March 20, 2019
In the Expectation Age, nothing is more important to a customer than the experience. Because disruptors like Amazon, Dollar Shave Club, and Warby Parker have heightened buyers’ expectations for every interaction, brands are no longer threatened solely by companies within their industries. Experience competition is real.
Regardless of industry, customers expect Amazon-like buying experiences. And they will pay more to get them.
Now consider that customers make no distinction between digital and physical interactions. Whether they’re delivered through a website, dealership, Facebook newsfeed, or mailbox, brand experiences have to be seamless. And because customer expectations depend on the context, those experiences also have to be contextually relevant.
Marketing in the Expectation Age is challenging for any brand. But it’s even more complicated for brands with direct and indirect sales channels, or what we call brand-to-local. Companies operating in the brand-to-local ecosystem have to work harder — and smarter — to deliver the outstanding experiences their customers expect.
Understanding the Brand-to-Local Ecosystem
Brands make promises to their customers. But experiences often occur at the local level. And those experiences aren’t delivered by the brand but by their channel partners, whether that’s a reseller, retailer, franchisee, or dealer. Because buyers are more empowered than ever, the pressure has never been greater — on brands and their partners — to deliver outstanding local experiences or risk losing customers forever.
In the brand-to-local ecosystem, brands have two relationships to nurture: the one with their customers and the one with their partners. The brand has to meet the expectations of both to succeed. To turn buyers into loyalists in the Expectation Age, brands and their channel partners must be in sync, working together to impress customers at every touchpoint.
Managing Brand-to-Local Expectations
When customers interact with retailers, dealers, or franchises, they don’t see those experiences as separate from the brand. To a customer, a channel partner and the brand are one in the same.
Although the brand wants that direct relationship with customers, it’s the channel partners who have it — which is why they must be empowered to deliver on the brand promise. Partners want to meet the brand’s expectations for customer interactions while having the flexibility to adapt marketing efforts to their local markets. They require access to brand-approved assets and business rules and the ability to use market development fund (MDF) or co-op dollars to activate local marketing campaigns. Perhaps most important, partners need this brand-to-local marketing process to be frictionless, aided by a through-channel marketing automation (TCMA) solution like Ansira Edge Technology SuiteSM.
Brands in this ecosystem have their own expectations. They need partners to uphold brand standards online and in-store so local experiences don’t erode hard-earned brand equity. Brands want transparency and control across marketing and sales channels, which requires a full view into the activities of both. As their partners spend more on local marketing, brands must reduce redundancies and wasted spend to maximize return on investment (ROI).
When the needs of the brand and its channel partners are met, they are all better positioned to exceed customer expectations — leading to affinity and long-term profitability.
Winning at Brand-to-Local Marketing
A holistic brand-to-local marketing strategy helps close the gap between what brands deliver — whether nationally or locally — and what customers expect. It also strengthens the brand-channel partnership, which in turn strengthens the customer relationship.
Effective brand-to-local marketing connects the dots between the brand promise, local activations, and customer expectations to drive business results. That three-way connection works like this:
All of this takes a specific set of marketing technology and services — and a partner like Ansira with deep expertise in brand-to-local marketing across multiple industries. Our solutions in customer-relationship management (CRM) and loyalty marketing, TCMA, and national and local media are designed specifically to optimize customer experiences in the brand-to-local ecosystem.
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