Multichannel marketing is a given for most marketers. None of us can afford to bet our company’s success by trying to reach our customers through just one channel.
In large, distributed marketing organizations where creative and brand management are handled at the corporate level and local or field sales and marketing organizations execute their own campaigns, the process of planning, managing, executing, measuring, and reporting on marketing activities can become very complicated, very quickly.
So what do you do to simplify a process that isn’t simple? Start by recognizing the three basic problems that are inherent in a complex marketing project:
- Competing needs of corporate, local and partners
- Lack of brand integrity/compliance if the process becomes disconnected
- Long campaign, creative and development cycles
Once you’ve taken a look at the three basic problems, look at each one from the viewpoint of the three groups most intimately involved in the process — corporate marketing, local marketing and sales, and the vendors or service providers (agencies, printers, graphics artists, web designers and others) who support both groups.
Corporate marketing requires tools for:
- Brand management
- Legal/regulatory compliance
- Message quality management
- CRM and data management
- Measurement / ROI
- Campaign intelligence and management
- Partner management
- Integrating disjointed systems
Service providers require tools for:
- Efficient communication
- Automated ordering
- Automated approvals
- Integrating disjointed systems
Last, but hardly least, local and field sales & marketing need tools for:
- Searching and identifying the best marketing materials
- Rapid localization
- Automated personalization
- Assembly and presentation tools
- Campaign management
- Targeting and segmentation
- Reporting and monitoring
Point solutions designed for a single communications channel may meet many or even all of those requirements for their niche market. But when you multiply the number of point solutions for individual communications channels times the number of stakeholder groups, the cost and complexity of the resulting system quickly becomes overwhelming.
That’s where a comprehensive distributed marketing platform comes in: to provide an integrated set of online tools that empower users at the local level to easily search, find, select, assemble, customize, distribute and track campaign assets across multiple channels while allowing central or corporate marketing the ability to govern system usage through permission based business rules, automated workflow approval processes and centralized reporting.
However, even the best distributed marketing platform can’t supply everything that corporate marketing needs. “When you’re shopping for a solution, think of the distributed marketing platform as the core solution, and look for a vendor who has strategic partnerships with specialized vendors, and an open API for custom integration or out-of-the-box integration with solutions you already use,” says David Potter, Vice President of the professional services division at Distribion, a leading supplier of distributed marketing solutions for regulated industries.
“What you want is a vendor who can make your life simpler,” Potter says. “Not another single-channel solution that adds complexity.”