Taming the Chaos of Distributed Marketing

Distributed Marketing

In a recent survey by the Aberdeen Group, 67% of respondents said their marketing operates in a distributed marketing environment. By the traditional definition, distributed marketing refers to a marketing model in which both a central corporate marketing department and “local” organizations or business units share authority and responsibility for making marketing decisions and performing marketing activities. The stereotypical example of a distributed marketing organization is a franchise network, but distributed marketing models exist in many kinds of organizations.

The reality is, most large companies, particularly global enterprises, use some form of a distributed marketing model. For example, marketing operations is many multinational companies are highly fragmented. Most global enterprises have regional or national marketing organizations in addition to a central corporate marketing department. These regional and/or local marketing organizations often play a significant role in the creation of marketing content and the execution of marketing programs. They usually hire their own language service providers for translation services, and they may also contract with marketing agencies to create original content or adapt “corporate” content for the local market.

In addition to geographically-based marketing operations, line-of-business managers may also have marketers on staff who develop marketing content and run marketing programs. Lastly, if an enterprise sells through independent or quasi-independent channel partners, that usually adds at least one more layer of people and organizations to the marketing “structure.”

Managing Distributed Marketing Effectively

The result is a fractured and highly complex marketing operations environment usually filled with redundant, manual, and inefficient processes that result in excessive costs and a lack of reliability and responsiveness.

To manage distributed marketing operations effectively, marketers must achieve three fundamental objectives.


  • They must maintain sufficient control of brand messaging and brand presentation to protect the integrity of the brand promise.
  • They must empower and enable marketers at all appropriate organizational levels to create marketing content and execute marketing programs that fit local market conditions.
  • They must accomplish the first two objectives while simultaneously maximizing the efficiency of marketing operational processes.

The good news is that all three of these objectives are now within the reach of virtually all enterprise marketers. The combination of several technologies, including (but not limited to) digital asset management, marketing asset management/web-to-print, and marketing campaign management, can enable marketers to tame the chaos that often rules distributed marketing operations.

How “distributed” are your marketing operations? What technologies are you using to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of these operations?

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Author:Jan Dejosse

CMO - ADAM Software

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