Marketing professionals are caught in a communications crisis, faced with constant changes in communications technology, new social media channels to consider, uncertainty about which content distribution strategies work the best, and most importantly, how to measure and gain insight into their campaigns.
Research put out by Distribion, Inc., recently confirmed independent studies cited by leading analysts that 70% of CMO’s admittedly feel unprepared to manage the explosion of marketing data, and lack of performance insight. In addition, content distribution continues to be the biggest challenge for marketers due to the explosive growth of channel and device choices. For these CMO’s, a distributed marketing platform is becoming the critical key to centralizing, leveraging, and measuring content distribution strategies across numerous communications channels (See the latest research on distributed marketing).
But what exactly is distributed marketing? While the term has been around for several years, it’s been gaining fast momentum in recent weeks and months as marketers begin tuning in to a technology that could most certainly be a game changer for their business.
I’ve sat with numerous writers and industry professionals on this topic and have put together a combined Q and A from the many questions I’ve been asked before surrounding Distributed Marketing.
What is Distributed Marketing?
Distributed Marketing is the marketing model where a corporation with one or more brands sells its products and services through a network of regional or local channels. Some examples of local channels would be a local branch, an independent agent, a franchisee, reseller, or some other affiliated company. The Distributed Marketing model is the most challenging model because not only do you have to manage marketing efforts across channels such as e-mail, social, direct mail, the web, etc., but you also have to market and rely on downstream partners to execute campaigns at the local level.
When Did the Term “Distributed Marketing” Begin Surfacing?
The term has been around a long time. However, it really started gaining wide spread attention in early 2009 as organizations began to realize that the problems of distributed marketing were applicable to any marketing group that manages communications across brands, regions and marketing channels. In addition, with the proliferation of social media and emphasis being placed on more personalized messaging, the ability to market at the local level has become paramount. Today, all organizations suffer from a content distribution problem.
How Has the Distributed Marketing Segment Evolved Since it First Surfaced?
As with any popularized marketing term, service providers storm in and try to label themselves as providing a Distributed Marketing Platform that allows organizations to manage, distribute and measure content across the numerous communication channels. The reality is that there are very few providers that have truly built a solution specifically to address the challenges associated with Distributed Marketing from the ground. Most were previously providing a single marketing tool such as a Digital Asset Management solution or E-mail Marketing solution and now trying to retrofit or integrate with other solutions in order to label their solution a Distributed Marketing Platform.
What are the Key Challenges Faced by Marketing Departments and How Does a Distributed Marketing Platform Solve These Issues?
Content Distribion. In fact, a recent survey by eMarketer backs that up as it found that content distribution is the biggest challenge for marketers due to growth of channel and device choices. Personally, I feel the social media channel was the straw that broke the camels back and now marketers are simply overwhelmed trying to leverage and control the numerous marketing channels available to them. A Distributed Marketing Platform is built specifically to help organizations overcome this challenge and do so throughout the entire enterprise and its network of partners.
Do the Vast Majority of Marketing Professionals Understand the Significance of a DMP?
Not yet. The pain associated with content distribution is just now reaching a point where marketers are beginning to search for more efficient ways to manage, distribute and measure marketing efforts across all channels. Up until now, they have been ok leveraging singular point solutions to execute across a single channel but now that marketers are having to leverage more of an integrated multi-channel marketing attack to get the attention of their prospects they are realizing that a more integrated marketing distribution solution is necessary.
What Evidence Supports the Need for a DMP in Marketing Organizations?
There is a ton of data out there that shows the benefits of having a Multi-Channel Distributed Marketing Solution. Analysts such as Forrester, The Aberdeen Group and Gleanster have all been putting out some great information. In addition, Distribion recently put together a great infographic that makes the case as to why organizations should consider implementing a Distributed Marketing Platform as part of an effective marketing strategy.
Why are Marketing Professionals Hesitant to Embrace this Technology?
I really wouldn’t say that marketers are hesitant to embrace the technology. For the most part, marketers are really still in the educational phase regarding what it means to have a Distributed Marketing Platform and the benefit it can provide. As the pain continues to intensify around their content management and distribution efforts they will start researching solutions and from there begin to evaluate and implement some type of distributed marketing solution.
What is the Future of the Distributed Marketing Segment?
I feel the segment is about to go into hyper growth as marketers continue to struggle with content distribution and the pain intensifies. In addition, you have the whole Big Data story that marketers are really working to get their hands around which will drive the need for having a centralized Distributed Marketing solution even further as organizations look to capture and analyze customer interactions and behavior across channels. The next five years will be incredibly exciting.
Tim Storer is the CEO of Distribion, Inc., a leading provider of web-based, on-demand, multi-channel distributed marketing automation software that allows marketing organizations to more efficiently manage the complex needs of distributed marketing through a single integrated platform. Distribion’s Distributed Marketing Platform (DMP) connects corporate and local marketers within large enterprises through a user-friendly interface that provides branded, pre-configured and approved collateral that can be customized and distributed over multiple channels including email, direct mail, microsites, and social media. Distribion was ranked #4 out of 4,000 area technology companies listed among the fastest growing technology companies in Dallas Fort Worth for 2012.