Engaging the Competition

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Engaging the local marketing advisors that compete for mindshare of you 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.

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Engaging the Competition

  1. 1. Saepio Learning Series Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level Part 6 of 7 Engaging the Competition
  2. 2. About This Series When we first published the Distributed Marketing Leadership Series guidebook “Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level,” we had no expectation that it would quickly move to be one of the all-time most downloaded content pieces from the Saepio library and sustain that position for the next three years. But we probably shouldn’t have been surprised. Exploding brand value at the local level is the objective of every distributed marketer. And it’s not an easy task. In this DMLS Guidebook series, we both revisit and expand on the concepts laid out in the first guidebook and the subsequent industry-specific versions of this popular paper. In this revisit, we find that much has changed since our first publication date. However, we are frustrated by how much remains the same. In particular, we are frustrated by the fact that while expansive, innovative distributed marketing platform solutions are now fully market-tested and proven, many corporate and local marketers are still struggling with basic relationships. Thus, we have chosen to provide an expanded take on the Five (now Six) C’s of the win-win brand marketing strategy. There’s nothing inherently profound about these six C’s. Yet, they so often remain overlooked or minimized and a less-than-optimal brand value results. We trust this expanded view will provide valuable insights that will help you build the effectives of your distributed marketing efforts and truly explode brand value for your organization at the local level. Part 1 (available here) explored how to explode your brand’s value a the local level with the 6 C’s of corporate + local marketing. Part 2 (available here) explored the importance of common objectives between corporate and local marketers. Part 3 (available here) explored the unique challenges faced by corporate marketing managers of distributed marketing networks and outlines why consistency matters. Part 4 (available here) explored the need to have coordinated corporate and local marketing messages at key “moments of truth”. Part 5 (available here) explored the need to have an effective shared customer program with clear defintions of a customer and the relationships of the corporate brand and the local brand or delivery point to that customer. Part 6 explores how to engage the competition to help maximize the resources the corporate marketer provides to local marketers. Engaging the Competition
  3. 3. 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. Engaging the Competition 1
  4. 4. Chapter 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. DEX Media is an example. • 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. Salesgenie is an example. • Email service providers that help local marketers create email creative and build lists. Constant Contact, for example, offers email, surveys, websites, social and other services to small businesses. • Local direct marketing aggregators that save costs by bundling multiple local businesses together into a single consumer marketing source. Resources like ValPak™ and Welcome Wagon fit into this category. • Search marketing, remarketing and local digital display marketing firms also make their cases to the local marketers. Reach Local is an example of a firm in this space. • 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™ . Engaging the Competition 2
  5. 5. • 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. Engaging the Competition 3
  6. 6. Chapter 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. Engaging the Competition 4
  7. 7. 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. Engaging the Competition 5
  8. 8. Chapter 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 available 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 Engaging the Competition 6
  9. 9. 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.  Engaging the Competition 7
  10. 10. Chapter 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. Engaging the Competition 8
  11. 11. 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. Engaging the Competition 9
  12. 12. 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 Contact Us Saepio Technologies 600 Broadway Suite 400 Kansas City, MO 64105 Follow Us: Email info@saepio.com Call Toll Free 877-468-7613 to learn more Engaging the Competition 10

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