The head office supplies the products, the independent retailer on location takes care of the sales and the direct customer contact. Simply put, this is the concept of indirect distribution via trading partners. It is a common distribution model in retail, automotive and many other industries. Both parties ultimately pursue the same goal, but may have differing ideas to reach this goal. Especially in marketing communication, this organization holds conflict potential and the head office as well as trading partners could benefit from closer cooperation.
A simplified case, which can also be applied to other industries: An automotive manufacturer introduces a new model and would like to promote it in a national lifecycle campaign across all touchpoints. The communication is to be led consistently via all touchpoints: central value proposition, consistent imagery, testimonials, etc. However, the manufacturer is lacking direct contact to (prospective) customers and their data. This data is required for an individualised approach in the lifecycle, e.g. to approach prospective customers differently than users who have just purchased a new car. The local dealers have this data and know their customers. However, they lack the necessary resources to independently run an integrated lifecycle campaign.

Combined Power Through Trust Centre

The manufacturer is worried about the consistency of the communication if he provides the dealers with his resources. The dealer on the other hand, does not wish to release his customer data and may legally not be allowed to. The challenge consists in dissolving this tension and allowing each party to benefit from the other one’s strengths. The solution is marketing platforms with data storage in a trust centre closing the gap between manufacturers and dealers and integrating both worlds. The manufacturer provides a common direct marketing platform, conceptualises measures and logics in the lifecycle and offers the dealers access, e.g. to enrich pre-defined email marketing measures, such as a newsletter template, with their own content and send it to their own customers.  The dealer provides his customer data in a structured way but keeps his finger on the “ok” button. The sole data ownership of the dealer is secured through the operation in a trust centre. These solutions open up a comprehensive end customer communication with a high level of dialogue maturity for the manufacturer. The key to such multi-partner marketing platforms is not to open a functional potpourri of possibilities, but facilitate the use for the dealer as much as possible. In the best case scenario, he only needs to nod through the centrally run measures.

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Trust Centres are just one example of significant trends in digital marketing in the following years. You can find further trends in our free whitepaper 7 digital Marketing Trends 2015