This is the second of four articles discussing how to improve distributed marketing operations. In my last article, I explained what distributed marketing is, and I described the major challenges facing distributed marketing organizations. I also made the point that you simply cannot maximize the productivity of distributed marketing without the right technology tools, and I introduced the model of distributed marketing automation depicted in the following illustration.

As this diagram shows, a distributed marketing automation solution contains two major technology toolsets – marketing asset management (MAM) and customer engagement management.
The marketing asset management component of a distributed marketing automation solution is the primary tool for managing the marketing assets and materials used in distributed marketing activities and programs. These materials will typically include marketing collateral documents, print advertisements, promotional items, and point-of-sale materials.
What MAM Technologies Do
Marketing asset management technologies enable corporate marketers to maintain control of brand messaging and brand presentation, while simultaneously allowing local marketers to easily customize marketing materials to fit their specific needs and market conditions. MAM technologies also streamline and automate the process of procuring marketing materials.
The principal features of MAM technologies include:
  • Central asset repository – A centralized repository, or library, that contains digital versions of the marketing assets used by the brand owner in distributed marketing activities and programs
  • Online catalog/ordering system – A catalog of marketing materials that local marketers can access via a secure website. The MAM system will also enable local marketers to order (and, if appropriate, pay for) marketing materials.
  • Customizable templates – Templates of marketing materials that identify which content elements of each item can be modified and which elements cannot be changed. For those elements that can be customized, the template will provide a set of pre-approved customization options. To customize an item, a local marketer simply selects a template and chooses the desired customization options.

How Marketing Asset Management Enhances Distributed Marketing

The marketing asset management component of a distributed marketing automation solution provides several financial and operational benefits. For example, MAM technologies will:

  • Eliminate the internal costs of processing and fulfilling requests for marketing materials
  • Reduce the time required to process and fulfill requests for marketing materials
  • Enable corporate marketers to maintain effective control of brand messaging and brand presentation
  • Simplify and automate the process of creating customized marketing materials, thus lowering customization costs. In addition, MAM technologies expand the degree of customization that can be done, thus allowing local marketers to create more relevant and compelling marketing materials.
  • Reduce the use of obsolete marketing materials
  • Reduce the costs of marketing materials obsolescence

Marketing asset management can drive significant improvement in the productivity of distributed marketing. But for a complete solution, you also need tools for automating the creation of marketing campaigns and programs. I’ll discuss this aspect of distributed marketing automation in my next article.

Read Part 1 of the series here.