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In this ebook, we explore the relationship between corporate and local marketers by showcasing the Six C's of corporate plus local marketing.

In this ebook, we explore the relationship between corporate and local marketers by showcasing the Six C's of corporate plus local marketing.

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  • 1. Distributed Marketing Leadership Series Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level an ebook
  • 2. Table of Contents Chapter One Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level Revisited: The Six C’s...........................................................2 Chapter Two Creating Common Objectives Between Corporate and Local Marketers.........................................7 Chapter Three The Importance of Consistent Messages....................................................................................................20 Chapter Four Coordinated Message Delivery.......................................................................................................................30 Chapter Five Cooperative Customer Management...........................................................................................................39 Chapter Six Engaging the Competition...............................................................................................................................50 Chapter Seven Communication Strategies for Keeping Local and Corporate Aligned...........................................59 Concluding Thoughts: Taking Action - Synergy that Explodes Brand Value..................................65 About Saepio........................................................................................................................................................66 Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level
  • 3. 1 Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level: The Six C’s Introduction Brand marketers invest billions of dollars every year to create an emotional connection between their brand and the prospective customers of their branded products and services. With media now fragmented and mobile connectivity, smart phone and tablet use now mainstream, customers increasingly engage with the brand in ways outside the direct control of the corporate marketer. As a result, control of brand positioning, messaging and the building of emotional connections with consumers is more challenging than ever. When a distributed marketing network is involved, thes challenges that arise are even more accute, but alongside those challenges is a huge opportunity. Unlike the marketer who has little or no help with brand messaging at the point of customer engagement, the marketer with a distributed network has an army of brand warriors ready, willing and able to help deliver and manage marketing messages. When trained, organized and mobilized, this army of local marketers can explode brand value at the local level, creating exponential value for the corporate investments in brand creation, positioning and messaging. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 2
  • 4. Chapter One: Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level: The Six C’s Section One Power of Brand in Local Buying Decisions Brand matters more at the local market level than at the national or international level but it is a symbiotic relationship. It’s at the local level that brand messages become actions taken by the customer or prospect. Actions in the form of product or service chosen. In money spent. In loyalty sustained or lost. Brand value must also often be shared at the local level. For some brands, such as a quick service restaurant, the brand message is consistently and singularly delivered throughout the interaction process. For many marketers, however, the environment is less controlled. Take an organization that sells through an authorized dealer network where the product or service brand must be shared with the name of the store or service provider. Instead of “York Heating & Air Conditioning” as the primary brand, it’s “Dave’s Heating & Cooling” – which sells the York brand as part of its business. Dave needs York and York needs Dave; the brands must synergistically support each other. Both brands matter because many local purchase decisions are made on trust and the relationship to the brand. Still others, such as a consumer packaged goods manufacturer, must share brand preference with a separate branded conduit such as a retail or grocery chain. In such cases, the consumer’s correct presumption that the manufacturer’s branded product is available or the ability to search for a local retail outlet is key. These same scenarios can be told a hundred different ways for a hundred different products or services. In any local buying decision, two things matter: 1) The brand of the product or service. 2) The relationship to the branded provider of the product or service. When these two entities work together, brand value can absolutely explode at the local level. Even when the brand of the product or service and the brand of the local provider is the same, the important interaction of the two elements still applies. In this ebook, we first introduce you to the Six C’s of exploding brand value at the local level and then we dive deeper into each topic to examine the unique challenges coprorate marketers face when working with distributed marketers and the opportunities each of these challenges create. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 3
  • 5. Chapter One: Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level: The Six C’s Section Two The Six C’s of a Win-Win Brand Strategy Managers of distributed marketing networks have long been challenged with keeping corporate and local marketing messages aligned and working together. At the root of the challenge is the fact that there are often legitimate reasons for a disconnect. Corporate marketers are very brand-focused. Local marketers are all about driving traffic and making sales. These two perspectives can easily collide, with the result being less-than-effective marketing. But it doesn’t have to be that way; employing Six “C’s” to the distributed marketing process can go a long way towards making a brand explode at the local level. Common Objectives While it may seem logical that one would begin any marketing effort with common objectives already established, Saepio client service managers too often observe the opposite. Corporate marketers and local marketers simply think differently, each protecting their own turf. They do so for a good reason. The corporate marketer who manages the distributed marketing network is the keeper of the brand and brand messages for that network. S/he must constantly focus on corporate brand objectives and deliver those to – and then through – the local marketer. The local marketer is often not on that same page. Store traffic and a ringing register is paramount and, if the marketing message isn’t perceived as focused solely on generating sales, the local individual likely isn’t interested. They like the support but insist that it be relevant to their operation. These different perspectives, however, in no way preclude the formation of common objectives. They just require the corporate marketer to, as Stephen Covey would say in his best-selling book, “seek first to understand and then to be understood.” Listening to the needs of the local marketer and gleaning knowledge from the school of practical application via those on the front lines, enables the corporate marketer to identify common objectives and create campaigns that truly support them. Consistent Messages Understanding the importance of delivering consistent messages across the entire distributed marketing network is easy for many marketers. Doing so is more challenging. Consistent messaging to consumers begins with effective resources for local marketers. While a local marketer will often want to localize a national message, s/he also frequently wants to leverage the power of the national brand for local benefit by somehow altering the corporate message to make it more applicable for his or her local environment. It is key Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 4
  • 6. Chapter One: Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level: The Six C’s for the corporate marketer to provide resources that ensure consistent messaging but allow some local flexibility. Distributed marketing management systems that include marketing asset management technology are an excellent starting point. These solutions provide all of the marketing resources the local marketer needs in one, easy-to-access location. As long as the corporate marketer is diligent in keeping the library of resources current, messages across the distributed marketing network will stay consistent. Coordinated Message Delivery Just as consistent messaging is important, coordinated timing of delivery is also critical. When a local marketer’s messages are timed to coordinate with national messages, investments in marketing can be optimized. At the heart of successful coordination is successful communication. And that means two-way communication. Often coordinated message delivery is dependent upon one way communication and a great deal of hope. In this scenario, corporate develops a merchandising kit containing marketing materials and sends it to the local market with the hope that it will be used properly, if at all. Local marketers want to be successful and want the benefits of the resources the corporate marketer provides, but their worlds don’t revolve around what corporate marketing is doing. They are focused on what they can do to drive traffic to their locations and view their corporate partners as a helpful ingredient of that plan. When the marketing kit arrives for a coordinated campaign, it may or may not receive the priority the corporate marketer seeks. What happens is dependent upon how effective communication has been up to that point. While it takes more work, engaging communication between corporate and local marketers is vital to coordinated message delivery. When local marketers know which message is recommended and why; what’s in it for them; and what is expected as part of a campaign, coordinated messaging naturally follows. Cooperative Customer Management Brands only hum when customers hum in harmony with them. The brand exists to create an emotional connection with the customer, to establish and to grow a relationship. That doesn’t happen without a corporate role and can’t be sustained without a local one. For a brand to hum, the experience a customer or prospect has through national brand messages – coupled with the experience they have upon entering a local retail outlet or interacting with a branded product or service – must be completely harmonious. The local marketer is critical to this process. Store decor, in-store promotions, digital signage, merchandise bags and many other physical items all contribute to the brand experience. So, too, do the personal interactions that happen in the store. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 5
  • 7. Chapter One: Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level: The Six C’s While corporate marketers can’t always control customer management, they should always consider it when creating local options for national brand messaging. One cannot assume that a local marketer or a local sales associate will be able to provide a continuous brand experience for the customer without being coached on how to do so. Often, adding this “last mile” of instruction adds very little time to campaign development but can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of that campaign. Engaging the Competition We’ve added Competition to the list of “C’s” this time. Every corporate marketer faces a barrage of competition for the attention and focus of the local marketer. This comes from local newspapers, radio and television stations, agencies, direct marketers and more. There are so many channels for communicating a brand or selling a product today and so many individuals suggesting solutions to the local business person. Rather than fighting these entities, the corporate marketer should engage them. Find creative ways to guide local marketers to make quality decisions about which resources to use and when to use them. Further, when a local resource is used, put systems and resources in place to ensure that the brand message is properly and strongly represented. Often, local marketing that is outside brand compliance is not ill intended. Rather, the local marketers are ill-equipped in both knowledge and access to brand assets. With guidance, they can keep local “competitors” on track. Communication, Communication, Communication You simply can’t over communicate WITH a local marketer, yet you most assuredly can over communicate TO one. Remember, effective communication is a dialogue. Any successful relationship starts with listening, including that between the corporate and the local marketer. • Communicate what’s important to your brand by first listening to how it’s important to your local marketer. • Communicate what you need them to do by first listening to what they need you to do. • Communicate what resources you’ve made available to them by listening to what they need those resources to be. There they are. The Six C’s for making your brand explode at the local level. There’s nothing magical about them, but they are so important. We’d love to call them profound, but they’re simply applications of common sense. Yet too few apply them well, and as a result, too few see their brand really explode at the local level. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 6
  • 8. 2 Creating Common Objectives Between Corporate and Local Marketers Introduction Local marketing and corporate marketing is simply different, yet fully interdependent. Corporate marketers may think or claim they don’t need local marketers, but they do. Conversely, local marketers often question the value of corporate marketing. But they shouldn’t. Brand value can only explode at the local level when the two entities work seamlessly together. In this chapter, we explore the importance of common objectives between corporate and local marketers. As a concept, determining common objectives sounds easy. As a practical reality, it’s hard. Local and corporate marketers bring different perspectives to the marketing process. Each has a slightly different definition of “win” that can put marketing objectives at odds. But that doesn’t have to be the outcome. Understanding why the perspectives are different can begin a journey towards creating common objectives. Finally, learning to collectively focus on the common goals for customer and prospect engagement can often help organizations move from an “us/them” to a “we” approach to marketing. As outlined in this chapter, five simple steps can go a long ways toward helping achieve this goal. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 7
  • 9. Chapter Two: Creating Common Objectives Between Corporate and Local Marketers Section One The Challenge of Different Perspectives If you have seamless engagement between corporate and local marketing, count yourself among the lucky few. Alignment is challenging and not frequently attained for a myriad of reasons: • Who determines what message to highlight? • Whose money is being spent? • What is the right blend between the corporate and local brand? • What is the offer? • What advertising channels should be used? • Who owns the customer? In nearly every one of these examples and in dozens more, the corporate and local perspectives may be different. And that’s okay. The challenge comes when corporate attempts to force its perspective on local and/or when local ignores corporate and implements its own independent marketing based solely on its perspective. Both entities are right, just different. Corporate marketing brings key roles and strengths to the relationship: • It is the creator and keeper of the brand and brand preference by the consumer. • It has insights into the consumer and what messaging will mobilize the consumer. • It has resources for quality creative development. • It can drive traffic to local retailers and service providers based on brand preference. Local marketing brings key strengths too: • It has the front-line relationship with the consumer. • It has insight into local preferences and events. • It potentially has a strong, independent brand. • It may generate traffic apart from the brand that turns into point of sale opportunities for the brand. Whether these unique strengths are viewed as conflicting or complimentary is largely in the choice of the participants. When both parties view themselves as complimentary, not conflicting, and build their interactions accordingly, common objectives emerge and brand value can be maximized at the local level. This symbiotic relationship begins with pausing to first understand what defines a “win” for each party. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 8
  • 10. Chapter Two: Creating Common Objectives Between Corporate and Local Marketers Section Two Defining “Win” for a Local Marketer Defining “win” for a local marketer The definition of “win” in the local marketer’s mind centers on three things: New revenues from loyal customers. New revenues from new customers. Turning new customers into loyal customers. The local marketer views corporate marketing’s contribution through the filter of how it contributes to these objectives. Driving New Revenues from Loyal Customers Local marketers, like no one else, understand the importance of loyal customers. Repeat business from the loyal customer base provides the foundation for business stability and consistent cash flow. Loyal customers provide the word-of-mouth marketing and/or additional purchases that fuels business growth. In the local marketer’s mind, marketing begins (and sometimes ends) with customer experience. If corporate brand value, brand preference and brand loyalty can contribute to this in a measurable way, great. If not, it’s a distraction. It’s not that the local marketer doesn’t understand, and perhaps even appreciate brand value, it simply becomes secondary to customer traffic and sales. For cash to flow, activity – and particularly activity from loyal customers – must be taking place. Local marketers welcome help in generating repeat business with point-of-sale engagement that expands cart size or service add-ons. A “win” happens in the local marketer’s mind when corporate marketing helps support customer experience, improves customer loyalty and increases loyal customer purchases. New Revenues from New Customers Local marketers look first to word-of-mouth marketing to drive first-time customer encounters. Word-of-mouth marketing, particularly that coming from loyal customers, has always been the primary driver of new customer trial use and is even more important today thanks to social media. That noted, local marketers do, however, recognize the need to augment word-of-mouth marketing with general marketing and brand awareness activities. While the extent of the investment in advertising and the type of advertising used will vary based upon a local businesses’ go-to-market strategy, one common goal is consistent with local marketers: they want measurable results quickly. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 9
  • 11. Chapter Two: Creating Common Objectives Between Corporate and Local Marketers Local marketers are often at small businesses and cash flow is king. As a result, marketing investments are typically judged based on short-term results. For example, will an advertising expenditure return the investment within the cash flow window of the ad placement and the payment due date (or at least within the operational expenses of a month or quarter)? Thus, any brand-focused or brand-centric advertising campaign designed to create firsttime customers must be designed to also drive immediate return on investment. Campaign effectiveness must also be easily measured. A direct, visible correlation between advertising activity and consumer action is part of the local marketer’s definition of “win.” Any assistance from corporate marketing for creating highly impactful, localized advertising content and campaigns is greatly appreciated, but it must be call-to-action oriented. Turning New Customers into Loyal Customers Finally, the importance of turning first time trial customers into loyal customers is not lost on local marketers. Service industry marketers focus on this by investing in branded, leave-behind materials with strong shelf life (or front of the refrigerator life in many cases). Retailers provide special second and third visit incentives to move trial purchase towards long-term shopping patterns. Loyalty programs are often offered to any non-participating consumer. No matter what the industry or frequency of product or service purchase, local marketers seek to develop strong customer loyalty. Any support corporate marketing can provide on this front is not only appreciated, but often used by the local marketer. A “win” for local marketers is defined by consumer traffic and sales. A growing base of loyal customers, growing revenues from those customers and a strong word-of-mouth marketing engine are viewed as key. Corporate support of these objectives in tandem with new customer acquisition marketing campaigns that provide fast, measurable results and which return cash quickly on any cash dispersed are what local marketers seek most. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 10
  • 12. Chapter Two: Creating Common Objectives Between Corporate and Local Marketers Section Three Defining and Creating a “Win” for a Corporate Marketer Ultimately, the definition of “win” for the corporate marketer is very much aligned with that of the local marketer: Loyal customers, greater share of customer, creation of new customers and developing new customers into loyal customers. How the corporate marketer must compete to “win,” however, is much different. Corporate marketers can only win at the cash register if they’ve won at multiple decision Defining and creating a ‘win” for a corporate marketer points prior to the transaction: In tandem with the local marketer, they must create demand for the product or service vs. other consumer options. They must position the brand to be visible and preferred at the time demand occurs. They must help connect the consumer with an affiliated local retail outlet or service provider. They may have to win versus other choices at point of sale. To accomplish these tasks effectively, the corporate marketer needs to remain actively engaged with the consumer and fully aligned with the local marketer, both of which can be challenging. (Note: While it is not the purpose of this ebook, it is important to note that how a corporate marketer engages in the local marketing does vary widely based on the go-to-market nature of the business. This ebook does not address these relevant differences – see the Saepio white paper “Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level“ for this information – but rather looks at common needs from a more generic perspective.) Demand Creation and Brand Preference in the Local Market Corporate and local marketers collectively face a lot of competition for the consumers’ dollars. To win, the product or service they collectively offer must first become part of the consumer’s overall spend and second, they collectively must become the supplier of choice. That’s a tall order, particularly if an established loyal customer base is not in place. This is also a point where sometimes corporate and local marketing objectives don’t fully align. A local marketer that offers more than one brand option for a particular product, doesn’t likely care significantly which brand is selected. The front-line marketers, the retail clerks or service individuals, most certainly don’t care. Thus, to “win” at the local level, the corporate marketer must control his or her own destiny for demand creation and brand preference in that local market. To accomplish this, independent of local marketing involvement, a corporate marketer most Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 11
  • 13. Chapter Two: Creating Common Objectives Between Corporate and Local Marketers often must employ traditional brand marketing strategies and encourage brand loyalty and promotion by customers (more on loyal customer marketing later). In many cases, brand marketing won’t have a local aspect to it. National ad buys, event sponsorships, celebrity endorsements, social presence, search marketing, online content, public relations and other tactics are implemented largely independent of a local connection. However, with the exception of e-commerce applications, for the actual purchase to happen, a local connection between the brand and the consumer must exist. Thus, for the demand creation and brand preference generated through brand marketing to culminate in product or services sold (part of the definition of a corporate marketing win), a partnership with local marketing must be established. This partnership, however, can’t simply be about both corporate and local marketers promoting the product or service. It has to be about a coordinated brand message arriving to customers and prospects. These consumers never view the brand from the perspective of corporate and local roles. Instead, they see, hear, feel and touch one brand message. A critical definition of “win” for the corporate marketer is the seamless continuation of national brand marketing and messaging into the local market through local marketing efforts. Consumer Connections at the Local Level As with local marketers, satisfied customers are critical to the national marketer. These “brand spokespersons” are waiting to be mobilized to make repeat purchases, influence prospective customers and lift overall brand awareness, value and preference. Connecting to these individuals is nearly always part of the corporate marketer’s definition of a “win.” For the corporate marketer to create and “own” this customer relationship, local participation may be needed. Who owns the customer, however, is likely to create tension between corporate and local marketers, and for obvious reasons. Just as the local marketer may not ultimately care which branded product a customer selects at time of purchase, a corporate marketer probably doesn’t really care which of its affiliated local marketers succeeds in winning the business of the consumer, just that the business for the brand is won. Proactively addressing this critical issue is essential to exploding brand value at a local level, yet many brand marketers fail on this point. In so doing, they fail to gain the access to the customer they want and the partnership with the local marketer that they need. For the corporate marketer, no brand marketing activity may equal the importance of “mobilizing satisfied customers as brand ambassadors.” Concurrently, creating common objectives with local marketers around customer ownership and customer mobilization may be one of the biggest challenges the corporate marketer faces (the issue of customer ownership will be addressed at length in Chapter Five). To achieve the corporate marketer’s definition of “win,” common corporate and local objectives must be found for this critical issue. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 12
  • 14. Chapter Two: Creating Common Objectives Between Corporate and Local Marketers Winning at the Point of Decision The corporate marketer’s job is not done until the cash register rings. All the work to build category demand, brand awareness and preference, and consumer action comes down to a single moment of truth when the consumer makes the purchase choice… • A new car from the brand portfolio vs. a used vehicle from the lot. • An HVAC unit option the service technician provides that is slightly less in cost. • A hair cut for the kids from a salon two blocks down because its parking lot wasn’t full. • Or a choice to make no purchase at all…due to a competing use of the allocated money or a lack of brand message continuity at point of sale. POPAI research clearly shows that brand preference going into a point of purchase often doesn’t translate into brand purchase. So many point-of-sale distractions and competitions come into play. For the corporate marketer to win at this high-stakes moment, local marketing help is needed. In fairness, and as outlined above, local marketers can’t be expected to judge “win” in the same way. If a customer is engaged and a sale made, a local win occurs. Plus, a local marketer may have multiple corporate marketers competing for the local marketer’s loyalty and the consumer’s purchase. A point-of-decision “loss” for one corporate marketing partner may be a win for another. Given this scenario, is it even realistic for the corporate marketer to expect to find common objectives with the local marketer? Absolutely. But, whether the point-of-sale environment is one that involves a single brand and a buy versus no-buy decision, a field environment where a salesperson or technician is influencing selection, or a retail environment where multiple brand and product options are presented, the corporate marketer must take 100 percent responsibility for ensuring that brand visibility and advocacy is strong. Of course, local marketer participation is needed, but corporate marketers must: • Make brand marketing content easy to place or inject into the point-of-sale environment. • Provide informative resources for the local marketer and the consumer that extend beyond brand specific messaging. For example, a resource that helps front-line marketers close the sale. • Provide packaging and point-of-sale brand marketing materials that are so compelling that front-line marketers want to share them with consumers. • Provide attention-demanding point-of-sale creative such as high impact banners that are compelling not only to the consumer but also for the local marketer to use (this strategy will be addressed at length in Chapters Three and Four). Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 13
  • 15. Chapter Two: Creating Common Objectives Between Corporate and Local Marketers • Reward local marketers, where appropriate, through an easy to use and access MDF or co-op funded marketing resource center. The corporate marketer must remember that local marketers are consumers too. Winning at the point of sale with the consumer begins with winning with the local marketer. Exceptional, compelling point of sale creative that wins the hearts of the local marketers is much more likely to be displayed for consumers to see. People naturally like to share stuff they like. To pass this test, the content must be viewed by the local marketer as lifting up the overall point of sale environment. Winning at the point of decision requires skillful execution by the corporate marketer but can be a compelling win for both parties. In summary, the definition of a “win” for the corporate marketer is similar to that of the local marketer, yet requires a very different course of action. Creating demand and brand preference, mobilizing customers and winning at the point of sale are all critical to the corporate marketer. While all of these steps can be approached in isolation from the local marketer, none of them should be. As shown above, the power of a blended corporate and local marketing approach can bring positive results for corporate marketers, local marketers and consumers alike. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 14
  • 16. Chapter Two: Creating Common Objectives Between Corporate and Local Marketers Section Four Five Steps for Creating Alignment As the previous sections establish, corporate and local marketers think and act differently, for good reasons. Yet underneath these differences lay common objectives. The savvy corporate marketer will seek to find, develop and communicate these common objectives in a manner that meets the definition of win for local marketers. The following five steps are a good starting point. While they are not an end-all recipe for achieving common objectives, each has proven over time to be an effective tactic by leading brands. Note that each step is not an item to be completed, but rather a mindset to be initiated. Success in finding common objectives between corporate and local marketers is never defined by a time period or project, but is an ever evolving process. Step 1: Create objectives from a local marketing perspective Throughout his career, revered business author Stephen Covey stressed repeatedly the importance of seeking first to understand and then to be understood. Nowhere is this principle more important than in the relationship between corporate and local marketers. Together, the two parties can explode brand value at the local level. Misaligned, they will confuse and under serve consumers to the detriment of all parties. Alignment begins by first seeking to understand what “win” means to the local marketing partners. Once this is fully appreciated, common objectives can be built, strategies developed and tactics implemented. To create common objectives through the lens of the local marketer: • Recruit trusted local marketing partners for the process. Include both advocates and adversaries from this group. • Have a deep understanding of your own objectives and what “win” means to you. Then be flexible in how you get to your definition of win. • Be comprehensive and be diligent. Work first to define areas of easy alignment and opportunity before working through the challenge areas. This will help define for all parties the potential common objectives offers. Step 2: Create compelling content As a corporate marketer, your most challenging and judgmental audience will be your local marketers. They come with a few hundred, make that thousand, opinions! And, they’re pretty convinced you are clueless as to what matters to them. Prove them wrong. One of the keys to gaining local marketing alignment will come through how well you articulate the strategy that is behind the resources you provide. Take the time to explain Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 15
  • 17. Chapter Two: Creating Common Objectives Between Corporate and Local Marketers why the marketing resources provided was selected for them and how it benefits both the local and corporate marketing objectives. Use your local marketing partner group to evaluate the credibility of your case. Another key is to simply wow the local marketers. Compelling content, particularly extremely compelling graphic presentations, seems to subjugate petty local marketing chatter. Like all marketers, local marketers are highly visual individuals who find great content appealing. Anchoring your local campaigns with compelling point-of-sale visuals can help facilitate alignment of objects (no matter how “wrong” this approach may seem). Some key considerations for your content strategy should be: • Explain the strategy behind all marketing content. While the strategic reason for the content might seem obvious to you, don’t presume that it will be to the local marketer. Make sure to tell the strategy story from the local marketing perspective. • Provide a proper blend for corporate and local visibility. Make sure content is flexible and can easily be versioned to highlight local product preferences and/ or local branding. • Keep content fresh. Pace the release of new marketing content so that you are constantly providing new materials. Frequency of new content lets you continually reinforce messages around shared objectives, constantly instruct what you recommend local marketers do with the content you provide and constantly be top-of-mind and viewed as a vested partner. Step 3: Build an easy, strong brand content resource that fits their needs, not yours This step is pretty straight forward and obvious; if you want local marketers to partner with you in exploding brand value at the local level, you have to provide the resources for them to do so. Most organizations have some form of a brand content library. The one’s who excel, however, have a solution that is specifically built around local marketers’ needs. These often include raw marketing assets (images and the like), al a carte marketing materials (stand alone ads/emails), customer communications tools (e-newsletters) and turn-key campaigns. These also incorporate the principles outlined above of providing content from the local marketing perspective versus the corporate perspective. When building a resource center, consider the following: • Provide a single resource. Resource centers that send an individual to one location for print ads, another for email, another for digital display and still another for mobile make participation difficult. Look for solutions that allow you to put all content in one location. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 16
  • 18. Chapter Two: Creating Common Objectives Between Corporate and Local Marketers • Make marketing campaign implementation easy. One strong benefit you can provide to your local marketers is automating the process of campaign execution. Make sure your solution does this well. • Automate the local versioning. Don’t make your local marketers do the work of localizing the marketing content. Do this for them by applying a dynamic content assembly philosophy to your resource center. Plus, this will provide great down-the-road benefits to you through easy updating of both future and previously localized content. Step 4: Create a viable method for sharing a customer Finding alignment on what sharing a customer means is really important and not at all easy. Loyal customers are so important to both corporate and local marketers and often there are different motives for the relationship that are contradictory. On the other side of the experience, the customer doesn’t think of the corporate and local brand marketing as separate. The customer only looks for a common, consistent and coordinated message. As a corporate marketer, create a strong focus on this customer perspective. If you can design a program to fit the customer needs, the corporate and local issues may self resolve. Consider the following as you address how to share a customer: • Strive for consistent messaging to the customer. While this can be the starting point for a shared customer relationship, keep in mind that the local marketer may need to communicate with the customer in ways beyond those that meet your needs. • Use email as a starting point for shared list management. Distributed marketing organizations have unique email marketing challenges that include the impor tance of consistent messaging but that primarily center around coordination of message timing and message content and the management of email compliance, opt-out and deliverability. As a result of this complexity, email marketing to customers is an excellent starting point for joint customer management. • Localization of all shared customer communications. As a corporate marketer, respect the local marketer’s relationship with the customer by making sure to include a visual or text connection between the customer and the local marketer in all of your communica tion with the customer. Step 5: Lift all aspects of the local marketer’s business, not just the branded product or service Finding the right blend of corporate brand advocacy and local marketing enablement can help create common objectives. Note the importance of the word blend. Many organizations Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 17
  • 19. Chapter Two: Creating Common Objectives Between Corporate and Local Marketers try to find balance and therein fail. It is a nuanced but important differentiation…common objectives are blended objectives while balanced objectives simply co-exist. Exploding brand value at the local level requires blended objectives. Blended objectives happen when personal objectives are subjugated. As noted at the outset of this chapter, as a corporate marketer you do not need to give up what you want to accomplish, but you may need to be flexible in how that is accomplished. Many of the most successful corporate/local marketing partnerships begin with corporate marketing first looking at how to make local marketing successful and then looking at how to be central to that success. Any genuine interest in the local marketer’s success will show through in the resources provided. Consider the following to ensure this focus: • Profile the brand experience expectation from the perspective of a customer or consumer. Like with the local marketing perspective, role play as the consumer. Look at what communications you want, when you want it and how you view the brand and where you experience it. • Build a local marketing strategy before you build a corporate one. Put yourself in the role of your local marketing partner. Outline your objectives. Determine what support you want from corporate. Do this exercise for the various customer facing environments you support. • Build a customer and local focused corporate marketing strategy. By helping all partnering parties meet their objectives, you often will meet yours. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 18
  • 20. Chapter Two: Creating Common Objectives Between Corporate and Local Marketers Summary Creating common objectives between corporate and local marketers can be a challenging process. It is, however, a most critical one for exploding brand value at the local level. The challenge primarily lies in the differing perspectives of corporate and local marketers. Both perspectives are relevant, correct and valuable but the definition of “win” for each party is slightly different. “Win” for a local marketer means a loyal customer base, strong word-of-mouth marketing from that base, sales growth from existing and new customers and turning trial customers into loyal ones. While corporate has the same objectives, the pathway to “win” is different. Corporate must focus on creating market demand and brand preference, on consumer connections at the local level, and on winning at the point of decision. Given these different perspectives and needs, creating common objectives between corporate and local marketers is critical for the corporate marketing manager of a distributed marketing network. Five steps that should be implemented in this endeavor are: • Create objectives from a local marketing perspective. • Create compelling content. • Build an easy, strong brand content resource that fits their needs, not yours. • Create a viable method for sharing a customer. • Lift all aspects of the local marketer’s business, not just the branded product or service. With common objectives defined and corporate and local marketing strategy aligned, exploding brand value at the local level is one step closer to a vibrant reality. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 19
  • 21. 3 The Importance of Consistent Messages Introduction The concept of integrated marketing – where all marketing efforts are complimentary and consistent – is far from new. However, in today’s environment of fragmented customer attention, a consistent message across all channels and locales is critical. No individual knows this challenge more acutely than the corporate marketing manager of a distributed marketing network where corporate and local marketing messages need to be consistent and coordinated and where local marketer involvement is essential. This chapter addresses the unique challenges faced by these marketing managers. It outlines why consistency matters (particularly in the era of omni-channel customer engagement), the importance and power of local brand messaging, systems needed for mutually beneficial corporate and local marketing and three key steps for creating consistent brand messaging. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 20
  • 22. Chapter Three: The Importance of Consistent Messages Section One The Often Confused Consumer Consumers are a complex and independent lot. At the same time, they are also a lot like sheep, waiting to be guided. An mBuys Consumer Insights Study revealed that “72% of consumers want to be engaged with an integrated marketing approach, but only 39% are receiving that.” Clearly, consumers are willing to be guided, advised and assisted in product and service selection. But often, they are simply left confused instead by inconsistent messages across channels/mediums or different themes from corporate and local marketing. The complexity of consumer engagement with a branded product or service adds to the challenge. Not long ago marketers were debating the appropriate mix between traditional and digital marketing channels. But consumers quickly have made that conversation no longer relevant. Consumer engagement preference is not about a medium, it’s about a point in time and place in a decision process. They expect the marketer and marketing message to be consistently there at all points and all places in time. As an example, a recent xAd/Telmetrics Mobile Path to Purchase Study showed that 1 in 4 consumers use a mobile device all the way through a decision process. Further, and not surprisingly, the use of a smart phone versus a tablet is heavily influenced by whether the individual is in or out of home. But that’s far from the whole story. The same study notes that while 40 percent report that mobile is the primary source for retail related information, traditional PC-based web browsing, television, newspaper and yellow pages also contribute to decisions. Thus, the high potential for confusion. Clearly, communication strategies must be agnostic when it comes to channel selection or whether messages are presented by corporate or local marketers. If brand messages in a television commercial don’t connect to the website or the website messaging isn’t consistent with the print ad run or email sent by the local marketer, the consumer gets distracted and potentially derailed. From the marketer’s perspective, it’s nice that consumers indicate that they would welcome being led through a discovery and decision process. But delivery on that is really, really hard. Consumer complexity, in many ways, has outpaced marketing’s ability to respond and stories of “fumbled” customers abound. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 21
  • 23. Chapter Three: The Importance of Consistent Messages One of the most critical potential points of failure in effectively engaging and guiding a consumer is in the local delivery of brand messages. As discussed in the previous chapter, creating common objectives between corporate and local marketers can be challenging. But it is critical that the consumer feel, see, hear and experience one unified brand message between corporate and local. Consumers don’t view a brand in corporate and local buckets. They experience – or at least want to experience – one brand that has global awareness and local delivery. Year after year, Saepio research shows that corporate marketing managers of distributed marketing networks view brand consistency in local marketing content as their top priority. Clearly they must. Consumers are expecting that consistency. And due to differing objectives, local marketers will never fully shoulder that responsibility. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 22
  • 24. Chapter Three: The Importance of Consistent Messages Section Two The Power of Locally Delivered Brand Messages Consumers, for whatever reason, find local advertising more relevant and more trustworthy than national advertising. Perhaps it’s because they can look the advertiser across the counter and in the eye or simply have a tangible mental connection between a physical structure and the ad message. Whatever the underlying reason, recent research shows what savvy local marketers have known for decades, local marketing efforts can powerfully drive brand messages. In a survey conducted by the Newspaper Association of America, respondents noted that advertising on local websites is more likely to be trustworthy because it is “more likely to be current” (78%), more likely to be credible (48%) and tend to be “more local” (46%). The agency world is observing this trend too. A Corona Insights study noted that “Today’s findings show that national advertisers, and their agencies, understand that local ads in a local context are more than four times more effective, and are becoming a mainstream tool to reach consumers locally.” Additionally, 73 percent of the respondents believe that media with a local context outperforms simply geographically targeted advertising. With such strong supporting evidence and the ever-expanding options for delivering personalized, localized advertising directly to consumers, shouldn’t all brand marketing efforts be corporate yet “local”? Yes and no. Certainly research suggests that localized content lifts results with or without the aid of a local marketer. Additionally, as outlined in the next chapter, a marketing asset management platform for local marketing makes execution of such campaigns easy to implement. Given these factors, a corporate brand marketer can legitimately question if the role of a local marketer delivering locally branded messages is even a necessary one. However, data may be telling less than the whole story. • • • Data doesn’t shake a customer’s hand. No matter how accurate it may be, corporate insight doesn’t look a customer in the eye, audibly thank him or her for the business or ask about how the kids’ soccer team is doing. Data doesn’t live in the local market. Corporate insight doesn’t know about the “Western Trails Festival” that everyone in the city knows about or that the high school football team is going to state. Data doesn’t always have win-win at heart. As outlined in Chapter Two, finding common objectives is critical to a long-term win for both the corporate and local marketers. Analytics driven campaign management systems focused on driving personalized, localized communications won’t always be able to consider the nuanced win-win relationship needed. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 23
  • 25. Chapter Three: The Importance of Consistent Messages Saepio has long observed and endorsed the concept of blending corporate marketing insight and local marketing intuition. This powerful combination leverages the strength of both entities for the goal of consistent messaging that engages local consumers. Consumers, and particularly customers, want marketing messages with a local touch. They respond better to them, find them more current, more local and more credible. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 24
  • 26. Chapter Three: The Importance of Consistent Messages Section Three Single Source of Content is Critical Consistent messaging from corporate and local marketing to local consumers will only happen when consistent ingredients are going into those messages. Before simply writing that off as a quote from Captain Obvious, consider for a moment how many “chefs” are attempting to insert “ingredients” into the local brand messaging mix. In addition to corporate marketers, reps from local papers, radio stations, direct mailers, yellow pages, local ad agencies, search marketers, freelance creative professionals, national small business marketing services firms, image libraries and “brand marketer wanna be” friends and family of the local marketer all have marketing message “ingredients” to offer (this challenge is the focus of Chapter Six). With so many competing to influence the brand messaging, the corporate marketers not only must have the loudest megaphone, they must also have the most complete and easiest to use content library for brand messaging. These systems are typically referred to as distributed marketing management platforms or marketing asset management solutions and contain four key elements: 1. marketer would need to consistently message the brand in the local market should be found via the marketing storefront. 2. They are a complete, searchable repository of images and other digital assets. If local marketers – or those serving them – can quickly and easily find the content they are looking for, they’ll use it. If not, they’ll look elsewhere. A robust digital asset management foundation must be at the heart of any marketing asset management solution. 3. 4. They dynamically create content and campaigns, and do so for all channels. A dynamic content approach is critical because it allows for the content a local marketer sees to automatically be versioned to the local market. It also lets the local marketer participate in content selection within a framework established by the corporate marketer. They provide a single marketing storefront for local marketers of all things marketing. From campaign creative to branded apparel, anything a local They automate marketing fulfillment. Local marketers don’t have the time or the expertise to implement a marketing campaign whether that campaign is a simple, outbound email series or a complex, multi-channel campaign. Top-tier distributed marketing management platforms automate these processes to limit local marketer involvement. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 25
  • 27. Chapter Three: The Importance of Consistent Messages As an additional benefit, the same platform technology that enables local marketer engagement in the creation of consistent brand messaging can be used by corporate marketers to automate creation of personalized, localized content for local placement as part of a national campaign. The dynamic content creation and marketing fulfillment automation can turn an otherwise rather complex process into a highly automated, relatively easy campaign execution processes. A marketing asset management system can just as efficiently be used as a stand-alone resource for local marketers, as a shared environment where corporate marketing controls part of the content but enables local involvement and as a corporate to consumer content creation engine. Further, advanced platforms can stage content for campaign execution or build and deliver it in real time based on analytics guidance and consumer actions. This powerful, flexible approach to content creation and management is becoming increasingly essential for consistent message delivery across the corporate and local landscape. With such a resource in place, consistent messaging to consumers from corporate and local marketers operating in tandem or individually is not difficult. Without this resource, as noted earlier, it is virtually impossible. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 26
  • 28. Chapter Three: The Importance of Consistent Messages Section Four Three Keys for Ensuring Consistent Messages Ensuring that consumers receive consistent messaging from corporate and local marketers without doubt is challenging. But the goal is very attainable, even in a complex world where consumers seek consistency across all mediums and all points in time. However, consistent brand messaging won’t happen without a concerted, focused effort on the part of corporate marketing. Within these efforts, the following three steps will be critical: Key #1: Embrace Localized Marketing Consumers are asking for localized marketing. Whether generated by corporate or local, consumers view it as more relevant and credible. • Think local. Turn the corporate mindset to global branding locally delivered to increase performance. • Think relevance. Organizationally internalize what it means to deliver on the consumers’ desire to receive content when, where and in what medium they want. • Think analytics. Utilize corporate insight to drive local engagement and brand messaging consistency. Do so, however, in a manner that values local, intitionbased input. Key #2: Relentlessly Pursue a Partnering Attitude Consumers don’t view the brand as having corporate and local parts. They view one brand. Relentlessly pursue a partnering attitude between corporate and local marketing to avoid consumer confusion. • Engage local marketers. Strive to find the correct blend of corporate insight and local intuition. • Guide the consumer. Consumers are willing to be led through a product or service decision process. But they do expect a seamless experience with the brand at all points in that process. Map it out with corporate and local roles identified and relentlessly pursue a corporate and local partnership that delivers on this expectation. • Keep it simple. Local marketers are busy and are not sophisticated marketers. Keep them involved but make partnering with corporate easy. Create “wins” for them that don’t require lots of time or money. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 27
  • 29. Chapter Three: The Importance of Consistent Messages Key #3: Put Systems in Place to Make Blended Marketing Easy Consistent messaging across a consumer’s engagement with a brand won’t happen at any level without a technology infrastructure to support it. This is particularly true when corporate and local marketers must team together to manage the consumer communications. • Start with the content. Content is the engagement point with the consumer. Getting an advanced distributed marketing management platform or marketing asset management solution in place is critical. Don’t cut corners either, as limited technology will limit your ability to engage customers. • Utilize big data and analytics. The exploding capacity of hardware and software technology in tandem with incredible volumes of consumer data now available provides insights never available before. Blended with a content creation tech nology and the intuition of a local marketer, this insight can be a powerful force. Use it fully. • Implement locally focused real-time campaign management. Also known as real-time decision engines, this technology enables consumer actions to dictate marketing reaction. These engines absorb consumer interactions (what, when, where, why and how the consumer is engaging with the brand), call on big data and analytics within the context of these actions and then instruct the dynamic content engines to assemble and deliver marketing campaign content both in real time and in drip sequences. This technology is way outside the capacities of the local marketer to manage (let alone most corporate marketers!). Implement it in ways that are “behind the scenes” and simple to use for the local marketer but make sure to engage your local marketers in creating the content that will be automatically and dynamically created and served to consumers. (See the Saepio DMLS Guidebook “The New Technology Trinity for Real-Time Consumer Engagement” to learn more about the roles of these three technologies in customer engagement management.) These three keys provide the framework for creating the consistent messaging that is needed to explode brand value at the local level. The keys are primarily philosophical with a technology infrastructure to support the shift in thought. Ironically, many in corporate marketing still view such approaches as futuristic. Unfortunately, most consumers have arrived at that “future” and are waiting for the brand marketers – both corporate and local – to respond. That noted, don’t wait for the full technology infrastructure to be in place to start. Many steps can be taken immediately to facilitate, and even ensure, consistent messaging from corporate and local marketers. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 28
  • 30. Chapter Three: The Importance of Consistent Messages Summary Consistent messaging must be in place across corporate and local marketing activities for brand value to explode at the local level. While they are individualistic and complex, today’s consumers are begging to be guided by consistent communications across the myriad of devices, channels and locations where they engage with a brand. Further, they don’t think about a brand in corporate and local buckets, just in terms of information and accessibility. And, they respond better to locally versioned messaging about the brand and the point of interaction with the brand. Unfortunately, too often instead of guiding the consumer and capitalizing on this local advantage, corporate and local marketers confuse them through out-of-sync marketing messages. Implementing strong distributed marketing management technology is key to creating blended, consistent messages from corporate and local marketers. However, equally important to technology is the embracement of localized marketing content and an embracement of corporate and local partnership in the delivery of these messages. The savvy corporate marketer will see the importance of pursuing robust technology infrastructure to drive localized messaging while at the same time implementing readily available operational steps to facilitate consistent messaging and help explode brand value at the local level. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 29
  • 31. 4 Coordinated Message Delivery Introduction Consumers don’t see brands as corporate or local. Instead, they view them personally, and in the way they consume them. As a result, they not only expect consistent brand messages, they want coordinated ones. To provide this, corporate and local must have complimentary marketing campaign schedules. Corporate marketers can localize media buys with relative ease, particularly digital buys, and can “buy” an individual rather than a locale. This is powerful and effective and consumers respond. However, consumers also react when corporate and local messaging overlay one another or competes with one another. In such cases, corporate and local also waste precious media dollars. When coordinated, however, the blended personalization or localization can have a highly positive outcome. Both corporate and local marketers have long sought to be in front of the consumer as close as possible to the key “Moments of Truth” where purchase decisions are made and word-of-mouth support is mobilized. Organize this well, and strong results will follow. Coordinated messaging can’t happen without, well, coordination. While it is impractical for this to transpire in any manual way, it is both possible and probable that it will if the proper automation systems are implemented. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 30
  • 32. Chapter Four: Coordinated Message Delivery Section One Revisiting Local Moment of Truth (LMOT) For decades, the concept of consumer “Moments of Truth” was neatly wrapped in a package with a bow on top. The First Moment of Truth (FMOT) occurred when the consumer was standing at the point of decision and reviewing the purchase options before him or her. The Second Moment of Truth (SMOT) followed shortly thereafter when the consumer began to consume and experience the product and determine if it lived up to the expectations they had set for it. Connectivity and the “Always On” consumer have changed this sequence. In addition to these First and Second Moments of Truth, the corporate and local marketers now must collectively also address Zero Moments of Truth (ZMOT) and Local Moments of Truth (LMOT). Zero Moments of Truth, or ZMOTs as introduced by Google, occur before any product considerations are given. These happen when an individual utilizes a search engine to begin research on the types of products or solutions available to them to solve a problem and to read reviews of customers who have previously used the solution. Search results, customer reviews and online shopping options all now come into play in an online venue. As implied in the name, a Zero Moment of Truth typically occurs prior to the First Moment of Truth, and in some cases precludes it. The Local Moment of Truth is centered around where and when the consumer will take action (LMOT’s largely involve mobile marketing exchanges). With so many consumer decisions being impulse or time-limited decisions that are also location aware, the ability to deliver call-to-action messages hyper-locally and immediately deliver a product or service hyper-locally becomes critical. It’s at a Local Moment of Truth that the consumer determines if an immediate action will be taken and if that action will be fulfilled locally rather than online or at another location and time. It capitalizes on the consumer’s location at the time of decision and is indifferent to the existence of a Zero Moment of Truth or First Moment of Truth. A marketer’s ultimate goal is that Local Moment of Truth stimulus equals favorable, immediate response which leads to a sale and a positive Second Moment of Truth. In this context, coordination of message cadence between corporate and local marketing becomes critical. The messaging consumed online, whether from the brand or users of the brand, must be coordinated with the messages received in-store and experienced through the branded product or service. In particular, corporate brand messaging that creates category demand and brand preference must be paid off in the correct time sequence by local brand messages that are call-to-action focused. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 31
  • 33. Chapter Four: Coordinated Message Delivery Further, as outlined in the previous chapter, messages from corporate marketers and messages from local marketers must appear harmonious to the consumer, particularly during a Local Moment of Truth. While the duration of a Local Moment of Truth varies based on the type of product or service, there is a defined endpoint, and therefore a risk of a lost sale either from waning interest or a change in location. To fully explode brand value at the local level, corporate and local marketers must both understand these moments of truth and have a coordinated plan of attack for interaction with the consumer throughout each of these moments of truth. While this objective is relatively easy to address in cases where the corporate and local marketers share a single brand identity, as explored in the next section, it can be very challenging when this is not the case. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 32
  • 34. Chapter Four: Coordinated Message Delivery Section Two Sharing Your Brand with Local Marketers Among the biggest barriers to coordinated messages between corporate and local marketers are the questions of who manages the consumer experience and who owns the brand preference. If you manage a distributed marketing network where every product or service and every product or service delivery channel is within a single brand identity, count yourself lucky and feel free to move forward to the next section. For everyone else, read on. Co-branding with a local marketer is hard. Really hard. Keeping messages coordinated in these scenarios is harder still…especially throughout all the Moments of Truth. For example, • Who’s in charge of ensuring excellent messaging at the Zero Moment of Truth? If it’s corporate marketing, how do you pass that message forward to the local brand? • Who’s in charge of being visible and setting the message at the Local Moment of Truth? And will a local marketer carry your brand message forward into their store or to product selection discussions during a services delivery (i.e. replacement of an air conditioner)? • What coordinated messaging and visibility for your brand in a retail environment is fair to ask of the local marketer when a consumer is choosing between your brand and another (that First Moment of Truth)? Often, you aren’t the only one competing for this visibility. • Who responds at the Second Moment of Truth if a customer shares the experience in a social venue? Who gets the credit and word-of-mouth marketing win? • How do your actions differ if you have a stronger brand than the local brand? What if the opposite is the case? What if most local views of the local brand simply don’t usually connect your corporate brand to the local brand? Clearly, these are challenging questions. In a co-branded environment, it is unfair to ask the local marketer to solely advocate your brand. It is equally unrealistic to expect that the local marketer will keep brand messaging coordinated and the sequence of communications with the consumer coordinated through these moments of truth. Thus, coordinated messaging and a single consumer experience for your brand will only happen when corporate marketing assumes full responsibility for every engagement in every moment of truth. This responsibility extends far beyond the traditional influences of providing localized marketing materials or MDF/co-op funds. Traditional MDF and co-op programs can certainly help address these questions and guide actions (although, as outlined in Chapter Six, spend of these funds is often heavily influenced by “competitors,” the sales networks focused on Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 33
  • 35. Chapter Four: Coordinated Message Delivery helping small businesses help them access your co-op dollars). Historically, these programs have been heavily about generating local brand awareness in a local context for the purpose of creating consumer traffic for a First Moment of Truth. With the arrival of Zero and Local Moments of Truth, however, has come a whole new hierarchy of importance and complexity for a coordinated sequence of communication. Consumers are simply making purchase decisions in a different manner than traditional co-branding marketing strategies and tactics have supported. As a corporate marketer operating on behalf of the local marketer, you must message to the consumer in a coordinated sequence that enables you to win at these Zero and Local Moments for both your brand and the local marketer’s brand, including the call to action that generates a response for the local marketer’s brand. Then, working with and being dependent on the local marketer, you must continue through to also win at the First Moment of Truth when the product decision is sealed through a purchase made. Everything the corporate marketer does must be structured around this premise. Corporate can only win when local wins and the local marketer’s odds of winning increase significantly when corporate also wins. The following examples provide some practical application (and the Moments of Truth involved): • A corporate brand marketing team may choose to fund a co-branded hyperlocal search marketing campaign that drives consumers to a local store. In exchange for this support, the local marketer agrees to product placement and point of sale marketing messages that provide coordinated messaging throughout the consumer experience. (LMOT and FMOT) • A corporate brand marketing team implements a customer experience and individualized campaign management program that determines the messages, mediums and sequences of communication to a consumer (loyalty program member or otherwise) to mobilize a purchase decision and manage follow-up communications. In exchange, local agrees to incorporate this individualized consumer insight into its in-store customer engagement. (ZMOT, LMOT, FMOT & SMOT) • A corporate brand marketing team funds short-tail Pay Per Click search campaigns that feature the branded product in tandem with a local, co-branded call to action coupon. In exchange for this service, the local marketer provides placement of shelf-talkers that visually connect the CTA offer to the product offered. (ZMOT and FMOT) • A corporate brand marketing team monitors social chatter and rewards positive corporate brand posts through co-branded “thank you” discount for additional purchases at the local retail or service outlet. (SMOT) Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 34
  • 36. Chapter Four: Coordinated Message Delivery By driving the process and structuring it as co-branded and local call-to-action oriented, corporate marketing can help ensure that message delivery is coordinated. Unfortunately, none of these efforts will guarantee the local marketer’s acceptance, adoption, or interest in coordinating with the corporate marketing programs that are needed to explode brand value at the local level. This is especially the case if they don’t easily see how marketing efforts benefit them. To that end, the first target audience for the corporate marketer must be the local marketer network. While this topic is addressed in detail in the Chapter Seven, the following four key considerations are most relevant to attaining coordinated communications between corporate and local brands. Key #1: Know Your Role Objectively evaluate how to best partner with the local marketer to lift the value of both the corporate brand and the local brand. Understand that to carry a coordinated message sequence through the Moments of Truth to assure a consumer purchase, corporate marketing must find creative ways to educate the front-line marketers at the store or in the service encounter. Point of sale and product literature can play an important role in providing this education. Key #2: Show off the Local Brand “Win” Getting local marketers to coordinate messaging begins with them clearly seeing how their local brand wins. Strong graphics, shared brand emphasis, and call to actions restricted to their retail location or service will help them see and appreciate the investment corporate is making with them. A remarketing campaign focused on local marketers and front-line marketers can help. Key #3: Make it Profoundly Easy for Them to Co-Brand With You A lot of brand marketers, local marketing sales organizations and media outlets will constantly be competing against a corporate brand marketer for the attention of the local marketer. These other entities could care less about whether messaging to the consumer is coordinated between you and the local marketer. Win through ease of use and innovative solutions. Make both DIY and DIFM co-branded marketing campaigns PROFOUNDLY easy for the local marketer to implement or opt into. Key #4: Be Very Visible and Make Them the Hero Everyone wants to be associated with a winner. If the corporate brand has a strong consumer awareness and preference, use that brand position to lift the local marketer’s brand value. If the corporate brand equity isn’t as strong, use creative applications that both enhance the corporate brand and reinforce the local brand’s leadership position. In summary, when local marketers see that you have their local brand’s interest at heart, they reciprocate. Gaining this alignment is hard work but is critical to attain if consumers are to experience coordinated messages between corporate and local marketing, which, in turn, is essential for brand value to explode at the local level. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 35
  • 37. Chapter Four: Coordinated Message Delivery Section Three Four Steps for Message Coordination While many tactics can be applied to creating coordinated messages between corporate and local marketers, most can be organized around the following four steps: Step One: Revisit how consumers want to engage both the corporate and local brands. The manner in which consumers want to engage with both corporate and local brands is changing rapidly. The desire for an omni-channel, personalized and localized experience across all the moments of truth necessitates a new approach to coordinating marketing messages. The corporate marketing manager of a distributed marketing network should proactively revisit how consumers want to engage both corporate and local brands: • Map out your consumer’s omni-channel journeys to determine which engagements should be corporate marketing’s and what elements are best served locally. • Develop a phased roadmap from your program today to the end destination. Identify the key marketing process or infrastructure changes that will be needed at the corporate level and identify the types of supportive actions you’ll want from local marketers. • Look for natural transition steps that feel simple and logical to your distributed marketers. Step Two: Win the hearts of the local marketers by rethinking how/where you support them. Moving a call to action through to brand selection at point of sale or service (a traditional First Moment of Truth), will require a coordinated, blended sequence of messaging from local and front-line marketers. However, there’s no coordination of messaging for the corporate brand at this critical point of decision if there’s no interaction between the local or front-line marketer and the consumer. Such a critical moment can’t be left to chance. To create engagement with local and front-line marketers, the corporate marketer must: • Win the hearts of the local and front-line marketers by making them the heroes. The local brand must be strongly blended with the corporate brand at the Zero and Local Moments of Truth. Local and front-line marketers seeing this blended branding is almost as important as the consumer seeing it as these individuals help influence the still critically important First Moment of Truth when and where purchase decisions are made. • Provide graphically compelling content for point-of-sale or service display. Front line marketers are consumers too and want to be associated with cool stuff. • Create brand awareness campaigns focused on local and front-line marketers. Digital display remarketing technology makes focused ad placement easy. Create a campaign designed to keep corporate brand awareness high with this critical audience. Keep ad content fresh, interesting and educational. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 36
  • 38. Chapter Four: Coordinated Message Delivery Step Three: Redirect your MDF/co-op fund management to LMOT and FMOT. If MDF or co-op funds are available as part of the corporate marketing’s local marketing support, begin to shift the focus of these programs to the Local and First Moments of Truth. These are the critical call to action and product/service selection points and the points where the local brand is most relevant. • Structure programs to incent a strong, co-branded point of sale/service presence. Strong creative will be key to local participation as the local marketer’s first incli nation will be to utilize funds to drive traffic, not product or service selection. • Support local search campaigns but require messaging control through to a co-branded landing page. This will help manage the influence of the sales advisors from local media outlets, agencies or marketing sales organizations. • Make assurance of compliance and reimbursement easy by providing a resource library of MDF/co-op eligible marketing resources. Step Four: Provide systems that jointly manage marketing activities to ensure proper message cadence. Coordinating marketing messages between corporate and local marketing efforts becomes massively easier when a single distributed marketing management platform is involved. This goes well beyond simple ad building technology. Advanced platforms, for example, will control cadence of media placement such as when a corporate or local email is sent to keep consumers from receiving overlapping messages. Advanced platforms will also enable joint list management, again for coordination purposes, and allow for easy updating of both corporate and local content. When considering a distributed marketing platform, look for solutions that: • Provide all of the local marketing resources in a single location. Coordinated messaging is much easier to attain if digital display, landing pages, email, pointof-sale printed materials, store signage, print ads and all other ad content is created in one location. • Automate the marketing fulfillment process. Media buying and marketing fulfillment is too complex for corporate marketers or agencies, let alone local marketers. Look for solutions that automate these processes, facilitate the coordination of messaging, and integrate with MDF/co-op if relevant. • Automate local market versioning across all channels. An effective distributed marketing management platform will provide dynamic content creation across all channels that makes participate easy for local marketers and message management easy for corporate marketers. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 37
  • 39. Chapter Four: Coordinated Message Delivery Summary Coordinated brand messaging – the cadence and sequence of messages – when combined with consistent brand messages can lead to powerful marketing results for corporate and local marketers alike. Coordinated marketing, however, often isn’t easy, especially in cases where the corporate and local brands equally influence the consumer’s decision process. The addition of Zero Moments of Truth due to search and local moments of truth due to mobility adds even more complexity for coordinated marketing messaging. The emerging consumers’ desire of an omni-channel brand experience further challenges the blending of corporate and local brands and the coordination of messages. In response, corporate marketers must implement marketing systems that coordinate the consumer’s experience with the corporate brand messaging throughout a decision sequence, but in a manner that also values the local brand and creates local call to action. Engaging local and front-line marketers in the process is critical as they must carry forward a coordinated message at the point of sale, the traditional First Moment of Truth where purchase decisions are made. Traditional corporate-to-local support programs often aren’t focused on these new realities. The savvy corporate marketer will start today to: • Revisit how consumers want to engage with both the corporate and local brands • Develop programs designed to win the hearts and support of local marketers • Restructure MDF/co-op resources to help ensure coordinated messaging • Implement platforms that support coordinated, blended marketing messaging to consumers from both corporate and local marketing Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 38
  • 40. 5 Cooperative Customer Management 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 marketer 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 engagement 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. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 39
  • 41. Chapter Five: Cooperative Customer Management Section 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. 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. For local marketers, the definition is slightly different: • individual who is a member of local loyalty program. •An An individual who is a memberaof 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). 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. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 40
  • 42. Chapter Five: Cooperative Customer Management 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. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 41
  • 43. Chapter Five: Cooperative Customer Management Section Two 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 section). • 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 customer 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 Chapter Four), dramatically increases the likeli hood 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 Chapter Four 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. • 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. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 42
  • 44. Chapter Five: Cooperative Customer Management 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 you to engage them. 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. When a single brand identity is involved, corporate marketers must find a way for the customer 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. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 43
  • 45. Chapter Five: Cooperative Customer Management Section Three 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. 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-thescenes local marketer involved in the illustration above, but to do so would be totally unfair. The absence of an organized plan is to blame. 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 Chapter Four) 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. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 44
  • 46. Chapter Five: Cooperative Customer Management 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 marketers 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 management 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 decision in the hands of the customer helps corporate marketing stay neutral. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 45
  • 47. Chapter Five: 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. 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. 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. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 46
  • 48. Chapter Five: Cooperative Customer Management Section Four Five Considerations for Cooperative Customer Management Sharing customers can be one of the most delicate challenges corporate and local marketers face when striving to explode brand value at the local level. Nothing should be treasured 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. Consideration One: 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. Consideration Two: Design logical programs that map to the customer Moments of Truth 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 conversation 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. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 47
  • 49. Chapter Five: Cooperative Customer Management Consideration Three: Make the customer relationship hand off points easy to understand and implement 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. Consideration Four: Be the advocate for the local marketer’s connection to the customer This is a recurring theme found throughout this ebook. 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. Consideration Five: 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. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 48
  • 50. Chapter Five: Cooperative Customer Management Summary 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 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 corporate 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 Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 49
  • 51. 6 Engaging the Competition Introduction The corporate marketers efforts to explode brand value at the local level is challenging enough when just a corporate and local marketer relationship is involved. It can become exponentially more challenging when a vast array of local marketing advisors enter the picture. These “competitors” for the local marketing mindshare come in a variety of forms – local media outlets, search marketing firms, local agencies, et cetera – but all are intent on developing a relationship with and/or selling a service to the local marketer. The competitor understands the value of the corporate brand, but sees it only through the lens of local opportunity, an opportunity that includes ad spend on his/her marketing channel. While the natural reaction of the corporate marketer might be to build “moats and walls” around its distributed marketing network to protect local marketers from these competitors, the more prudent approach is to engage the competition for the purpose of guiding its influence of the local competitor. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 50
  • 52. Chapter Six: Engaging the Competition Section One Defining the Competition Local marketers have plenty of entities vying for their limited advertising dollars. That’s understandable as the total spend by local businesses on local media placements is huge. It’s only natural that so many media companies and agencies want a slice of this profitable pie. The corporate marketer, however, has a different take. While many of these local media advisors may provide good advice and offer legitimate solutions, rarely are any of these programs coordinated with corporate brand activity. Thus, instead of being viewed as a partner in helping local marketers build strong, brand compliant content, the local media advisor is seen as a “competitor,” an entity that will take the local marketer off focus, off message and off brand compliance. These so-called “competitors” can come in many forms: • National companies with national sales forces who build personal relationships with the local marketers and sell a wide range of marketing solutions. • Yellow page publishers that offer expanded marketing services such as search and direct mail. • Prospect list companies that offer names and contact information for the best prospects in a trade area. • Email service providers that help local marketers create email creative and build lists. • Local direct marketing aggregators that save costs by bundling multiple local businesses together into a single consumer marketing source. • Search marketing, remarketing and local digital display marketing firms also make their cases to the local marketers. • Traditional media sales reps from local media outlets also call on the local marketer. Whether representing a community newspaper, TV station, cable system, radio ad or outdoor network, these local marketing advisors bring a strong knowledge of the local marketplace and often provide a compelling case to the local marketer. • Turn-key direct mail programs are often offered by sales reps from local printers. A local USPS business services rep may also encourage a program such as Every Door Direct Mail™ . Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 51
  • 53. Chapter Six: Engaging the Competition • Local web design and web hosting firms help local marketers design and maintain a compelling online presence. • Freelance marketers, many former agency personnel or local marketers themselves, offer a wide array of consulting and campaign planning services. • Local ad agencies, too, are after these local marketers, particularly those with higher dollar products or those with significant co-op funds to access. • Community event marketers such as local high school cheerleaders, a church volunteer team conducting on a health fair, a citywide festival committee, et cetera, all come calling on local businesses for their support. As one can see, the list of local entities competing for the attention of the local marketer is long. Clearly, such an army of local marketing advisors might seem a bit overwhelming to many local marketers. However, it is just as likely that one or more of these individuals have established a position as a trusted advisor or go-to marketing partner for that local marketer. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 52
  • 54. Chapter Six: Engaging the Competition Section Two Strategies to Include the Competition Given the large number of organizations and individuals competing for a share of your local marketers’ ad budgets, it’s likely that you won’t be the only one influencing where and how they market locally. Rather than fight this local influence, guide it through the resources you provide. Your ability to influence how the local “competitors” engage with your local marketers may well depend on how easy you make it for them to engage with you first. Most of these local marketing advisors are focused on gaining revenues from the placement of marketing messages, not on the creating of the content. In fact, in many cases, the content creation component is an expense against the revenue stream from ad placement. Use that to your advantage. While the focus of the resources you provide to your local marketers should be on them and their use of your solution, consider providing access for the local “competitor” groups too. But do so in a way that maximizes your influence and control. First, as an example, if your local marketer has a local ad agency, provide easy access to the images, logos and other branded marketing content. Make it easy for the local agency to create locally relevant content that matches your branded content. However, consider holding back some of the most compelling content for use only in materials that are localized through your distributed marketing platform. This will encourage the local marketers and the local agency to use content created within your distributed marketing management platform instead of just locally produced content. Other local marketing advisors, such as reps from local newspapers, magazines, cable networks, and radio stations will welcome the existence of ad content that can be easily localized and/or downloaded for tagging. Second, encourage and make it easy for your local marketers to request unique username and password access for each of the local resources they work with. This will give you the ability to monitor what content is being accessed by each of the local “competitors” and whether these entities are using your distributed marketing platform to create the content or if they are downloading raw assets for creating external content. Third, keep brand guidelines front and center for the local marketing advisors. Again, if you are using a distributed marketing management platform, create a user group specifically for local marketing advisors. This will give you the ability to provide a unique “home page” of your solution for them and the ability to keep brand guidelines in the forefront of their interactions with you. This will help convey that you view them as part of the team, but that you have expectations of them as well. Consider extending this to some access contract that makes site access contingent upon a shared declaration to uphold brand standards. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 53
  • 55. Chapter Six: Engaging the Competition Fourth, consider including templates within your solution that are specific to the needs of the local marketing competitors. For example, include templates that meet the requirements of the USPS Every Door Direct Mail™ program or the ValPak™ mailer insert format. When these exist and are easy to use, these organizations will guide your local marketers to this resource and help them create locally relevant, brand compliant content for distribution. Also, consider making your print ad templates resizable. This will greatly help the local newspaper and magazine reps who have various column width sizes for their publications. Fifth, make content easy to find for the various local marketing advisors/competitors. When you organize the metadata structure for the assets going into your distributed marketing management platform, include keywords that will help the local marketing advisors quickly find what they are seeking. Again, the primary focus of your distributed marketing management platform should obviously remain on the needs of your local marketers. However, as you can see, by adding in content, access and features that are helpful to the local marketing advisors, you can turn these “competitors” into teammates. The result is better brand message management for you and local marketers alike. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 54
  • 56. Chapter Six: Engaging the Competition Section Three Determining the Correct Access Strategy for the Competition While there are a number of compelling reasons to grant access to your distributed marketing content platform to the local marketing “competitors” who assist your local marketers with marketing campaigns, an access strategy should be in place and using the local marketer’s credentials should never be allowed. Make this point clear to your local marketers: sharing of their username and password with local marketing advisors simply can NEVER happen. However, to make sure such sharing doesn’t happen, provide an easy alternative. The best-practice means for approaching this is to create a unique user group with unique permissions for these entities and individuals. This will allow you to both control and monitor activity. You must also make requesting access on behalf of a local marketing advisor easy for your local marketers. In fact, you may want to consider special programs to encourage it. Again, the overriding philosophy is to engage and influence, rather than to resist and have no control. Creating an access structure for the local marketing advisors provides you with many opportunities to monitor and manage the engagement. Some common questions you’ll want to consider are: • How targeted do you want the user experience to be? Do ValPak ™or USPS reps, for example, see the same or different view of the resources available from your distributed marketing resource center? • Do the local marketing advisors get to see the pricing options you make avail able to your local marketers for email or direct mail campaigns? This will force lower prices locally, but will it reduce your bulk buying power in the long term? • Will you require approval by the local marketer before any content is downloaded by a local marketing advisor? Will corporate approval be required too? • Can any local marketing advisor download images and logos or just those with agency credentials? Can images ever be downloaded without being part of a completed marketing ad? Questions such as these must be asked and thought through well before permissions are granted to local marketing advisors. The way you structure their access will naturally guide their use of the system. Obviously, creating a complex, hard-to-manage user access strategy Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 55
  • 57. Chapter Six: Engaging the Competition isn’t what any corporate marketer is after and will just deter use. Conversely, too much flexibility will only lead to misuse and frustration. The win-win-win pathway for each corporate marketer, local marketer and local marketing advisor exists. But it will likely take a brainstorming session to discover. Finding this pathway is critical to exploding brand value at the local level. There’s an army of local marketing advisors out there vying for the attention of your local marketer. Whether they are allies or enemies largely depends on how you choose to include and engage them and how well you execute on that strategy.  Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 56
  • 58. Chapter Six: Engaging the Competition Section Four Five Steps to Engaging the Competition for Your Local Marketer Engaging the local marketing advisors into your local marketing process is an important step for exploding brand value at the local level. While there are many ways this engagement can take place and differing strategies based on the corporate brand’s role at retail (such as a branded product within a differently branded retail environment), five common steps can be applied. Step One Help your local marketers know how to best use these local resources Provide guidance for local marketers on what local resources to use and how best to use them. By including ways to create content that the various local marketing advisors would apply to campaigns in the local marketer, the corporate marketer can maintain an influential role in the process. Step Two Include content for competitors – i.e. graphic standards and MDF/co-op guidelines Make it easy for these local competitors to interact with the local marketing resource you provide for your local marketers. Include content that guides them so that graphic standards are maintained and MDF/co-op guidelines are followed. Step Three Make your marketing hub user friendly for competitors Set up special access for the local marketing advisors/competitors so that you can guide them as they recommend solutions for your local marketers. You can, for example, highlight special promotions or products for which coop funds are available. Step Four Include content that maps to competitors’ needs Encourage use of your marketing resource by the local marketing advisors by providing content that helps them serve your local marketers. As an example, include a full range of digital display ad sizes or offer a landing page and social post workflow that simplifies content creation for a social marketing campaign. Step Five Monitor use of the system by “competitors” and share metrics across network Structure user access for “competitors” in a manner that lets you can monitor activities and results. This information can then be shared to all local marketers to ensure best practices. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 57
  • 59. Chapter Six: Engaging the Competition Summary Engaging the local marketing advisors that compete for the mindshare of your local marketers may seem counterintuitive at first. However, by engaging them, the corporate marketer can influence them and turn them from an adversary to an advocate. When aligned, these local marketing advisors can help maximize the value of the resources you provide to your local marketers. To engage them, provide unique access for them to the distributed marketing management platform. This will allow you to influence actions, monitor activities and provide specialized content for the various local marketing advisors. Every organization’s content access strategy will be different and it is important to carefully consider the various options as access permissions and resources provided will heavily influence the actions carried out in concert with your local marketers. To help ensure engagement, consider these steps: • Help your local marketers know how to best use these local resources • Include content for competitors – i.e. graphic standards and mdf/co-op guidelines • Make your marketing hub user friendly for competitors • Include content that maps to competitors’ needs • Monitor use of the system by “competitors” and share metrics across network There’s an army of local marketing advisors out there vying for the attention of your local marketer. Whether they are allies or enemies largely depends on how you choose to include and engage them and how well you execute on that strategy. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 58
  • 60. 7 Communication Strategies for Keeping Local and Corporate Aligned Introduction In an era of easy email, enewsletters, instant messaging and digital everything, getting communications out to local marketers quickly and affordably is easy. Perhaps too easy. The challenge is that most corporate marketers are really good at these one-way communications. But successful communications for a distributed marketing network isn’t rooted in communicating TO someone, it’s anchored in communicating WITH someone. Often, when corporate and local marketing messages are out of sync, people examine the breadth and depth of content, formats used, focus of the messages, and timeliness of campaigns. However, the root cause of the dysfunction is often simply due to a lack of quality communications. In an environment absent of quality communications, local marketers decide corporate marketing is out of touch, and corporate marketing believer that local marketers simply want to go rogue. In most cases, however, the reality is that intelligent, well-skilled individuals are found at each end of the spectrum. The missing ingredient isn’t a lack of well-organized, well thought-out resources. It’s communications. To explode brand value at the local level, corporate marketers must communicate WITH local marketers, not TO them. And this process begins, progresses and ends with listening. When great listening is happening, powerful messaging can occur. When it’s not, brand messaging and customers are confused and marketing performance compromised. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 59
  • 61. Chapter Seven: Communication Strategies for Keeping Corporate and Local Aligned Section One Looking for the “Giant Ear” Most successful distributed marketing management programs have a common characteristic …a giant ear. While listening is obviously the starting point for good communications in any type of relationship, it is flat out critical for the corporate marketer who must depend on local marketers to bring a brand to life in a local context. Good listening skills keeps corporate in tune with local needs, keeps corporate marketing responsive and coordination of local and corporate marketing initiatives growing. Good listening habits, those of giant ear status, however clearly won’t happen by accident. Instead, they are the result of structured programs designed to continually seek, aggregate and analyze input. They go far beyond the occasional survey or the quarterly advisory board. Good listening begins with good observing The first step in creating a program for listening to distributed marketers is to create a system for monitoring actions. Local marketers do, as the cliché says, speak louder through their actions than their words. Design a system that monitors all local activity, flags variances and constantly watches for pattern trends. Listen closely for silence. One of the easiest pitfalls for the corporate marketing manager of a distributed network is to listen only to those who are talking to you. Good listening continually seeks to clarify The second step of a listening program should involve implementing defined processes for continually clarify what local marketers are telling you through requests, questions and comments you receive. Similar to the active listening practices of everyday life, this communication process must have multiple clarifying steps until the meaning of a word or phrase is clear. Because corporate and local marketers start from such differing perspectives, the risk is high for both parties to assume the other party is in sync based on the marketing phrase used. But even something as simple as the word “campaign” can have different meanings in the corporate and local worlds. Design your feedback forms, your phone calls, your company meetings, et cetera, in a manner that makes laddered, clarifying questioning easy and natural. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 60
  • 62. Chapter Seven: Communication Strategies for Keeping Corporate and Local Aligned Good listening requires absolute objectivity Marketers are schooled in the principles of selective perception. But like everyone else, they’re most skilled at hearing what they want to hear, especially when it comes to programs they’ve designed. The third step of a listening program should be a process to ensure objectivity and a broad representation of input. In addition to the pitfall of hearing what you want to hear, it is easy to hear only from those whom you want to listen to or those most willing to speak with you. Design your feedback/input systems in a manner that helps ensure both objectivity and an inclusiveness. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 61
  • 63. Chapter Seven: Communication Strategies for Keeping Corporate and Local Aligned Section Two Communicate WITH, Not TO, Your Local Marketers In today’s connected world, communicating TO someone is far too easy. Within minutes, an email can be broadcast, a newsletter created and sent, or an announcement posted. But to believe that these actions represent communication is clearly incorrect. Communication occurs when you talk WITH the local marketers. Talking WITH your distributed network does include all of the outbound TO messages. And, it religiously includes easy, if not mandatory, ways for them to talk back. Getting to this state of dialogue is more about a mindset than a formal program. As a first step, complete a quick audit of your current practices (see Worksheet #1). Write down a quick inventory of all the ways you currently communicate with your local marketers. Next, identify if the communication is TO or WITH focused. If it is WITH focused, look at the breadth and depth of feedback being received. Finally, note how each of the communications could be improved to create better engagement with your local marketers. Worksheet #1 Current Communications TO or WITH Breadth & Depth of Feedback Ways to Adapt Communications to Improve Feedback Naturally, if the listening processes outlined in Section One are in place, these elements should be embedded into each and every communication with the distributed marketing network. Exploding brand value at the local level is a joint effort between the corporate and local marketer. How “joint” the effort truly is will largely depend on how much communication is WITH rather than TO the local marketing teams. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 62
  • 64. Chapter Seven: Communication Strategies for Keeping Corporate and Local Aligned Section Three Implementing Systemic Communication Processes That Matter To explode brand value at the local level communications with local marketers must become systemic. Start with an audit of your current communication practices from the perspective of the local marketer: How often do you communicate? Is your communication consistent in timing and format? Something that’ s easy to spot? Do you have an easy to digest, organized format? Is the content timely and fresh? If the local marketer missed the message, would he/she care? As they complete this audit, many corporate marketers find that the communications is largely organized around a corporate perspective. Often messaging is too factual and not actionable as local marketing tactics. One way to make communication actionable is to tie outbound communication to takeaction tasks within a distributed marketing management platform. The communication can then focus on why a local marketing activity is important and immediately provide a way to turn that information into a completed project. Another key consideration is message cadence. Sending frequent communications just to send it more often than not will lead to overlooked messages. Less frequent but more meaningful communications is preferred by local marketers, and required if you want dialogue to occur. Finally, don’t hesitate to require confirmation that key communication has been received. This acceptance/feedback process can help set the expectation of an ongoing conversation between corporate and the local marketer. Where possible, tie measurement to actions in the distributed marketing management platform so that outbound communications and actions taken within the platform become a habit pattern for the local marketer. By structuring your communication process and making it engaging, you can build a systemic communications culture for the benefit of corporate and local marketers alike. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 63
  • 65. Chapter Seven: Communication Strategies for Keeping Corporate and Local Aligned Summary While many factors go into creating strong communication between corporate and local marketers, three key considerations stand above the rest. Key # 1: Listen, Listen, Listen Clearly this bears repeating. Few corporate marketers listen well to the needs of the local marketer. In building an active listening program, keep the following in mind: • Listen to the data. Observe what is and is not happening within the local marketing community. • Work on clarifying. Corporate marketers and local marketers have a tendency to speak past one another. Keep clarifying until you know you are on the same page. • Demand absolute objectivity. Every corporate marketer is at risk for selective perception; hearing what he or she wants to hear not what the local marketers are telling them. Be adamant about objectivity. Key #2: Make Two-Way Communication Your Culture The successful corporate marketing manager of a distributed marketing network will understand that communication must be WITH and not TO local marketers. To make this happen: • Review your current communications. Complete an audit of your communications targeted at local marketers. Is it TO them or WITH them? • Force dialogue. Structure communications in a manner that requires two-way communication. Then share what you hear and act on it. • Be inclusive. Make sure all voices are being heard - and heard clearly. Sometimes the silent local marketers have the most helpful information to share. Key #3: Build Communication Systems Strong communications between corporate and local marketers can’t be dependent on a charismatic communicator. Good communications must be systemic. To attain this, consider these key elements: • Design from the local perspective. Too many communications systems are built from the corporate marketing perspective. Flip that and watch the results follow. • Connect action steps to messages. Don’t just send words, send ways to take immediate action on those words. A distributed marketing management system can be helpful here. • Consider your cadence to optimize relevancy. Nothing will scream “pay no attention to me” more than too frequent and/or irrelevant content. Make your messages count and let your local marketers guide you to the right cadence. Communications is foundational to a corporate and local marketing synergy. When active, organized and with focus, a solid communication strategy can help brand value absolutely explode at the local level. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 64
  • 66. Concluding Thoughts: Taking Action - Synergy that Explodes Brand Value A lot of factors combine to create an organization where brand value explodes at the local level. Many programs have been tried through the years. Carrots to entice compliance. Sticks to enforce it. These approaches seldom work. The programs that do work are those developed by individuals who truly understand and foster a meaningful partnership between corporate and local marketers. A partnership where goals and messages align, where programs are logical and where each side fully participates in design and execution. Distributed Marketing Management systems that enable these processes are the cornerstone to success. Often called Marketing Asset Management or Local Marketing Management technology, these platforms help organize and execute every aspect of a local marketing program. While it is possible to run a program that maximizes brand value without such a system, it is highly unlikely, exponentially more difficult and normally much more expensive. Look for a system that delivers much more than just ad builder functionality. Seek instead a comprehensive platform such as Saepio’s MarketPort platform that helps create a strong, logical synergy between you and your local marketers. As you select a platform technology, however, keep in mind that relationships and your approach to the corporate/local relaltionship matters too. Perhaps, the best illustration for the optimal relationship for corporate and local marketers comes from the world of pre-machinery agriculture. When oxen were used to plow the soil or pull a wagon, it was important to choose two beasts of similar strength. Too much pull from one versus the other and keeping a straight plow line was close to impossible. Saepio encourages corporate and local marketers to seek a similar relationship to ensure peak performance. Too much corporate and the local marketer tunes out. Too much local and the corporate brand message is diluted. Don’t give up until you find the perfect balance for your organization. Exploding brand value at the local level isn’t necessarily easy but it is absolutely possible. Saepio hopes this ebook will provide insight to help your organization join those whose local marketing programs are humming along. Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 65
  • 67. 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 Saepio.com, email sales@saepio.com or call 877-468-7613 to learn more. For More Information Share This Document with your Network Follow Us: Contact Us Saepio Technologies 600 Broadway Suite 400 Kansas City, MO 64105 Email info@saepio.com Call Toll Free 877-468-7613 to learn more Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level 66