For the right type of organisation, an online marketing portal can deliver efficiency gains with the potential to transform a marketing department’s ways of working – but they’re not suitable for everyone. Here we’ll explore how online marketing portals make life easier for marketers, and help you identify whether your organisation would benefit.
You’re not alone: marketing challenges
Running a busy marketing department is hard work. You must deliver maximum return on minimum investment, in the shortest time – while keeping an eye on the latest trends and developments.
The specific challenges facing marketing departments vary greatly across sectors and individual organisations, but there are some universal objectives:
- Boosting cost-effectiveness
- Reacting quickly to market changes
- Producing effective marketing materials
- Strengthening and protecting your brand
- Exploiting new marketing opportunities
Sound familiar? And the bigger and more complex your organisation, the bigger the marketing challenge.
Can an online marketing portal help my type of organisation?
We’ll explore how a marketing portal can help your organisation overcome these challenges. First, let’s see if one is a good fit in the first place. The scorecard tool on our website can help you find out for certain.
Does your organisation have lots of branches, departments, distributors or shops, each requiring some level of individualised marketing effort? Does it have a central marketing team, but much of its marketing on the ground is delivered by a wider group of individuals? Do you find too much of your marketing department’s time is spent on admin, and not enough on bigger-picture marketing work?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then an online marketing portal could make a transformative difference to your work. To get an even better idea of whether one is right for your organisation, take our quick quiz for an instant suitability score of between 1 and 100.
Getting maximum value from your marketing effort
When it comes to reducing costs, an online marketing portal can help organisations in many ways. They can slash admin work, simplify workflows, remove the need to work with external agencies, and introduce customisable budgeting tools. And that’s to say nothing of the trickier-to-measure financial benefits that come from protecting your brand identity.
As an example, let’s say your business is a nationwide network of financial advisers, each in different locations, with different customers, and different marketing needs. One of the advisers in the network wants to produce a poster to promote tax advice.
They email your marketing team the request for the poster. Your team is busy, so they don’t get a chance to respond right away. Because this advisor needs to promote their offer immediately, they put something together themselves. The result may not be ideal.
Or perhaps they turn to a local graphic designer, and get them to produce something for display. This comes with significant cost. And the graphic designer may not have used your organisation’s colour palette or seen your logo usage guidelines. The poster goes up, but much later than it should have, and its design does not fit with your brand.
A better way of working
You can see how even this one simple task can become a convoluted exchange of emails, delays and unnecessary expense – and lead to an outcome that does your brand no favours.
Now imagine that this manager had instead been able to access an online marketing portal, where they could choose from a range of adaptable templates, all adhering to your brand guidelines. With a few clicks they would be able to enter the details of the offer, add any images or icons as necessary, and send their poster to print. This could include a single approval stage with your marketing team, should you wish.
The manager is happy because they got the poster they needed when they needed it. And they feel empowered to market their practice, rather than being reliant on a central marketing department that has to juggle similar requests from across the entire network while focusing on other work. Meanwhile, your marketing department is happy because they can focus on that other work, and because they know that a poster produced in the online marketing portal is going to tick all the right boxes.
You can also see exactly who is producing what, how much they are spending, and which local users might need some help. An online marketing portal decentralises marketing effort without risking damaging your brand’s identity.
Enabling proactive marketing with an online marketing portal
The above example also shows how a marketing portal can help marketers overcome challenge number two: reacting quickly to market changes.
If a competitor is running a promotion in a local area, your organisation needs to respond immediately. Every day’s delay is a day of potential lost business.
This could require a web banner for their Facebook page, or a graphic to use in a Tweet, or a digital display. It could call for a flyer, or a roller banner, or an advert for display in the local press. Whatever they need to produce, the local team can do so in minutes, and send it for printing or export it as a PDF or image file – all from within the portal.
Being able to produce marketing materials so quickly can give your organisation the edge over competitors.
Creating professional marketing materials from flexible templates
Online marketing portals are powerful tools for producing quality-assured marketing materials. Marketing portals give local users the power to adapt their own text, images and social media options – within a choice of controlled templates that ensure the font, layout and other brand elements will all appear as they should – a marketing portal enables your marketing materials to strike the right balance between consistency and customisation.
Of course, providing local teams with software to empower their marketing efforts will only work if that software is easy to use. Computer skills vary wildly, especially across large organisations. For maximum ease of use, look for a browser-based solution that can run on multiple platforms. Many ROI360 customers have integrated their marketing portal into their existing intranet or staff homepage to make it easy to find and encourage users to adopt the system.
Never underestimate the importance of consistency
We’ve talked about online marketing portals helping you protect your brand identity, but there’s a lot more to this aspect of their functionality.
Because you can restrict editing to only the sections of the template you choose, you can ensure that everything produced in the marketing portal will always include any elements you determine to be essential.
Say you work at the head office of a group of estate agents, who regularly produce contracts for potential buyers. By bringing that workflow into the portal, you can give your local branches power to edit everything they need to – while locking down elements that shouldn’t be changed, such as disclaimers, terms and conditions.
Not only that, but you can immediately update all the templates centrally, eliminating concerns about version control. Knowing that your local teams will only ever be able to use the most up-to-date version of a template provides peace of mind that any resulting documents will always be consistent and – crucially – compliant.
Liberate your marketing department
Ultimately, an online marketing portal can strip out a huge amount of the routine legwork from a central marketing team’s day-to-day operation. Taking requests, reviews, approvals and production responsibilities away from the central team will free you up to develop effective campaigns and get on with the strategic work on which your time should be spent.
The benefits for local teams are different but no less significant: increased control, responsiveness and buy-in to marketing. They become more responsible for their own success, and suffer fewer frustrations owing to cumbersome workflows.