Technology has made it easier than ever for distributed organizations to execute marketing campaigns at the local level. With marketing resource management (MRM) systems, programs can be centrally managed by corporate marketing to maintain control over things like brand standards, custom requests, messaging, regulatory compliance, and approvals, while also empowering local teams to customize campaigns to provide greater relevance to their local customers.
While technology has made distributed marketing easier, there are still numerous elements that need to be considered when it comes to campaign execution, from defining your target, and identifying the correct marketing channel(s), to developing the offer, message, and creative, and then setting up the appropriate response channel(s) and performance tracking.
For industries with highly distributed sales channels, like banking, franchising, and insurance, there are additional options to consider related to the mechanics of campaign deployment and execution. This aspect of distributed marketing is sometimes overlooked or given short shrift, which can diminish the results of even the most well-crafted campaigns.
There are also variations in execution based on industry practices and regulations. For example, contact list ownership is a consideration in bank marketing. A banking organization may have multiple mortgage loan officers (MLOs) in a city or town. When it comes to campaign outreach, the bank wants to make sure a particular realtor partner is not being bombarded with campaigns from multiple MLOs. An MRM system can facilitate ownership of the contact with programmed rules, such as the first MLO to input the contact into the system owns the contact.
This is just one example of how various elements of campaign execution can impact distributed marketing success. Marketers who invest time in working through the mechanics of campaign execution are better positioned to achieve their campaign goals. Clarity around execution enables marketers to more effectively harness the power of their MRM system, whether campaigns are initiated at the local level or by corporate.
Below we examine five of the most common campaign execution models used by distributed organizations, and offer pros and cons for each.1. Local-Level On-Demand
As the name implies, local-level, on-demand campaign execution is initiated by local teams and executed when and how they choose at the local level. This campaign execution model can benefit from an MRM system, which can provide access to approved marketing materials and tools. Corporate’s influence on this form of execution is limited primarily to providing access to approved marketing templates and branding.
List Source. On-demand campaigns executed at the local level often begin with contact lists that have been built or purchased by the local franchisee, agency or sales representative. Stored lists are accessed in or new lists are purchased through the MRM system. Depending on the industry and objective, for certain campaigns, local teams may choose to use USPS’ Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) for targeting customers in a specific geography. EDDM can be configured within the MRM system.
Customization. These campaigns can use corporate-approved templated materials that are accessed from the MRM system. The system auto-populates the templated piece with details about the local contact or location from stored profiles. Templates can also be set up to allow the local user to customize specific fields with locally relevant content, or choose from approved image options.
Proofing. Once customization of a marketing piece is completed, the MRM system enables the local user to review the proof immediately. Depending on the level of customization and corporate business rules, the proof may route to corporate for approval. Rules and processes are pre-configured and managed automatically within the MRM system.
Costs. Who pays for on-demand local campaigns varies across industries. Franchisees typically pay for their on-demand campaigns, whereas insurance agencies may use co-op funding in which corporate shares the cost with the agent. Banks either provide a budget for local representatives to execute on-demand campaigns, or corporate marketing simply funds the campaign.
Pros & Cons. One of the bigger concerns with local on-demand campaigns is the risk of list exhaustion, either from local teams repeatedly sending the same campaign to the same list, or from the local level executing a campaign at the same time corporate is executing a campaign to the same contacts. Data management processes within your MRM system can provide tighter coordination between corporate and the local level to help avoid this.
A potential shortcoming of local-level on-demand campaigns is that local teams must be relied upon to initiate execution. For example, franchisees often have the best of intentions when it comes to marketing. But they get so busy with the day-to-day tasks of running the business, marketing often takes a back seat to other priorities.
One of the greatest advantages of this execution model is that it brings the local expertise of local representatives to the campaign, increasing relevance.
2. Local-Level One-Time Enrollment
Local-level one-time enrollment campaign execution is initiated at the corporate level and requires the local-level teams to confirm participation in the campaign, which will run one time, with a specific start and end date. As with local-level on-demand campaign execution, one-time enrollment campaigns are best executed with an MRM system, which can provide access to approved marketing materials, track participation and spending, and control the timeframe of the campaign period.
List source. In this model, lists may be developed at the local level or provided by corporate.
Customization. The local end user can easily customize corporate-approved templated materials within the MRM system. As in the case above, the system auto-populates the templated piece with details about the local contact or location from stored profiles. Templates can also be set up to allow the local user to customize specific fields with locally relevant content, or choose from approved image options.
Proofing. Once customization of the marketing piece is completed, the MRM system enables the local user to review the proof immediately and route for approval, if required.
Costs. Funding for local-level one-time enrollment campaigns may come from the local user or from corporate.
Pros & Cons. This model offers a number of advantages to corporate marketers, including more control over campaign execution. Costs are generally lower because there can be print cost savings when sufficient numbers of local users participate. These campaigns are often executed to a larger number of targets than on-demand campaigns, and typically generate more responses when measured at the corporate level.
Unlike local-level on-demand execution, the local level does not control timing of one-time enrollment campaigns. One example that demonstrates why this may be a detractor is that campaigns with an element of seasonality may not be appropriate for the entire system at the same time. Another potential drawback with this model is that it takes longer to get the campaign to market because of the time required to allow local representatives to enroll.3. Local-Level Rolling Enrollment (Opt-In Program)
Rolling enrollment opt-in programs require local-level teams to opt into an ongoing corporate program, which typically runs over a one-year period. The local level must sign up by a certain date, and agree to participate as campaigns run periodically during the course of the program period. This model is best executed with an MRM system, which can manage local participants, contact information, timing and results tracking.
List Source. Lists for local-level rolling enrollment campaigns are usually provided by corporate. Contacts are suppressed once they respond to the campaign, ensuring they are not contacted again each time the campaign runs during the program period.
Customization. In this model, the local organization simply has to opt in to participate. Then materials are customized by automatically pulling in local contact information contained in the MRM system.
Proofing. In this model, customization is done automatically, which minimizes the proofing required. Corporate or its MRM marketing partner reviews proofs where artwork and data are merged.
Cost. Participants who opt in are billed accordingly for this form of campaign program.
Pros and Cons. For the local level, the main advantage is the minimal effort required to be part of a year-long campaign. However, this more hands-off execution model offers less local customization and flexibility. As with one-time enrollment campaigns, rolling enrollment campaigns can reach a larger number of targets and generate more responses when measured at the corporate level than on-demand campaigns. This volume also results in lower overall cost.4. Corporate on Behalf of Local
In this campaign execution model, corporate marketing executes the campaign on behalf of its local affiliates. This is another model that provides more control to corporate over the timing and content of the campaign. This execution model also benefits from the use of an MRM system for managing the list and aligning contact information with the correct local organization.
List Source. Corporate aggregates contact lists supplied by the participating local representatives.
Customization. Materials are customized by automatically pulling in local contact information contained in the MRM system.
Proofing. Like local-level rolling enrollment campaigns, customization of corporate-on-behalf-of-local execution is done automatically, which minimizes the proofing required. Corporate or its MRM marketing partner reviews proofs where artwork and data are merged.
Cost. This form of campaign is typically paid for by corporate.
Pros and Cons. Similar to the rolling enrollment campaign, this model requires minimal effort at the local level, which means it also offers less customization and flexibility to local users. On the plus side, it offers similar cost advantages as local-level one-time and rolling enrollment campaigns, due to volume. It can also be launched quickly since no enrollment or opt-in by local representatives is required.5. Corporate on Behalf of National Brand
Our fifth campaign execution model is managed entirely by corporate, without any execution at the local level. This execution model is typically used for national branding and awareness campaigns. If there is a call to action, respondents are directed to corporate response channels. Corporate’s investment in its brand is critical to success at the local level. Because this model does not require local-level lists or customization, it can be executed without relying on an MRM system.
List Source. Corporate supplies the list for this type of campaign execution.
Customization. Local customization is not required since this campaign is nationally targeted and respondents are directed to corporate response channels.
Proofing. In this scenario, proofing is handled directly by corporate.
Costs. For franchisees and insurance agencies, costs for national campaigns are either born by corporate or paid for with co-op funds, which the local level agrees to pay into as part of its franchise or agency agreement. For banks, corporate marketing funds the campaign.
Pros and Cons. The greatest advantage for corporate marketing is that it retains complete control of campaign execution. One possible disadvantage is that messaging and calls to action are not locally specific. However, this may not be a true disadvantage if the objective is greater brand awareness. Local affiliates certainly benefit from corporate branding campaigns.
Variations in campaign execution approaches encompass a wide range of factors and impacts, from campaign control, target market reach, customization, localization and local relevance, to technology capabilities, budget and responsibility for costs. By taking the time to consider these factors, you can determine how they may help or hinder you in addressing your campaign objectives.
Ultimately, your MRM system enables you to streamline the execution process. The technology and campaign production partner you choose will dictate which execution options are available to you and how much or how little of the execution is on your shoulders.