How to Choose a TCMA Vendor - BrandMuscle
How to Choose a TCMA Vendor
March 13, 2020
By: James Morse, Senior Director, Solutions Consultant.

Choosing a Through-Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA) partner can seem like a daunting task. Most marketing teams feel they need multiple TCMA partners to cover all their needs while being able to grow with their channel needs over the years to come. Believe it or not, your TCMA needs should be found within an all-in-one platform that is built to support both sophisticated and unsophisticated channel partners manage, execute, and track channel marketing with unprecedented speed, simplicity, and accuracy.

We believe there are three main pillars that support your through-channel marketing automation needs: Brand Management, Fund Management, and Marketing Services. There are some key features to look for with both the TCMA platform and the partner. We have articulated a few of these below, but have accompanied this with a sample RFP which meticulously explains the items your ideal TCMA partner should offer.

Brand Management

Distributed marketing has evolved quite a bit in the last decade. Marketing teams need more than just a Digital Asset Management (DAM) or an ad builder solution. Through-Channel Marketing Automation platforms need to have the capabilities of these solutions with the key integrations to support channel partners delivering the right media via the right channel to the right audience at the right time.

Simplify and organize
An easy user experience may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many platforms make it difficult for channel partners to even find the right content. Platforms need to enable channel partners to find more than just the usual post card they send each month.

Content should be intuitively organized and easy to navigate, grouped by campaigns and initiatives to help channel partners better target customers at every point during the path to purchase. Whether it be print collateral, variable tchotchkes, emails, social media images, or display banners - all of these should be customized at once. If a logo needs to be updated, for example, it should change throughout the system, saving time on edits and eliminates erroneous versions.
Dealing with regional variability
Gating variable and non-variable assets by user group or region needs to work for you. It’s not just about creating content for Ohio and separate content for Pennsylvania because your images and legal copy are different between states. Your TCMA platform should be able to have one asset that applies the variable gating parameters. within the asset itself. This helps streamline the amount of content you need, drive down costs, and make updates down the road quicker and more strategic.

Allow your channel partners to customize and co-brand
Managing your brand goes beyond the variable assets you allow your channel partners to customize and co-brand. Ensuring they have the proper and best-in-class paths to execute the content is essential. Your TCMA platform should provide native integrations with Salesforce Marketing Cloud and other email service providers that will scrub against your unsubscribe lists and provide fundamental email reporting back to both the channel partner and your corporate marketing team. These integrations just begin to capture the number of crucial automations needed to allow channel partners to market you brand more effectively.

Fund Management

Organizations manage funds for their channel partners in a plethora of ways. Some provide small budgets to be spent on a corporate approved e-commerce store. Others provide millions of dollars across their channel partners while requiring proof of performance to guarantee the brand is being correctly portrayed across many different marketing tactics. No matter how you structure your fund program, your TCMA partner should be capable of enabling utilization through the platform and offer consultation to assist you with evolving your programs to better meet the challenges you and your channel partners may face.

Through-Channel Marketing Automation platforms that offer Brand Management and Fund Management capabilities give channel partners one less stop along the way to marketing your brand which ultimately leads to higher engagement. Providing the channel partner with an easy-to-use platform to facilitate budgets, pre-approvals (e.g. branding and funding), claims/proof of performance, and funds reimbursement will give you better insight into how your channel is marketing and how much they are investing in your brand at the local level.

Marketing Services

Consolidation is key to success with marketing execution services. The last thing you want is your channel partner utilizing a handful of different vendors that you don’t have a relationship with to manage your brand at the local level. We believe in segmenting your marketing services needs into three buckets:

Creative Services & Print
Resources to easily manage custom creative requests within your brand guidelines, say resize requests for a local church bulletin or yearbook ad, and expertise to manage print at a cost that is digestible for smaller partners. Most of your channel doesn’t have the budget or need for 10,000 flyers, so the flexibility prevents waste and saves them money.

Media Placement & Events
Scalability to assist your channel partners purchase the right media placements at a negotiated rate along and a repository of prequalified local events complemented with access to event materials that support pre- and post- event efforts.

Social & Digital
Allow channel partners to publish content, monitor their social activity, engage with their social communities, promote key posts, manage online reputations, and optimize online search.

Consolidation and Integration
Choosing a TCMA partner doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Consolidation and integration are key. Seek an all-in-one platform to manage, execute, and track channel marketing activity and make sure it plays nice with your existing technology.

Want to learn more about BrandMuscle’s TCMA solution?

Brand Management to enable local channel partners to personalize and execute brand and legal compliant marketing campaigns.

Fund Management to optimize your marketing strategy with flexible MDF and co-op programs for your partners.

Marketing Execution to help your marketing channel partners implement effective, scalable, and brand compliant marketing campaigns that drive business impact.

About the Author

James Morse bridges the gap between business requirements and technical capabilities for both BrandMuscle clients and prospects in his role as Senior Sales Engineer. He has more than 10 years of experience in distributed marketing, project management, new client implementations, and co-op marketing for Fortune 500 brands. With a deep understanding of BrandMuscle’s software and services, James frequently and successfully leads large client onboardings, working directly with client stakeholders to truly understand their business objectives from start to finish. Prior to BrandMuscle, James held positions at Easy2 Technologies and Perceptis LLC. He holds a BS in Management and Economics from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.