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Why Channel Marketing Requires a Brand-to-Local Approach

Brands that meet the expectations of their channel partners and their customers will win market share.

March 1, 2019

In the Expectation Age, customers demand frictionless experiences, whether they’re asking Alexa to deliver a pizza, using an app to summon a ride, or building their dream car online. Brands that meet these heightened expectations will win market share. Those that don’t will see their customers disappear.

The complexities of the Expectation Age surge for brands with channel partners, such as local stores, franchisees, distributors, or resellers. When multilocation brands and multichannel campaigns collide, customer experiences can be disjointed if brands and their partners aren’t working in unison.

To close the gap between what the brand delivers and customers expect, relationship and channel marketers must operate from a comprehensive, technology-enabled brand-to-local marketing strategy. With that in place, brands and channel partners are empowered to deliver the seamless, contextually relevant experiences today’s consumers demand.

Marketing Orchestration in the Brand-to-Local Ecosystem
An effective multilocation, multichannel marketing strategy requires a strong connection between data, intelligence, technology, and channel and customer expectations. With the right orchestration, relationship and channel marketers can facilitate intelligence-driven customer experiences that are triggered:

  • When the customer wants
  • In the channel the customer prefers
  • Within the right geographic location
  • In a format that meets brand standards
  • In a personalized way to align with what the brand knows about the customer and the local partner

This type of marketing orchestration isn’t theoretical. With the right customer-relationship management (CRM) tools, technology such as through-channel marketing automation (TCMA), an good old-fashioned customer service, a brand-to-local strategy is entirely within reach.

Key Elements of an Effective Brand-to-Local Strategy
To illustrate the effectiveness of a brand-to-local strategy, let’s assume the fictional company Brand Inc. works with thousands of local partners, such as brand-owned stores, franchised stores, and retail partners. Brand Inc. runs a $500 million trade promotion program that offers partners a combination of incentives, including co-op, rebates, and special events.

Brand Inc. has two goals: to create brand awareness and connect with the customer at a national level, and to strengthen the bond between the brand and local partners to drive actions that lead to increased sales.

To successfully connect with channel partners, and then empower them to successfully connect with customers, Brand Inc. must protect its brand image across all touchpoints, so it needs a set of brand guidelines to which all partners can adhere. Brand Inc. also needs a checks-and-balances system to ensure that the $500 million spent annually brings in adequate return.

To meet its goals, Brand Inc. must address each area of the brand-to-local value chain:

  • Customer intelligence: Understand the customer and his or her preferences
  • Customer strategy: Follow a comprehensive plan of engagement for each customer across channels
  • Channel empowerment: Provide local partners with the tools, oversight, and best practices for brand-to-local deployment
  • Experience orchestration: Seamlessly execute customer-centric moments across touchpoints
  • Optimization and assessment: Verify execution and learnings, reimburse with co-op funds, and ensure guideline compliance
  • Business intelligence: Demonstrate performance and key learnings to inform continuous customer-engagement improvement

Brand Inc. can opt to manage this program in-house, hire a number of niche agencies to manage it, or work with technology and services firm like Ansira that specializes in the brand-to-local ecosystem. With any option, each link of the value chain must be heavily coordinated. Brand Inc. must also consider how insights are used, how training is conducted, and how brand compliance is enforced.

The End Game
With a brand-to-local approach to marketing, businesses can expect transparency, accountability, and local relevance:

  • Optimized marketing spend and quantified ROI
  • A sharpened, localized, brand-compliant, one-to-one message delivered how and when customers want it
  • Improved relationship between brand and partners
  • Strengthened loyalty between partners and local customers
  • Increased engagement and buy-in for partners
  • Ability to iterate, refine, and strengthen future programs

Perhaps most important, a brand-to-local strategy puts the brand and its partners in the best position to meet ever-rising customer expectations. Marketing technology and intelligence will continue to advance, to the benefit of brands and their customers. Relationship and channel marketers that commit to a brand-to-local approach will continue to come out ahead.

A version of this article originally was published on MarTech Series.

About the Author

Adam Vandermyde
EVP, TCMA Services

Adam oversees the TCMA services team that works directly with brands and their channel partners to orchestrate effective brand2local marketing programs.

Topics

  • Brand-to-Local

  • Channel Marketing

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