Marketing Collateral Management System

The backbone of your marketing collateral distribution system.

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Until now, we spoke about creating the ideal marketing collateral for your business. We are now ready to look at the next stage i.e., a marketing collateral management platform. As you scale your business, marketing collateral is bound to go up and so will the demands on the need for a unified collateral system. This platform must be able to fulfill the needs of various stakeholders across the company including marketers, communications teams, Investor Relations, Salespeople, Designers, product engineers, and more. In this section, we will look at the reasons how a collaborative marketing collateral management system will be helpful for your business:

1. Enabling content discovery: Let us look at a conversation between a John, a health insurance seller and Malcolm, a prospect looking to buy a health insurance pack for himself and his family.

John: Hello Malcolm, I hope I have not caught you in the middle of something.

Malcolm: No, I’m good.

John: Great then, just following up from our last week’s conversation, I thought I’ll quickly walk you through some of our newest insurance plans that we’ve launched. Is that okay?

Malcolm: Sure.

John: Fantastic. Our newest policy is the most comprehensive in the market that covers a variety of illness, hospitalization, premium calculations, deductibles, provider networks and a lot more. This is how it works…(voice trails off)

Malcolm: Hmmm, that’s good to hear. Do you have a video that can explain these concepts for me? It’ll be easier for me to decide.

John (scratching his head): I’m sorry, we don’t have one right now. Can I get back to you next week on this?

Malcolm: Sure, I’m ready whenever you are!

This is a realistic sales conversation that happens daily across businesses and industries. John could have closed out a deal right there if he had a simple video that explains important health insurance concepts. Today, salespeople are struggling to find original content – stuff that their target audiences are craving for. On the contrary, B2B marketers are allocating allocate 28% of their total marketing budget towards content marketing, while the most experienced and effective content marketers are earmarking 45%. Isn’t this scenario paradoxical by itself? This calls for a marketing collateral platform where sales reps can easily find the content they are looking for. Once the collateral is created, all that marketers need to do is publish it on the platform. This enables sales reps discover and identify the right content to use for the right sales opportunity that will close deals.

2. A Seamless Distribution Mechanism: Imagine the number of times salespeople end up not being able to deliver on their promises because they could not find the relevant content they were looking for (we just saw that in the conversation in the previous point). In 2011, EMI Strategic Marketing reported that on average, salespeople spend 8 hours a week working on client presentations, 5 hours looking for marketing collateral and 4 hours looking up information on their customers. That amounts to 100 days lost in a year. In 2013, Sirius Decisions said that up to 70% of marketing collateral goes unused by salespeople. Millions of dollars are spent in producing such marketing collateral. That’s why a seamless distribution strategy must be adopted, but not through emails (as it is most likely to get buried under the sea of mails they get every day). Instead, a content management and distribution platform could be used to store content and update it whenever the need arises. When a new piece of content is published, salespeople should get automatic notifications about it. That is how a robust platform works instead of clunky emails where you keep digging till you realize that you have deleted those emails long ago.

3. Curation Platform: How odd will it be for teams to share marketing collateral that is stale? Or, collateral that is outdated. One of our colleagues who had worked at a large technology company tells us that despite the company undergoing a major rebranding exercise (and spending millions of dollars in that effort), internal teams continued to use old templates and sometimes it even made its way out of the organization into client email inboxes. Obviously, the clients were aware of it due to the massive publicity that had been undertaken as part of the rebranding exercise. As a result, some of the clients were a little confused with the collateral they were engaging with. This is a recipe for a major PR disaster and can be plugged with the help of a collaborative marketing collateral platform that allows you to make changes to existing content without disturbing the flow. You could send a customer collateral and still update it without the customer realizing it. With emails, it is always a one-way street and once the content goes out, you have no control over it.

4. A Unified Business – We often talk about the rift between Sales and Marketing teams. As content marketers, we have discovered that one way to create meaningful content is to design customer personas that tell us what our customers are looking for. The same applies to our sales teams as well. In the July-August 2006 issue of the Harvard Business Review, industry experts Philip Kotler, Neil Rackham and Suj Krishnaswamy opine that “…when Sales and Marketing work well together, companies see substantial improvement on important performance metrics: Sales cycles are shorter, market-entry costs go down, and the cost of sales is lower.” They have cited the example of IBM where Sales teams were focused only on fulfilling product demand and not creating it, whereas Marketing teams struggled to connect the ROI on advertising to the sales it generated. This was compounded when marketing teams announced new product launches when sales teams weren’t ready for it yet. This is a typical situation that can be avoided by way of a marketing collateral platform that lets Marketing and Sales educate each other and address the situation jointly.

5. An Audit Platform: Auditing marketing collateral is a must for all businesses – big or small. Think about the number of blog posts that you have, the Thought Leadership papers/White Papers that are housed under the Resources section on your website or the eBooks where you have spent a lot of money getting them in shape. For that matter, your website may have numerous inner pages linked to your homepage. Added to all this is your SEO strategy which uses keywords, hashtags, backlinks, descriptions as links between each of your marketing collateral. Now, that is a heady mixture of several things that generate revenues for your business. If you are not able to take stock of them from time to time, you will be staring at an abyss of endless stuff that is intertwined along with your business. A marketing collateral platform tells you the date when collaterals were created, the people responsible for it, when does it need a refresh, which ones should you retire, what are the new ones you should create (in line with your evolving marketing themes) etc. All of your collaterals can be in one place and all that you need to do is get your content teams to look at it and determine the future course of action. It can organize your collaterals under various themes, initiatives, purpose for which they are being created and a lot more.

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