A while ago, I was asked by my boss: “How do you like to receive praise?” I thought it was an odd question, but the reason behind it quickly became apparent. When he needed to impart a positive comment to somebody, he wanted to discern the best way to do this. Some people are partial to a big hurrah in front of colleagues, others favour a quiet word of praise, while many may lean towards a little note in a card.
By taking the time to conduct this research, he then knew exactly how to deliver encouraging words to individuals in such a way that each would embrace and fully understand it. The same is true when it comes to marketing. No one cap fits all and people have their preferred options on how they want to be communicated with. As marketers, we must make sure the appropriate vehicle is chosen to dispatch the message.
A two-way street
Sometimes marketing is made over complicated, and it really doesn’t need to be. It is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as: ‘The activity of presenting, advertising and selling a company’s products or services in the best possible way.’ It is pretty straightforward, just as it should be.
From a marketing perspective, a dealer group’s role is to act as a conduit between manufacturers and dealers and to function as the linchpin responsible for ensuring information is transferred successfully in both directions.
Research is the key ingredient in any marketing campaign, and I cannot stress this point enough. It is where dealer groups shine, but it still takes consistent input from all stakeholders to deliver the right message in the right way. Actively seeking feedback from group members means we know exactly where to channel our focus.
Dealers talk to consumers day in and day out and can pick up valuable findings and pass them on to us. In turn, we can liaise directly with manufacturers and make sure they are aware of exactly what is going on at the coal face.
I hope providing some insight into the inner workings of the main processes undertaken by dealer groups when creating marketing strategies will boost engagement from every relevant party.
When a manufacturer or brand presents a new product, range or service, it’s crucial to unravel the story behind it. We ask important questions regarding the background and research undertaken before launch, the benefits, the target market and training options. The answer to these basic queries enables us to make a considered judgement call on which promotional and marketing activities to pursue and promote.
With numerous prospects available at any given moment, it’s essential both vendors and dealers understand that of paramount concern is the answer to a simple but vital issue: does it work for the consumer, the dealer and the supplier? A resounding yes to all three means a really good marketing opportunity lies ahead.
If there is an element of doubt against just one of them, it’s a no-go because if it isn’t going to be successful for one, it won’t turn out well for the other two.
Once a decision is made on what product or service will be marketed, the next stage in the procedure is to work closely with the manufacturer’s team. It is often the case that a supplier already has marketing and promotional collateral to hand, which can easily be tweaked for dealers or produced in-house using supplied information and images. Data is also checked to see if it is readily available via the software houses (if applicable).
The flexible choice
Full marketing packs are created, containing editable PDFs (enabling sell-out prices to be changed), web banners, social media assets as well as any other supporting details.
As dealers know their customers best, these materials can then be tailored with the freedom to present the collateral in a manner which suits their client base.
Training sessions can be organised when necessary, cultivating direct interactions between operators and dealers and expanding the knowledge base on both sides. Every campaign requires one last check – ensuring there is sufficient stock. There’s nothing worse than sending out promotional activity only to discover the supplier is still waiting for stock to arrive.
While a promotion is running, it’s essential to monitor the success levels and review them once the initiative has finished. Feedback kickstarts the research process for planning the next campaign and allows changes and improvements to be made if necessary.
The root of all marketing strategies and the cornerstone of conveying the perfect message lies in conducting research and engaging with dealers – and it’s what dealer groups do best.
Laura Sweet is Graphic Design & Marketing Executive at Advantia