Marketing Asset Management or Distributed Marketing, whatever you chose to call it, is an approach that’s been around for a few years now.
If you’re a business with a network of retailers, franchises or dealers then you’ve probably already integrated it to some degree into your marketing strategy.
Box ticked then? But are you really getting the most out of your efforts, or could things be working just that little bit better?
So, to start at the beginning, what exactly is that? - is it a verb or a noun? A process or a system? They’re questions often hear, although rarely worded quite like that. It is interesting though that a relatively young industry has already managed to introduce enough jargon and confusion to make these questions necessary at all.
For what it’s worth (I think) the answer is both. The concept of a brand physically managing and distributing its marketing assets is nothing new, and the digital revolution has certainly made it all a lot easier to curate and share, if nothing else.
But in terms of the noun, or tool, that shares the name perhaps we’d understand it a little more if we re-named it Marketing Asset Maximization. Because, done well, that’s exactly what it does. For ANY brand that sells through a distributed network of local dealers, retailers, outlets, franchisees or sales offices the benefits are clear – for both Headquarters (HQ) and the network.
Businesses who want to bridge the gap between the national brand experience and the local practicality have a considerable task head of them. How do you harness that essential local knowledge, that insight into the local area and what works whilst limiting renegade practices that lessen your brand and tarnish the image you’ve put so much work and money into creating?
It’s a challenge
Do you sometimes feel that ‘the business’ gets in the way of your role and objectives? In our experience it’s not uncommon…
Your task is surely to build your brand and tell the world about it - but it’s rarely that simple. On the one side, you’ve got global HQ to keep happy but on the other you have your network. Sometimes it feels the two couldn’t be further apart. And all the while you’re working to match the Sales Department’s immediate objectives and expectations.
1) Global or National HQ versus the Network?
There must be a better way of doing things. Ultimately you have common objectives. Wouldn’t things be better if you re all working together?
Just for a moment, imagine a world where all your marketing across the business matched those brand guidelines and campaigns that global HQ invested in. How about if it was easier to create really effective tactical campaigns fast and with full measurability allowing you to demonstrate their value to your colleagues in Sales?
2) Does local marketing often get left behind?
It sounds like utopia, but back in the real world you have so many other things to deal with on a day-to-day basis, that it seems like a pipe dream. Given the size of your current team, it’s a challenge making sure that all HQ marketing communications are on brand with the correct tone of voice and that’s before you even consider the output of your network. As long as the national communications hold up to scrutiny that’s enough, right? You’re not convinced but your current workload means that your local marketing plans are often left behind.
3) Getting gritty with the local stuff
Your budgets are always under scrutiny and your team is lean. Many within the business just don’t appreciate the value of local marketing, meaning you often don’t have the money or qualified resources when you need them. It’s also hard to engage your team on the local stuff. The national stuff is far more glamorous? That funky Ad agency in Shoreditch, the TV ad, the awards? Your team are far more interested in those shiny things. Who wants to deal with the local press ad for the Solihull Observer. It will be OK, won’t it?
4) What about the Field Teams?
Then there’s the Field Team suggesting the network are struggling with their marketing. The network are saying YOU’VE got it all wrong. They’re the ones who sell the products, what do you know about selling, you’re into that fluffy marketing stuff!
They want YOU to listen to THEM. They need a voice, some input. How can the field team help? They have a tough gig as it is. They’re caught in the middle. Trying to balance your objectives with the network’s needs in amongst everything else they are tasked with. Have you seen their workload? And far too often marketing is right at the bottom of that list.
5) Maintaining the brand promise
The network seems to only understand discounting, but you know it’s distressing the brand and undoing all the good work you’re doing above the line. You’ve just spent £5 million on an integrated TV campaign, but when the customer arrives at the store or dealership, they find them discounting and with no stock of the product Global HQ wanted you to be selling. The dream you portrayed is in tatters. Customers these days expect the brand promise to extend long after purchase. It will keep them buying more for longer. In the crowded marketplace you are looking for lifetime value and share of wallet rather than a short-term relationship and I both know the network is key to helping you to do that.
6) The right message at the right time
Brands like yours are national but your customers are local. Enabling your network to produce relevant, local messaging at the right time for your customers and prospects is key to developing those local relationships that result in sales.
If that sounds like the kind of things you’re up against don’t worry, we’ve all been there, and there and you're on the right track. Integrated national and local messaging isn’t a utopian fantasy; you can achieve it with the right Marketing Asset Management System.
Check out our paper on what makes a great Marketing Asset Management System to see our top tips for getting yours working for you and for your network: