This article was origionally published in Localogy.
Ducks travel together in a straight row to improve their chances of survival. Channel marketing managers can take a cue from these quaint creatures.
To help channel partners’ chances of surviving in their local markets, marketing managers must be reliable leaders through calm and rough waters alike. Just as a mother duck wants the best for her ducklings, channel marketing managers want their local partners to be independent, marketing savvy, and profitable. Get your ducks in a row with these tips on how to align local marketing execution with your national strategy.
1. Take Advantage of the Power in Numbers
When a mother duck and her ducklings travel together in a row, their power in numbers can deter predators. Ducks in a row look larger and more threatening. That could make predators unsure of which target to attack and reduce the likelihood of a duckling getting lost or left behind. The same is true of brands that work in harmony with channel partners—competitors are less likely to make headway.
To take advantage of the power in numbers, make sure your brand’s channel partners are engaged in marketing activity. No matter how strong your national marketing strategy is, partners at the local level remain crucial at the closing stages of the customer journey. For example, ads from your national campaign may make customers aware of your brand, and those customers may grow interested enough in your products or services to do a Google search related to your brand’s offerings. Your national website may help, but 46% of searches have local intent, so it’s important that your channel partners have a web presence with messaging that’s brand-consistent yet tailored to their local community. Otherwise, consumers may turn to one of your competitors with a local presence instead.
What’s more, 72% of consumers who conduct a local search subsequently visit a store within five miles. Once there, they can see the product, ask questions, be exposed to additional point-of-sale marketing, and make an in-person purchase. That means the consideration, purchase, and advocacy phases are in your local partners’ hands. When local marketing execution is aligned with the national strategy, your brand presents itself as a united front and is able to offer an exceptional customer journey, from the initial discovery phase to the time of purchase at a local brick-and-mortar
2. Paddle in the Right Direction
When a duck in the front of the group reacts to a threat, those behind will follow suit. This highlights the need for strong channel marketing leadership and strategy. Getting your ducks in a row is one thing. But even if you’re able to successfully align local marketing execution with national strategy, the results could still be disappointing if your strategy doesn’t leverage the most effective tactics and track progress using a reliable system for analytics.
You shouldn’t ignore the trend toward digital tactics, as the savviest local marketers prioritize social media, paid search, websites, and landing pages for marketing success. Plus, digital tactics are more measurable, meaning, you can see if your marketing spend is actually driving revenue.
Empower all your partners to track the performance of every tactic, campaign, and marketing program across groups, tiers, and regions to make it easy for them to decipher if they’re headed in the right direction.
3. Course Correct
A good mother duck doesn’t let her ducklings stray from the group. If one gets off course, she’ll get her ducks in a row again. Channel partners too can veer off track, and they need to be alerted when course correction is necessary. Providing feedback to partners so they can improve their marketing performance is critical to aligning local marketing execution with the corporate strategy. Many local business owners are busy with day-to-day operations and may be unaware of their marketing performance and how to improve. Channel marketing managers can use tools like Channel Partner Scorecard to evaluate partner marketing performance, provide recommendations for improving local execution, and incentivize ideal behavior. When competition and gamification are added, partners may be more inclined to participate and excel in local marketing efforts.
4. Provide for Your Flock
A mother duck’s driving goal is always to provide for her young and give them the tools to survive and thrive on their own. Likewise, channel marketers must teach their partners to fly by providing the right tools for their flock. If channel partners have the resources they need to manage local marketing execution at their fingertips, they’ll be more likely to invest time and money into the process. Provide brand and legal-approved templates for your channel partners to customize and use in their local markets. Educate partners on how to purchase ad space and spend their marketing funds effectively. Keep an organized brand asset management system so that they can always access the most up-to-date logos, images, and files.
The past year in business is a testament to the fact that on their own, small businesses are highly vulnerable to economic conditions and online retail conglomerates. By aligning your brand’s local marketing execution with its national strategy, you can leverage strength in numbers and consistent messaging to help protect channel partners from the endless challenges they may face.