I spend a lot of time discussing marketing approaches and effectiveness with marketers at leading brands and their agencies. A common theme and frustration of leading marketers is control of the brand message in the field. Whether it’s a remote location, franchisee, sales rep, account team, agent or other remote user, the tales and examples of marketing mischief are legend. One company went so far as to have an amnesty program where bad marketing was presented and forgiven.
The solution to the marketing mischief problem for many is centralized control of marketing. This almost always follows these steps:
- Add more designers at headquarters.
- Offer a custom request capability.
- Pull marketing budgets from the field and centralize all marketing collateral production.
Even after those changes are made, marketing mischief persists. Because the people in the field know more about their markets, clients, and competitors than anyone at headquarters ever will. And the process for requesting custom content isn’t usually the easiest or most timely way to get the customized marketing content.
The key problems with a centralized approach that removes marketing customization.
Good designers are in demand and thus costly. And when you ask them to work with the field and customize collateral, all that expensive designer talent is used to edit rather than create new, compelling and effective marketing collateral.
Centralization requires non-designers in the field to communicate their needs to skilled designers. That takes time, iterations, and effort. People you want out selling and servicing are specifying marketing requirements. People you hired to create more compelling and effective marketing collateral are translating requests and editing existing materials.
You’ve removed marketing customization from the people closest to your customers and given it to people who have never been in the market or dealt with a client.
What works – Freedom within a Framework
Freedom within a framework is the best way I’ve heard the effective approach to marketing collateral customization described.
Imagine you run a remote office. You login to you marketing portal and are presented with:
- A library of high quality, easily customizable marketing templates and your library of content. Not your entire company’s library of content, your, personal library of authorized content maintained by the company and specific to your market.
- You can customize any marketing template using :pictures of your location and employees, prices, pictures and descriptions of the products and services you offer, logos and other information on the clients, partners and prospects you serve, all consistent with your local market requirements and regulations.
- You can customize any template in minutes and produce the print or digital output you need instantly because instantly is how business works.
If you get relocated to a new location, you access the same marketing portal but now have a library of marketing templates and content options for that location.
Freedom within a Framework Payback
Over $100 million. That’s how much one major brand valued using the freedom within a framework approach to locally customize marketing collateral. Your mileage will vary, but with production improvements above 90% and sales lifts from 25-150%, your mileage improvement will be pretty good.
Gains like that come from:
Right skills doing the right job. Designers design compelling and effective marketing templates that can be easily editing by non-designers in the field. Field personnel engage with clients and prospects using what they know about their markets, accounts, clients and competitors. When designers design and the field sells you save time and money and benefit from higher quality performance from both roles.
Right content. Remote users access and can customize only templates and content that have been approved by designers as being on brand and authorized for use. No fines for unlicensed content use. No dilution of the brand through marketing mischief. No need for marketing amnesty programs.
Right time. Marketing needs in the field are satisfied immediately with on brand content. The field reacts quickly with on-brand content to capture every opportunity and react immediately to changes in the marketplace.
Bonus Data Benefit of Freedom within a Framework
Since the freedom within a framework approach relies on a closed system, you gain reporting on user activity and marketing template use to make you smarter about marketing and team performance.
Control is a comfortable place for many. But it doesn’t solve the core problem of off brand marketing and creates new costs and problems. Efficient sales growth is being delivered to those who adopt a freedom within a framework approach to marketing collateral customization.
If freedom within a framework makes sense to you, contact me and we can discuss how a freedom within a framework approach can work for you.