Local markets are defined by the customers within them. Each market is different and subject to regional attitudes and cultures. In order to be effective, local marketing strategy needs to employ highly targeted marketing messages created by field sales agents and distributors who know the market best. If organizations want to succeed at the local level, they must be “local-ready,” a standard that requires focus on four key competency areas:

Marketing Asset Management
The ability to provide distributed channels with ready access to up-to-date materials and to enable them to customize messaging for their local market.

Campaign Management
The ability to provide distributed channels with multi-channel turnkey campaigns as well as manage lists.

Workflow
The ability to leverage automation to streamline collaboration and approvals and balance time spent on execution versus strategic initiatives.

Budgeting
The ability to effectively manage the cost of marketing assets and automate the allocation of marketing funds across sales/distribution channels.

The challenge of local marketing is that it requires a certain understanding of approval workflow between corporate and field sales channels. Additionally, budgets, brand control, and compliance must all be aligned between sales agents and corporate. Naturally, some organizations are better equipped than others to handle this balancing act. Many tend to fall in the following categories as they relate to the competency areas above:

Novice organizations
Organizations at this level simply do not have the foundational processes or technology in place to be effective in the given local-ready competency area. If your organization is in this situation, the good news is that there are likely many productivity and compliance improvements on the table waiting to be grabbed.

Intermediate organizations
These organizations are employing some proven practices, but they are not integrated or are limited in scope. With respect to marketing assets, it is likely difficult for local sales channels to access compliant, up-to-date marketing materials. Campaigns may not be executed in a consistent fashion engaging local sales channels. From a workflow standpoint, developing approved, localized marketing materials may be resource intensive and time consuming. Limited controls may be in place for managing marketing costs either centrally and/or across local sales channels.

Advanced organizations
A prepared organization is on its way to driving future returns on their localized marketing investments, but has room for improvement. If technology is being used for marketing asset management, it may not be fully utilized or its functionality might be limited. With respect to campaigns, they may be limited in frequency, do not integrate multiple channels, or do not fully engage local sales channels. Some workflow automation may be in place for localized marketing initiatives, but resources are likely still strained. From a budgeting standpoint, cost tracking may be focused on central marketing functions with limited tracking of marketing expenditures across local sales channels.

Local-ready organizations
Organizations at this level are getting the most out of their field sales force, agents, and distributors. With respect to marketing assets, they are localized, brand, and regulatory compliant and easy-to-access by distributed sales channels. Campaigns that resonate with local targets likely occur on a regular basis with little effort on the part of local sales channels. Processes are likely automated without heavy reliance on technical resources and freeing up marketing to focus on strategic initiatives. From a budgeting standpoint, the cost of marketing materials and campaigns is likely well-managed both centrally and across local sales channels.

Building a local-ready organization is an ongoing journey. And that journey, as well as your organization’s position on the local marketing continuum, is determined by several factors – overall marketing strategy, desired customer experience, business model, and the competitive environment. Localized marketing isn’t going away, so you need to set a course that aligns with your corporate goals and objectives.

If you’d like to measure your local-ready marketing maturity level, set aside a few minutes to take the DocuStar Local-Ready Marketing Assessment.

 

Alan See is the Chief Marketing Officer at Alan See CMO Temps, LLC. He has written this guest post for the Networking Exchange Blog.