I recently had the opportunity to watch a Webinar moderated by Barb Pellow and paneled by Sprint and its agency Weber Associates on the topic of Web-enabled marketing supply chain management. In other words, Web-to-print. Sprint has 7,000 B2B reps and 1,000 (ish) assets in its B2B library across multiple verticals. It has to run a tight ship.
When Andrew Leatherman, partner with Weber Associates, discussed keys to success in implementing the system, he discussed stemming the tide of homemade or unauthorized customizations of branded materials, which can end up being spread throughout the organization and perpetuating error. This is a phenomenon he calls “misinformation gone viral.”
It is one of the major challenges facing large branded organizations with decentralized marketing that allow dealers, reps, distributors, retail locations, and others to create or modify their own marketing materials. The result is dilution and loss of control of the brand, not to mention perpetuation of error. It is one of the main justifications for addition or upgrading of Web-enabled marketing collateral management systems.
Mark Rexroat, director of retail communications and marketing services for Sprint, noted that one of its keys to success was, in fact, that once the library of assets was established, those rogue materials were cut off immediately.
“We used the carrot and the stick approach,” he said. “We made the tools as friendly as possible, but we also cut off the asset distribution through other channels because, at some points in time, we had upwards of five to eight different libraries of sales and marketing information.”
This amputation was combined with a companywide training program to get buy-in at all levels of the organization, from operations to sales. In the end? Sprint experienced a 722% increase in adoption of the system by its B2B reps and a 40% reduction in marketing communication expenses.
So success with Web-to-print means cutting ’em off. In a good way, of course.