • Easy to Automate Marketing Fulfillment because robust workflow enables every cross channel customer touch point to happen automatically whether launched by corporate marketing, initiated by a local marketer or triggered by a customer’s action. This robust yet simplified approach to today’s complex marketing challenges is in use at hundreds of leading companies and organizations, including many of the world’s most powerful brands. It is transforming the way corporations focus and manage their marketing efforts in a world that introduces new channels, new competitors, new regulations and new opportunities at every turn. Visit, email or call 877-468-7613 to learn more. For More Information Contact Us Saepio Technologies 600 Broadway Suite 400 Kansas City, MO 64105 Email CallToll Free 877-468-7613 to learn more 12 ShareThis Document with your Network Follow Us: