Ouch! As if trade pubs weren’t getting cut out of enough loops, a British marketing firm has neatly snipped them out of the role they used to play communicating product and other information between vendors and resellers.
Mktg Digital, a marketing services firm with offices in both the UK and France, develops and deploys Web portals for technology vendors such as Plantronics. These portals hold not only all the marketing collateral a vendor has developed for a specific product, but can tailor the content based on the type of collateral the reseller has viewed in the past. Resellers can also download high- or low-resolution copies of the collateral for use on their own Web site or for the print use. Through pre-arrangements with print-on-demand Web sites), resellers to print only the collateral they need, when they need it, customized with their own logo and contact information. This alone can cut 20 to 30 percent from a vendor’s physical mailing costs, no small deal when you’ve got prospect lists with hundreds of thousands of names.
The portal has workflow capabilities that let a vendor control, for example, whether the vendor will pay for such printing out of its own co-marketing budget or let the reseller foot the bill. It can also require a reseller to, for example, pass a test showing they understand how to sell and support a new product before allowing them to download collateral about it.
I find their approach interesting, combining content management capabilities with a certain level of marketing workflow to control what marketers can do. I also like the idea of combining outside content, such as reviews from Amazon.com, on the vendor’s content portal. Right now, there’s no link back to sales systems to determine what specific resellers sell and no customizing of content based on which problems resellers are having, but those are possibilities for the future.
Managing Director David Long declined to say how much the typical portal costs, but says “We would anticipate a client would experience a (return on investment) within the first 12 months.” Just another example of how every vendor is now (or should be) a publisher, and can be with innovative content management/workflow/publishing tools from vendors large and small.