Here’s everything we’ve learned about what makes a self-service local marketing portal succeed – or not.Success will be directly proportional to ease of use
Following launch local teams will log in, try out the portal, and very quickly make a decision on whether this is something they will use or not. Their decision will invariably be based on the ease of use and intuitiveness of the user interface.
Is it quick to find the resource your looking for? Is the editing or localisation process of these resources easy and flexible? And finally, is the approval and ordering process clear?
Sure, some users will persevere for a while with a clunky system, but eventually their usage will dwindle too. To illustrate the point, in some cases where a brand has replaced an existing portal with our easy-to-use technology, local marketing output has increased more than 400%.
Templates must be flexible
Different locations will invariably have slightly different requirements and preferences, so the template software needs to be able to offer the user flexible options such as:
- different page layouts and images
- the ability to dynamically resize to the format required
- provide file format options e.g. trims or no trims, jpeg or PDF
- the ability to feature different promotions or products that will resonate with the local market, with the relevant content pulled through from a data source
If templates are too restrictive, system users will be frustrated that they are unable to use their local knowledge to customise their marketing. This will leave them feeling disempowered and ultimately discouraged from using the portal.
The more time you take to understand the local marketing requirements and capabilities of your locations, the more successful your portal will be. Sitting at head office thinking you know what’s important out in the regions and small towns will hamper your ability to provide helpful resources that get used. Our team at Brand Machine often assists clients with surveys or interviews with location staff to assist with portal planning. An annual check-in with a sample of locations will also help guide future initiatives such as adding new media channels like email and digital screen content to the portal’s exisiting self-service capability.
Run a trial first
In the last 12 months we’ve began offering prospective clients the ability to trial a Brand Machine local marketing portal first. This ensures that location teams do have a propensity to create their own local marketing and therefore enthusiastically adopt the system. By creating some test templates for the trial, you’ll also gain some useful insights to help you develop further resources for the national roll out. Politically, it’s also an easier ‘sell’ to your location network when they know a trial has taken place and their feedback has been implemented.
Show some tough love
It’s common for a local marketing portal to replace a manual request system that saw locations asking for marketing to be created for them by head office. Of course there is always some people that don’t like change but you need to stay staunch. When they call with a bespoke request the answer always has to be ‘use the portal’.
Defined marketing ownership
The most common trigger for falling usage of a LAM portal is the absence of a clear owner in the marketing team and the loss of focus that invariably follows. This will usually result in a drying up of new resources to cater to changing local requirements or media trends, and a drop off in communication that is essential to keep users engaged.
Regular communication is key
Out of site is out of mind. So regular communication highlighting what’s new on the portal, what’s popular and any great local marketing individual locations are doing is key – to keep users motivated. At Brand Machine we learned this very early on, so developed the ability for marketing teams to quickly create attractive HTML email newsletters inside the portal and send to system users at the push of a button.
Be digital ready
Traditionally local marketing portals have been biased towards print. In fact it was the printing industry who first introduced what they called the web to print systems and these were also used for local marketing portals. Today however, your portal needs that ability to output locally edited content for emails, web banners, social media and even animations for digital screens.
At Brand Machine, we’re proud of the fact we’ve never had a client turn off their Brand Machine local marketing portal. On one hand this is testament to the quality of our software and service. On the other, it shows that our clients have launched and managed their local marketing portals effectively.
Contact us to arrange a demo or Brand Machine’s Marketing Hub, or to discuss a free trial of our software.