Best Practices for Managing Marketing Campaigns Across Retail Chains

Retailers are in a constant battle for market share—to deliver exceptional brand experiences that build loyalty and revenue.

It’s where retail marketing leaders are putting their dollars. Gartner’s 2016-2017 CMO Spend Survey revealed that in 2016, marketing budgets continued their steady ascent to reach 12% of company revenue. And Gartner contends that the most impactful spending is balanced between short-term tactics and initiatives that can bring long-term improvements to the customer experience and brand-building efforts.

This is consistent with our experience working with both large nationwide retailers, companies with branch networks and businesses with national/regional sales rep organizations. Whether they’re in the B2B or B2C space (or both), these businesses face unique challenges owing to the fact that they’re well-known national brands with local presence. Their big-picture marketing approach needs to accommodate local nuance, not to mention meeting the demands of a dispersed network of store/branch managers and sales reps.

So without further ado, we bring you the keys to effectively managing marketing campaigns across retail stores or branch offices:

1. Establish and Support Consistency
Marketing campaigns of any size need to deliver a consistent voice and aesthetic, consistent messaging, and consistent customer experiences across all sales channels. Let’s take a closer look:

Brand Consistency – From Spokane to Chicago to Miami, your customers should engage with the same brand identity: the same logos, colors, taglines, etc. While this is part of “Branding 101,” we’ve found that achieving unity at the local level takes a strategic and concerted effort. In other words, diligence! You need the oversight and controls in place to ensure that all marketing campaign content—web pages, flyers, postcards, coupons, letters, e-mails, ads—represents the corporate brand while still being produced quickly to meet a local opportunity.

Campaign ConsistencyHere’s where you reinforce your brand identity while “getting local” with messages, target markets, and offers. Achieving campaign consistency starts with branding, but it goes on to ensure that campaign “deployment” is timely and balanced across retail or branch locations. This means all materials, from digital to traditional, are easily accessible to local managers at the same time—especially if you’re promoting a new product or service launch or a “Back to School” special. Local considerations in this arena must include the ability to target specific situations (e.g. a new store opens near to a big office park and wants to attract more small business customers) or seasonal offers (e.g. an insurance sales rep in Oklahoma City is promoting tornado insurance).

2. Leverage Relationships Using Data
Marketers today have access to a wealth of data—so put the database to work to supercharge your marketing campaigns in these two ways:

Personalization – It’s certainly a marketing buzzword today, but with good reason. It’s a tactic being put to use in practically every industry, but it’s particularly effective for retail chains that want build local customer relationships. Yet it’s being underutilized—and represents opportunity! A SalesForce study found that content personalization is leveraged by just over half of the nearly 500 retailers they surveyed, despite the fact that “delivering personalized experiences” is a primary marketing challenge.

In our experience, big box stores tend to put off consumers when they fail to cultivate personal relationships with them. Companies with strong national brands have to make extra effort to build relationships and loyalty between an individual and a specific store—to help a customer feel special, valued, and more than a number. Here’s personalization to the rescue, via, for example, a personalized letter signed (digitally) by the store or branch manager, thanking new customers for their business and providing them with a special offer they can redeem at their next visit.

Customization: Much like personalization, customization refers to modifying content or an offer for a specific store or location. This can be seen in print or online advertising promoting local store announcements, providing specific details about services, or announcing the availability of job openings. Enable local managers to “plug” custom data into campaign materials to help them build stronger relationships within their community and improve loyalty and retention—all with a local flavor.

3. Include Strong Call-to-Actions with Trackable Offers
What works on a national level won’t necessarily resonate locally. And what generates sales in Los Angeles may not hit targets in Raleigh, NC. We can’t underestimate the top-line value of measuring campaign success across markets and applying the insights to optimize campaigns on a per-store basis.

That said, your campaign materials, first and foremost, need to drive customers and prospects to a desired action (e.g. click on a URL link or purchase at a store). But it’s what happens after they take the action that gets interesting. By using tracking codes on your materials, you’ll be able to measure their effectiveness. You’ll be able to answer questions like, “Does this offer resonate with this set of customers?” and “Are people redeeming their coupons?” If you’re not seeing the results you hoped for, you can change the offer to drive better results.

It’s critical that local store and branch managers are quick to respond to local market situations with effective messages and offers. But we’ve found that too often, local managers are eager to launch an offer and fail to follow protocol—maybe the home office is slow to respond to a marketing request or it’s “just easier” to put something together and send it out on the fly.

In these situations, the home office loses control of branding and the customer-facing messages don’t include accurate or required legal footnotes and disclaimers. These are big risks that drive home the importance of maintaining campaign control at the national level by giving managers access to pre-approved, ready-to-customize-and-deploy marketing materials to use at the local level.

4. Provide Local Managers 24/7 On-Demand Marketing Campaign Support
We recommend putting a solution in place that takes the guesswork out of marketing for your sales team across the country (or globe)—a user-friendly system that provides conveniently provides local managers with the resources and know-how to design and execute their own marketing campaigns. Think of this as “marketing campaign enablement” allowing store/branch managers or sales reps to quickly create personalized and customized campaign materials (flyers, mailers, ads, etc.) that are accurate, brand consistent, and legal department-approved.

Since 2013 The Weinstein Organization has been providing custom web portal-based solutions for national retailers and sales organizations that allows their local store/branch managers or sales reps to create home-office pre-approved marketing materials in minutes…not weeks. The adoption and acceptance by the local managers and reps has exceeded expectations—and their customers are enjoying brand experiences that boost loyalty and revenue.

To learn more email us!