In every successful marketing program, the focus begins with the consumer—and how they prefer to be served in the journey to purchase satisfaction. That goes for channel marketing too. This hasn’t changed, but in today’s marketing environment, the channel (i.e., the local retailer, dealer, distributor or agent) is more focused, data-driven, automated and accountable than ever.
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adj: wise through reflection and experience
Big ideas, programs and initiatives require support in order to be successful. You need allies who will advocate for your idea and help you win over even more people. For corporate brands with a network of local sales partners- agents, dealers, franchisees, retailers, etc.- your biggest ally is the person who communicates with your dealers on a regular basis.
It’s a business-changing day for a manufacturer when you find out that a distributor has agreed to partner with you and sell your product through their independent dealer or retailer network. Or possibly you are a manufacturer that has determined your service or product will be sold directly from corporate to channel sales partners -such as franchise and independently owned retail stores.
Many companies rely on independent distribution channels for their products or services. These companies also spend millions of dollars on national marketing campaigns, which keeps current customers engaged with their brand, and can help pick up new customers. Execution of a channel marketing campaign that supports the national messaging takes a marketing team that understands your campaign strategy.
Most national brands that have partners selling their products at the local level offer a co-op marketing program. For those brands with hundreds of local sales partners, keeping track of each partner’s marketing plan is a full-time job. Depending on your number of partners, it could add up to even 10 or more full-time jobs.
About this time every year, SA teams fan out across the country to meet and interact with clients and their local dealers, agents and local partners who participate in corporate programs designed to help them do more in each of their markets. When we hit the road, we’re interacting with local professionals via presentations, small groups, one-on-ones and social gatherings.
As corporate marketers consider the rapidly changing customer journey, they know the impact a digital presence has on that journey toward product purchase. Today’s digitally educated and astute customers have done their research online, considered competitors and reviewed satisfaction sites, and now are ready to purchase your product or service and the experience you promise.
Our business is about identifying and applying insights to bring to bear practical results for our clients. Recently, we began surveying clients about trends and observations, and while we are expanding our research now, several key findings are beginning to be apparent, leading to field marketing insights. Today’s educated digital consumer comes to the dealership, agency or retail location knowing so much more.
Getting out — or in — to the field nearly always provides a fresh perspective on marketing. I’m not talking about the plains, prairies or terrain. I’m talking about where local intersects with brand and produces results. Where sales and services are delivered for enterprise brands. It’s exciting because the field is where so many problems are solved and opportunities are discovered.
You know your customers. Especially the best ones. You can see them, describe them, and can even call some by name. You know how they tend to transact business with your company and your insights about these customers guide your strategies and promote continued success. Regardless of your company’s leadership position, you know you need to reach more of these valuable customers.