My last three articles have discussed how technology can improve the productivity of distributed marketing. By the traditional definition, distributed marketing refers to a marketing model in which both a corporate marketing department and local organizations or business units share responsibility for performing marketing activities. The stereotypical example of a distributed marketing organization is a franchise network, but distributed marketing models are also frequently found in industries like insurance, financial services, and manufacturing.

In my earlier articles, I’ve described how distributed marketing technologies enhance the productivity of distributed marketing operations. These technologies enable corporate marketers to maintain brand consistency, while simultaneously allowing local marketers to customize materials to fit local conditions. Just as important, these technologies simplify and automate marketing processes and make it easy for relatively inexperienced marketers to develop and execute effective marketing programs.

The main point of this article is that the benefits provided by distributed marketing technologies are not limited to companies with “classic” distributed marketing organizational structures. In fact, the same technological capabilities can also improve the marketing efforts of virtually all kinds of companies. Here’s why.

Its now abundantly clear that relevance is an essential component of effective marketing. To cut through the ever-increasing clutter of marketing messages that fill the environment and to create meaningful engagement with potential customers, marketing messages and materials must be relevant.

The need to make marketing more relevant is the driving force behind a growing emphasis on “localized” marketing. In a recent survey by the CMO Council, 86% of marketers said they intend to look for ways to better localize marketing content. While most marketers are committed to increasing localized marketing, it is not a simple task. The reality is, it’s difficult for marketers in a central marketing department to truly understand what’s needed to make marketing effective in diverse local markets.

One solution, of course, is to decentralize marketing, to place the responsibility for making marketing decisions and running marketing programs with individuals who are “closer to the customer.” Decentralized marketing is not a new idea, and global enterprises have been decentralizing some marketing functions for years. However, despite the obvious benefits, many companies have been reluctant to decentralize marketing for three primary reasons.

  • Corporate marketers fear losing control of brand messaging and brand presentation.
  • There is often a lack of marketing resources and expertise in branch locations or other local outlets.
  • Decentralization can lead to duplicative or otherwise inefficient marketing processes.

These are the specific issues that distributed marketing technologies are designed to address.

The important point here is that the capabilities provided by distributed marketing technologies can enable any company to implement a more decentralized approach to marketing without sacrificing brand control or marketing process efficiency.

If your company can benefit from more relevant localized marketing (and virtually all companies can), you should carefully consider how “distributed marketing” technologies could improve your marketing efforts.

Read Part 1 of the series here.

Read Part 2 of the series here.

Read Part 3 of the series here.