Long before digital advertising and communications became a ubiquitous part of an organization’s marketing strategy, marketers would occasionally conduct an audit of their communications programs to ensure message, design and presentation consistency across all mediums. This often included putting physical copies of a brand’s marketing materials on the walls and table of a conference room and literally “scoring” each piece based on established criteria.
Of course, the speed, variety and ever-changing digital marketing landscape has made that approach nearly impossible. Or has It? How long has it been since you stepped back and completed a comprehensive review of all the design and communications elements of your channel marketing program?
Conducting a regular review of the marketing assets and programs you make available to your dealers and distributors will help ensure your channel program is on message, on design and delivering a consistent customer experience.
There are a couple of areas that serve as a good starting point when conducting your modern-day communications audit. One is your ad builder and corresponding asset manager, and the other is your content marketing program.
Ad Builder Upkeep
If your channel program includes an ad builder and digital asset manager, you know how important it is to your dealers or distributors. Over time, you’ve added assets to support product launches, new point of sale materials and digital banner ads, for example.
As you’re adding new assets that reflect your latest messaging, positioning and design are you taking the time to “retire” assets that no longer represent the current look and feel of the go-to-market and channel support materials you provide your channel partners? It’s important to establish a regular frequency for archiving out-of-date assets so they can’t be accessed or used by mistake. The archived assets should be housed outside of your digital asset manager.
Another area that can be overlooked is the quantity of assets being created. Are they all being used? By counting the number of downloads of a particular asset, you can determine if it’s really valuable to your dealers. For instance, if there’s only three downloads of a particular asset across hundreds of dealers, chances are that piece may not be worth the time and effort. More assets are not necessarily better when it comes to your creative team’s time.
Further, every creative department wants to add value by delivering assets that are helping drive sales. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to conduct a deeper analysis to determine the linkage between sales revenue generated and a particular asset. For example, you may have a group of dealers who regularly use digital assets and their sales of your brand and are “knocking it out of the park.” Conversely, those dealers who are only investing in trade publications and direct mail are seeing stagnant sales, If that’s the case, it may be time to focus your finite creative resources on digital assets that are driving more sales for your brand. Digging into sales tied to particular asset types as part of your audit will allow your team to focus on efforts that drive sales and, in turn, help bring your dealers who are stuck in traditional forms of marketing into the digital world.
Content Marketing Consistency
Many brands support their channel partners with turnkey content marketing programs that include blog writing, organic social posts and video production. The ability for dealers and distributors to “localize” this content to include their messaging can lead to a disconnect between the brand’s message strategy and what is being generated at the local level.
While this is often addressed in the moment at the approval stage from a co-op or market development fund perspective, it’s a good idea to take a holistic review of all content created over a specific period of time to determine if there is continuity in the brand messaging as well as what is being produced at the local level by dealers and distributors.
Ultimately, establishing a frequency and timeframe for conducting a comprehensive review of your channel program that is outside, or off cycle, of the normal approval processes and channel program operations, will ensure your brand is being presented consistently across all communications channels from a creative and content perspective.
About Channel Fusion
For 20 years, Channel Fusion has been delivering strategy, customer experience and return on investment outcomes for brands and their channel partners with a wide variety of solutions and industry expertise. We continue to invest in the overall ecosystem of our channel marketing offering to ensure our clients provide their partners with an optimal customer experience. Our core technologies and configurable platforms are supported by a team of customer-centric “Fusers.” Let us know if you’d like to learn more about how we deliver desired outcomes for brands and their channel partners.