The term B2B marketing automation usually refers to technologies that automate activities like lead capture, lead nurturing, lead scoring, and lead distribution. These technologies can greatly improve the effectiveness and efficiency of B2B marketing efforts, particularly when it comes to lead management.
There is, however, another type of B2B marketing automation that should also be on your radar. These solutions are usually called marketing asset management solutions. A marketing asset management solution is a suite of technologies, production capabilities, and fulfillment services that automate many of the processes relating to the procurement, management, and distribution of marketing materials such as marketing collateral documents, promotional items, and point-of-sale materials. A marketing asset management solution is essentially an outsourcing arrangement in which the solution provider assumes responsibility for several components of a company's marketing materials supply chain.
Here's how a marketing asset management solution works.
- The core component is a central repository that contains digital versions of the marketing materials that a company uses. The solution will also include an online catalog that contains images of the company's materials.
- When an authorized user needs to order marketing materials, he or she logs into a secure website, selects the desired materials from the catalog, and places the order.
- A marketing asset management solution also provides powerful customization capabilities. If an item is designed to be customized, the online catalog will contain a template of that item. The template identifies the content elements that can be modified and allows a user to customize the item in allowable ways.
- The marketing asset management solution provider uses production technologies that allow most marketing materials to be manufactured on an order-by-order basis. The solution provider also handles packaging and fulfillment. In those cases where production economics don't allow for materials to be produced on an as-ordered basis, the solution provider will provide warehousing and real-time (or near real-time) inventory tracking and reporting.
If you'd like to learn more about marketing asset management solutions, take a look at our white papers titled, Is a Marketing Asset Management Solution Right for My Company? and Four Reasons to Use a Marketing Asset Management Solution. To obtain a copy of one or both of these papers, just put your request in a comment to this post or send an e-mail request to ddodd(at)pointbalance(dot)com.