The Six Pillars of a Successful Distributed Marketing Rollout
- Posted: 29th January 2018
- Written by:
Sue Murray, SVP Operations
The appeal of distributed marketing is that, through the centralization and automation of messaging, it offers communications without borders. Distributed marketing focuses on enhancing collaboration between a company’s central marketing function and its locally distributed marketing teams. This ensures that you can reach your target audience wherever they live, through whatever channels they prefer – without compromising your brand message or your business objectives.
Of course, as promising as all that is, it’s nothing without a successful rollout, and a successful rollout is not easily accomplished. It’s a process that requires the careful alignment of several disparate components, which can feel more like maintaining a series of spinning plates.
Here are the six pillars of a successful distributed marketing rollout:
1. Customer experience
Contrary to popular wisdom, the customer is not always right nor do they always know exactly what they want. That doesn’t mean they’re not important.
In fact, if the customer isn’t at the heart of everything you do, you’re doing it wrong. The process of preparing for your distributed marketing rollout should look at how to improve the way they interact with your brand. If it becomes a dry exercise focused on incremental improvement to existing processes, your campaigns won’t achieve the desired results.
As a rule: if you don’t know how it’s going to improve customer experience, you have to ask why you’re doing it. Will it build trust? Will they have a better idea of who you are, and will what they know make you their first-choice vendor?
First and foremost, your rollout should be handled with the aim of finding good answers to these questions.
2. Multi-level brand management
You’re selling products and services, to be sure, but you’re also selling your brand. The image that you cultivate and project is just as important to your customers as your particular offering.
Accordingly, every level of the business should contribute to creating and sustaining an appealing corporate identity. Marketing campaigns and messaging plays an instrumental role in doing just this. In the course of pursuing a brand management strategy, key decisions around audience reach, execution, and personalization must be made. From a distributed marketing perspective, local employees will be essential for certain components of any campaigns, and should be empowered to communicate with customers, compile their own segmented lists, and liaise with corporate stakeholders.
3. Removing legacy systems
Out with the old, in with the new. It’s not an ironclad rule, but the more stubbornly an employee or department clings to an old methodology, the more swiftly that methodology should be replaced. A distributed marketing solution is the sort of ambitious, wide-ranging endeavor that leads staff members to employ convoluted workarounds and avoidance techniques – an attitude that’s not really in the spirit of the endeavor.
Accordingly, your rollout must include ways of acclimatizing them to the new normal. Use on-site visits as a means of gauging employee response to the technology. If processes are unintuitive or complicated, a little explanation will often go a long way.
If they’re persistently refusing to use perfectly functional tools though, you may need to take a slightly blunter approach. When legacy systems become a crutch for employees, it becomes necessary to remove them. Decommission anything that’s getting in the way of using the new software, provide a rigid timeline for onboarding new software, be loud and public about it and then migrate at the advertised date. It sounds harsh, but it’s better than wasting internal resources.
4. Digestible reports
Reporting and analysis are a critical part of any digital marketing strategy. Regional offices should be capable of tracking campaign performance, and referring it back to HQ in a simple, digestible fashion that clearly outlines the unit’s contribution to business objectives.
If satellite offices are doing well, they should be able to communicate this through easily-understood graphics, tables, and reports. All software should have an intuitive, uncomplicated dashboard, and an easy way of quantifying findings and identifying areas that need extra attention. A distributed marketing rollout cannot succeed without a clear means of checking performance.
5. Online portals
Regional offices have a number of concerns, and the distributed marketing application is only one among many. They may require distributed marketing materials infrequently enough that they forget how to use new marketing software.
Having an online portal for support, refresher training, and advice can be extremely helpful in terms of improving campaign performance and messaging. Provide this service and you’ll increase your chances of a successful rollout.
6. A full rollout schedule
Don’t go too big, too soon. A distributed marketing strategy should begin with a small sample of eight to ten test offices – those locations where they’re comfortable with experimentation and iteration, and won’t be too frustrated if it isn’t an immediate success.
If they’re sufficiently open-minded about the technology, you should soon have a clear idea of what works and what doesn’t before embarking on a larger rollout – giving you time to make key tweaks before your next deployment. By the time you’ve brought distributed marketing to the entire business, these early adopters may well be the most ardent champions of this new system.
Distributed marketing can revolutionize the quality of your communications, your campaigns, and your customer experience. It encourages friendly competition between regional offices and greater understanding of your target audience.
But it isn’t a silver bullet or a one-size-fits-all solution. Your rollout should be done with the care and attention you’d apply to any other transformative commercial initiative. Build these six pillars, and your business will be stronger than ever before.