Let’s begin with something simple: keeping documents and marketing collateral centralized is a good idea. As we’ve previously discussed, implementing a centralized marketing platform can dramatically improve the way your business shares information. If you’re a franchisor, for example, all your franchisees will now be working from the same playbook, leading to less potential mistakes and minimizing potential damage to your brand overall.
This system functions as a portal through which any of the users, whether they be franchisees or field representatives within your organization, can access approved and ready to use forms or marketing collateral. Simply put, it makes life easier.
With that being said, if you’re new to a marketing platform or are thinking about making the switch, there are a few steps you should know about to get the most out of this technology. Below are suggestions for how to get your system off on the right foot and maximize your return on investment.
So you’ve made the commitment, worked with a vendor to build your portal, developed plenty of documents and collateral for your employees to browse… but does anyone know how to use it? Your users need to have a thorough understanding of how this platform works to get the most out of it.
A key part of adopting a system like this is scheduling training with the relevant members of your team who will be actively using it. If possible, you should try to do this in-person in a classroom-like setting. Here, you can talk through any concerns someone has, run exercises to show how exactly the system should be used and even lay out terms for how your collateral should be used or altered (if you allow the latter).
Along with ensuring proper usage, doing this affords you the opportunity to get buy-in up front by being able to explain all the benefits of this new technology. Building excitement among your staff is crucial for user engagement.
If you can’t do an in-person training session, then schedule several online run-throughs, and make them interactive. You can ask participants to share their screens and walk through exercises that fully explain the system, or simply build a test order and have users find and create collateral themselves.
Whatever you choose, make sure that the people using your program understand how it works so that they can get the most out of your system.
Don’t Stop Adding New Items
Along with this last point, give users incentives to visit the site by frequently updating it. Nothing crushes enthusiasm for a new internet portal like this than failing to keep it updated and letting it languish for months at a time.
This means you’ll need to commit internal resources toward having new materials developed or rely on a vendor to create them. To accomplish this, you’ll need to either develop and build out your year plan for developing collateral, or ensure your current plan has a schedule that will keep your users interested. It is not uncommon to release the site for use with only a few starter items and add as time goes.
It is also a good idea to provide users with a mechanism to request certain items be added to the platform. That way you can monitor requests and see if there are certain items more in demand. These discussions will allow you to create new collateral with the certainty that they will be useful to your users.
Highlight Certain Products
Of course, one extra benefit of using a centralized platform is you can subtly point your users toward using your preferred collateral. On your homepage, you can prominently display collateral that features your latest messaging or calls out time-sensitive offers, like promoting your organization at an upcoming event, for example. Having these documents on the platform for easy usage will only hammer home their importance.
Keep in mind, the portal makes ordering and customizing collateral much easier. Maintaining a well curated and organized platform will limit the time they need to search for the most appropriate collateral.
Perhaps most importantly, you should solicit feedback from your users regularly. Not just on the aforementioned collateral, but also on the quality of the system in general. Is there a prominent function your users just don’t need? Then you can go to your vendor and ask to have this removed.
On the other hand, if it becomes clear that the software is lacking in some aspects, you can work with your vendor to have this resolved, raising the value of the software overall.
In all aspects of implementing and managing a centralized marketing platform, you will need to work closely with your vendor. Switching to a centralized approach will greatly enhance your efficiency, but it takes work to do it correctly. Follow these steps and position your business to make a smooth transition.