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February 15, 2018

How to Get the Most Value from Local Marketing Automation Software

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Did you know that 81 percent of corporate marketers view a lack of marketing experience in their stores as a key barrier to delivering a positive customer experience? Unfortunately, this local marketing deficit can result in branding inconsistencies, campaign misalignment or even costly legal issues.

Brands that struggle with local marketing have long had to provide their affiliates with extra support and guidance. But with limited resources and bandwidth, corporate marketing teams can't always give their local partners the direction and insight needed to maximize their marketing power. As a result, many of the world's top enterprise brands introduce Local Marketing Automation (LMA) to improve local marketing results. In fact, 54 percent of multi-location brands are using LMA systems to drive world-class customer experiences across their portfolio of stores.

Is your brand thinking about investing in Local Marketing Automation, too? Follow these simple steps to maximize your investment before, during and after you buy.

How to Maximize Your Local Marketing Automation Investment

Before You Adopt Local Marketing Automation

To best use local marketing software, the brand must have a solid understanding of their local marketing infrastructure as it exists today. How much control do your local affiliates have when it comes to creating their own marketing material? Does your corporate marketing team handle most of the design requests made by local affiliates? Many marketers find that they're dealing with these kinds of jobs all the time before they get an LMA tool, but your brand could be quite different. Next, think about the state of review and approval for local marketing. Who's in charge of monitoring or evaluating local marketing activity today? Is there a strict process in place for ads to be reviewed before they go live? Or are local affiliates trusted to deliver marketing materials that comply with brand standards all on their own?

Secondly, you need to determine if now is the right time to invest in this type of software. Are your corporate graphic designers getting hammered with one-off requests? Are your local affiliates using the wrong logos or color schemes in their marketing? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you should probably start looking for automated help. But even though you may have lots of locations that need marketing support, implementing a system like this is going to require that lots of people are on board with the project. If your team and your brand need help but no one has the bandwidth to take on the project, you shouldn't tack it on top of everything else.

Third, think about the content you have available to use with your new system. Are you starting a new marketing campaign around the time the platform will go live? Use the platform launch as an opportunity to springboard these new marketing assets right into your local marketers' hands. If your brand isn't launching a big new marketing campaign, try to prioritize which of your existing assets you want franchisees and dealers to be greeted with when they log onto the system. Always consider adding your most requested marketing assets first. Why? Adding your most popular local marketing pieces to the LMA will get local partners to actually use the software – they are "most popular" for a reason, right?

Finally, it's important to understand that not all LMA software tools are created equal, and they're not all right for your brand. Guide your purchasing decision based on your brand's organizational structure and asset performance metrics. Does your brand rely on other marketing tools? Do these tools integrate easily with the new system? What unique features does the software offer and how will your brand use those unique components to initiate more effective local marketing? The vendors you choose to work with should be able to show you how those capabilities have brought success to companies like yours, and why they expect them to work in your case, too.

Getting your house in order before you start your LMA journey is absolutely necessary. Too many implementations stall because marketers don't know where they want the project to go, so taking these steps is vital to avoid the same fate.

Is now the right time for you to invest in LMA? For more insight, check out 7 Signs Your Brand is Ready for LMA.

After You Launch Your LMA Tool

You've purchased and deployed your brand new LMA solution. Congratulations!

Now what?

As with so much Marketing Technology, launch is just the beginning of the work. To be successful with LMA you need to stay on top of your objectives for the system and keep looking for new ways to get even more power out of the one you've chosen. It can be a constant job to make sure that the tool is being used effectively, just because there are so many ways that LMA systems could provide even more benefits to your brand at any given moment.

The key is to look at how the system is being used, both by corporate and the users in the field. Marketers can conduct a quick internal assessment at key milestones after launch – like 90 days and 12 months – to analyze the system's success:

  • Adoption Rate: Find new ways to activate local affiliates' use of your system. Do they understand all the benefits of LMA? With access to real-time reporting, corporate teams should have the insight needed to analyze asset usage across the whole field. Which assets are being used, how are they being used and are marketing campaigns being deployed on time? Use this information to point local affiliates in the right direction and tailor the content you provide them to get them to use the tool more often.
  • Asset Organization: How well is your corporate marketing team organizing brand assets for local users? Look for how long it's taking your affiliates to find and customize assets on average. If you notice an upward trend in these average times, consider updating your metadata or organization schemes to help local affiliates source the right assets more easily. (P.S. This is a good time to ask yourself again, have you remembered to add the brand's most popular marketing assets to the system?)
  • Efficiency: Does your corporate design team actually like the new system? Is it easy to use? Many systems will offer built-in ROI reporting so you can actually measure just how much more efficient your team is. But don't hesitate if you think you can squeeze even more out of the tool that you've already got. Think about introducing new integrations to upstream applications that would help corporate designers work smarter and faster.

Finally, corporate teams need to make sure that their local affiliates have the bandwidth to learn how to use the software properly. Remember, local partners aren't typically marketing professionals. Give them as much guidance as they need to use the software successfully. If your Local Marketing Automation vendor offers additional training packages, look into whether those could help increase usage of your system by increasing familiarity with its many capabilities. Additionally, remember that the brand's designers are some of the most important users of the software. They have the power to make templates that either work really well for what affiliates are trying to do, or that fall totally flat. Give them an ongoing training plan to help them stay on top of their skills so they create the best templates possible.

Boost Local Marketing Results With LMA

According to Pica9's 2017 Distributed Marketing Benchmark Report, brand marketers anticipate revenue growth from two key areas of investment in the year ahead: an improved customer experience and new products/services. But it has also become increasingly difficult to deliver consistent marketing messaging across the location network. As a result, corporate marketing teams will more than likely turn to LMA tools to give local affiliates a single platform for all their marketing needs.

With access to easy-to-use templates, reporting, and much more, Local Marketing Automation makes it easy for local affiliates to execute effective, sophisticated and personalized local marketing. Not only does LMA support local point-and-click editing capabilities, corporate marketing teams can make marketing compliance a breeze by locking down content including brand logos, colors and legal copy. Brands like Marriott are able to facilitate marketing at over 3,600 properties worldwide with the right Local Marketing Automation system. Each individual property can be responsible for their own marketing efforts, while consistency is still maintained across the whole global network.

Are you thinking about investing in an LMA solution for your company? Remember to consider the all-important factors we touched on in this piece before and after you choose your system to maximize the effectiveness of the technology.

Access the templates, campaigns, and tools needed to take your local marketing to the next level. Check out the Local Marketing Playbook. Download The Local Marketing Playbook

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