Have you identified distributed marketing as a potential solution for your organization’s needs? That’s great, but the planning of such a project is paramount. You may be surprised at what needs to be considered to ensure its success in meeting your needs.
In our experience, from the planning to the implementation of the project (with its technical solution), 6 things are essential to consider. Here they are in this article.
1. Validation by senior management
Have you done your research on distributed marketing and then assessed it as a potential business solution? Great! But be aware that you’ll have some work to do at the senior management buy-in level.
The scope of a project like this is really organizational, so it has a top-down effect. Since distributed marketing comes down to wanting to give greater autonomy to units that are closer to customers … such as franchises, local shops/stores, reps, etc. It’s important for leaders to buy into this vision from the start.
Distributed marketing will serve no one if there is still a reluctance to give some power towards local units. So we need to validate the extent of that autonomy, i.e. how far the possibilities can go.
This then leads to our first tip: assess, together with the important stakeholders, which pains the distributed marketing should address. With this starting point, it will be easier to associate objectives, technical parameters, and what needs to be implemented. Overall, it will also be easier to measure the overall performance of your distributed marketing.
2. Nature of distributed marketing
Once the basics of the project have been assessed and agreed upon, it is necessary to translate this into an understanding of the type of distributed marketing desired. Generally speaking, the expression we see of distributed marketing is similar in many ways. However, there are some elements that will need to be adapted for your organization, especially as the details are worked out.
At its simplest, distributed marketing is reflected in the fact that it gives a view to your local units. This means that they could have access to certain information, such as a contact list, reference data, reports, etc. Here, there are many limitations on what units can do with this information. This is an interesting option if you need to provide access to data for certain decisions, for example.
On the other hand, we are talking about a real integrated distributed marketing, where local units can act on the information available to them… always within a specific framework of course! We will talk about this framework later in the article.
Here, transparency is the key. If access to data involves risk or you are unsure about giving some control … this approach may not be the best.
Obviously, there are other possible expressions between those two extremes, it’s a matter of finding the one that fits well with your organization.
3. Gain acceptance of the marketing project distributed by the local units
This is an optional step, but one that can make the project easier to implement later and save you some headaches. Ask yourself if the project should be presented to the local business unit leaders for acceptance, or at least to the people who will be directly affected by it.
This early discussion can have real benefits and support the implementation of the project. For example, by discussing with the local units, you can:
- Go and validate the nature of the distributed marketing that you have established beforehand. In the best case, all your ideas will be received positively by the local units, and they will be excited! But chances are, after discussion, adjustments will have to be made. There is no point in offering possibilities if the local units do not see the need, find it complicated or see it as an additional task.
- Answer the questions, which will definitely be there!
- Reassure local units that they may feel overwhelmed by the project or unable to use the information and tools presented. This will help you avoid blockages later on, that’s for sure.
This tour will give you the opportunity to talk to all your local points, as it can be difficult to do so on a regular basis. In the end, these discussions will help you find the “middle ground”, that is, the point of agreement between the desires of the parent company and the capabilities of the local units.
Finally, I would mention that you could use these discussions to see if the project could be a pilot to start with, selecting only a few units that are receptive to the project. The distributed marketing could go out and be tested in a controlled environment and then launched.
4. Choosing the right partners
Are you moving forward with the project of distributed marketing, and the framework is well defined? Great! Now you need to set up the technological environment to support it. If you want to limit the access and use of data (for communication campaigns, among other things), you will have to choose the technological solution carefully so that it adapts to your needs.
An ideal distributed marketing solution allows to:
- Create custom interfaces, such as dashboards, display lists, etc.
- Limit access according to the controls determined. At Dialog Insight, we talk about a permissions tree that is hyper-precise and determine what access can be given.
- Easy and controlled access to libraries for images, texts, offers, etc.
- The creation of different views according to the needs of the local units, for example on the list of accessible contacts.
- Control over branding, for example by providing templates with specific editable areas.
We are talking about a flexible solution that adapts to the project context. Choose your technology partner carefully, specifying how this flexibility should be translated. The clearer your needs are, the more you will be able to guide your decisions.
5. Define the controls granted to local units
Now we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty, but also the technical stuff. As its name indicates, distributed marketing allows the network to access the customer knowledge base so that the customer can benefit from it. It is therefore necessary to identify in advance the roles and responsibilities that will be conferred to each entity, but also to each user.
Dialog Insight strongly suggests to go with a simple structure by creating 2 to 3 typical roles for the network. It should be noted that beforehand, the head office must also identify what control its team wants to have over the platform. In an ideal world, the head office keeps all access rules, including user management, in order to provide a secure environment. The units only have access to the functionalities that will allow them to use the database.
Restricting access in distributed marketing
Once phase 1 is completed, the next step is to ensure that each point of service only sees information that is related to their store. It is therefore important to select the best way to do this. Two options are available and each has its advantages.
- If the store is acquiring information on new contacts, independent of the head office, the best method is to set up a SCV (Single Customer View) to centralize the data. This way, each store has its own database and can add contacts acquired through contests, activities in the stores, or any other action. The access attribution is simple since the store only has access to its own database. The results are then recorded in an integrated database on which the head office can have a view (parent database). If this avenue is not excluded from your plans, Dialog Insight strongly suggests the use of a SCV.
- If all customer data comes from a single integrated system, a single database is recommended. Access is then granted based on a field in the customer profile. The most common is the use of a store number (Store ID). When a user is created for a store, the platform asks to identify the store number. This number is associated with each customer record and this is how the store sees only the customers associated with its business.
It is therefore important before starting the implementation to choose between :
- A SCV structure that provides greater flexibility
- Restricted access on an integrated basis
Both options are supported by Dialog Insight and we can guide you in its implementation.
6. Build the working tools and the environment of the platform
The last step focuses on setting up the work tools that will be used by your units. Obviously, these tools will vary in nature depending on your objectives and your project. However, here are some examples of tools that are often used in distributed marketing projects:
Communication templates: like emails for example. Offer templates that are already configured to make it easier for local units to work with. This also provides control over brand identity and security for its application. You could, in these templates, have blocked areas that are not editable, and then have others that are editable based on parameters. You could also have adjustable data, like the email footer that includes the local store address, all configured automatically.
A custom dashboard: give your units metrics interfaces to get a quick view of their actions.
A content library: limit the types of content that can be used by your units to ensure control and consistency of your brand image. For example, provide access to an image bank, brand assets such as your logo and its iterations, a list of products and their SKUs, etc.
At this stage, you will also have to give training on these tools. This can be done in small groups, or with pre-recorded videos. The better these tools are understood, the better (and more!) they will be used. Over time, and through feedback from your units, they will adapt better to your changing needs.
Here they are! Our 6 tips for a successful implementation of your distributed marketing project. Although this is a solution specific to networked businesses, its purpose is relevant, especially in a world where “think global, act local” is essential.
We remain available to discuss how Dialog Insight is one of the best distributed marketing solutions on the market. Contact an expert today!