Central Versus Distributed Marketing: Which is the Best Way to Tap Into Local?
September 25, 2012
by Mike Brown – https://www.fisiononline.com/mikebrown
Marketing automation can be a complex beast. As best-in-class companies know, marketing automation is a key component to any successful wide-reaching marketing campaign. However, at the same time, a number of companies may stop their marketing automation efforts with central marketing. In reality, central marketing automation is just one piece of the pie – it isn’t the end-all, be-all solution that some companies may think it is.
Another slice of the marketing automation pie is distributed marketing, which is a complementary solution to an organization’s central marketing. It’s different in that it solves a number of issues not addressed by central marketing to help companies engage their customers and achieve the best results.
The Shortcomings of Central Marketing
Companies that exclusively use central marketing platforms or focus specifically on this part of their marketing automation initiatives may find they are capable of executing complex lead nurturing tasks or campaign management and multichannel marketing. Central marketing automation solutions are useful for high-level campaign management by a small group of central marketing administrators in that sense.However, the market has changed. Businesses have access to more data about their customers than before and many are using this information to craft collateral that is specific to each prospect. In other words, the market has grown more consumer-centric, where knowing your customer means being able to serve them with relevant content. When businesses are reaching out to prospects through the right channel and with precise answers to all their needs, it only makes sense to trust that brand.
On the local level, it’s the salesperson in the field who most often knows the best way to engage prospects. However, they frequently aren’t trained to use complex central marketing automation platforms. This leaves them with two options when trying to create the ideal collateral for engaging prospects: Wait for marketing departments to produce the materials they need or do it themselves using their own assets.
In many instances, this is a lose-lose situation. On the one hand, it delays reaction time as salespeople wait for their materials to be approved and created. On the other, it can result in collateral that is off-brand and inconsistent with the message and tone companies are trying to deliver. This is the core problem with central marketing solutions: Only a few people are trained to use them effectively, and this creates a slow-moving sales machine.
Distributed Marketing for Sales Enablement
This is where distributed marketing steps in. Distributed marketing automation puts the full potential of your marketing strategy in the hands of the salespeople at the end of the supply chain to make campaign-critical adjustments to marketing efforts that will help ensure the best assets are being served to the appropriate customer. It gives your team the power to create the relevant content needed to expedite the buying cycle, all while ensuring consistency within brand-compliant pre-approved messaging and materials and hastening the production of collateral.
As CEO of Fision, a sales & marketing automation company, I’ve had the opportunity to see first hand, the effectiveness of distributed marketing automation for sales enablement. For example, one of our clients, a national windows manufacturer, rarely sells products directly to consumers – instead, it uses a network of distributors and resellers. For customers, the reseller is the trusted face, not the manufacturers themselves. These resellers also have different target audiences and their own agendas, which affect how they promote manufacturers’ products. By leveraging distributed marketing automation, these resellers can quickly create content using pre-approved, brand compliant collateral, helping to expedite the sales process.
It’s all about creating an integrated sales and marketing machine. Central marketing platforms enable the handful of executives in charge of campaigns to establish the overall frame of the initiative. Distributed marketing solutions give the hundreds or even thousands of salespeople and local-level marketers within a company the autonomy they need to create relevant collateral in a timely fashion that still complies with the guidelines set by upper level management.
The other perk of distributed marketing automation is that, because it is designed to be utilized by as many as 20,000 users, it’s also incredibly intuitive. Field agents, resellers and other local-level marketers can quickly create the collateral they need in a matter of clicks – there is no extensive training required, as is frequently the case with central marketing platforms.
The key is realizing that both central and distributed marketing automation have their places with creating and managing promotional efforts. Central marketing is effective for high-level campaign management and helps businesses generate leads and qualify prospects. Distributed further enhances central marketing by aligning your sales and marketing teams and establishing a brand message. For some companies, however, distributed marketing may be the better way to go, as it requires little training for administrators and no training for the end users utilizing the solution. All and all, it’s about helping you simplify your process and make smarter business decisions based on customer data to gain more effective marketing and sales initiatives.