Drive Success at Both the National and Local Level by Delegating Control of Your Brand
April 15, 2015
Having a strong brand name means nothing if you cannot leverage it in today’s changing marketing landscape. With 90% of today’s consumers searching online before making a purchases, loyalty is nowhere nearly as important as relevance is. Competition is no longer limited to similar national brands and chains, as the internet makes local and private businesses just as relevant to the same consumers you are chasing. So how do you stand out? How do you make yourself a top choice in the consumer search?
One word: Localization.
As a national marketer, there is a challenge in keeping a consistent brand image among all of your local channel partners, but this challenge is a necessary evil. The average customer today checks 10.4 sources of information before buying, and no matter how much momentum you build in a successful brand strategy at the top, it will only work as well as the execution on the ground level. Local channel partners are who shape your brand perception in their area, and you need to know that they are as enthusiastic as you are about success. Ultimately, you are each looking for the same result: an increase in sales and ROI. So where does the discrepancy lie?
You want control of brand messaging and coverage, and your local channel partners want to be in control of their business. They want to be able to customize the messaging and cater to their customers. Where do you draw the line? What do you delegate to your location managers, and what do you keep control of? Giving them too much control runs the risk of losing broader messages that corporate really wants to get across, but taking away too much control runs the risk of becoming irrelevant. You want your brand to have a presence in the local community, but you want it to have the right presence.
Local channel partners have many responsibilities, whether it be management, accounting, problem solving, or something else, and the many hats make it difficult to keep up with the changing marketing landscape. A recent study by Thrive Analytics revealed that 77 percent of small business owners feel that they lack the type of knowledge to manage digital media effectively. They recognize their shortcomings, and find themselves wishing that they could take advantage of digital media so as to expand business and reach new customers. Marketing executives, however, have quite a bit on their plates too with marketing being one of the most dynamic departments in a business. It is no longer a matter of understanding the brand and the product, but consistently learning about and mastering the changing technologies, trends, and tools. Therefore the issue of control becomes a sensitive one, because each individual has the interest of the company at heart.
More and more companies are finding a happy medium by investing in automated marketing technologies that enable the executives to create consistent campaigns and templates, but still give the affiliate the ability to customize them to their location. This relieves local channel partners of the burden of the time and effort it takes to learn the many changing demands of the marketing environment, and still gives the executive the comfort of knowing that the messaging is consistent across locations.
However, most local channel partners feel as though their marketing providers don’t have their best interests at heart. They are given generic “flavor of the month” products, but are not given the opportunity to express what they want or need. This seems like impending doom, but the study mentioned above by Thrive Analytics points out that 51 percent of small business owners have a positive outlook on their business over the next twelve months. They are willing to increase their budgets (31 percent) and invest in digital solutions if it makes sense for their business. Top areas they would consider include websites (36 percent), social media (35 percent), mobile (34 percent) and online ads (33 percent). So they’re not asking for much, they just want it to make sense!
This means that marketing providers who can give local channels partners customizable and comprehensive solutions are the true contenders in this arena. Being able to meet the needs of each individual business while remaining within the compliance standards of the national brand extends the reach of your brand to a local strategy, making you both a relevant and convenient choice compared to your competitors. This results in higher demand, an increased lifetime value of your customers, and successfully meets the goal that both you as an executive and your local affiliates set: an increase in sales and ROI.
The National Marketer’s Guide to Local Marketing Balihoo released provides more insight into the successful implementation of a local marketing automation technology. This guide includes a self-assessment to determine your local marketing objectives, your current system state, and key stakeholders in the process. Download the full piece here to get started.