What led you to start Brand Machine?
While working in advertising I could see shortcomings with brands around local marketing activation. It was either done badly by local teams, or head office was drowning in local support requests, leaving no bandwidth for strategic work. I thought there must be a way we could solve this.
What does the Brand Machine local marketing system do exactly?
Our Marketing Hub module makes DIY marketing possible for local branches, sales teams, channel partners or franchisees in any media – print, press, HTML email, digital screens, online display, merchandise and event kit ordering. We automate the entire workflow; from locally adapting the creative, to approvals, production, activation and cost allocation, and reporting. Campaigns are created at speed without one email or phone call required.
We’ve worked out a simple event invitation can take five hours of organisational time from brief to design, head office management, production and cost admin. Our system will get the job done in five to 10 minutes – some 30 to 60 times faster than without it. With some clients doing over 600 local executions a month, the resource saving is enormous.
So your USP is saving clients money and resource?
That helps justify the investment, but more important is the change in culture towards local teams taking more responsibility for local sales. When you have a library of high quality, easily executable resources in a beautiful, intuitive interface, local teams are far more likely to get busy. And the marketing that gets done is usually more effective due to more locally relevant and personalised content.
New tactics are possible too. For example, locally activated mail or email campaigns were previously too labour-intensive to justify. By automating that process, it’s now relatively fast and painless. We’re doing a lot of work in the digital screen space also – and we see animated content being a major output from our systems.
Another advantage we hear from CMOs is that local teams are best placed to know what products, promotions and tactics work best for the demographic in their area.
You have achieved an impressive trans-Tasman client list in a short time. What’s your secret sauce?
Mostly the user experience. When clients see it they are blown away by the elegance and ease of use. Previous attempts at this sort of thing have failed to deliver that. As a result, staff engagement and ROI was moderate at best. Many of our clients had some sort of automation system already but binned it pretty fast after seeing our UX and vision for local marketing. Typically, we are seeing three to four-fold increases in local marketing activity levels, so they are thrilled with the payback.
What has been the rewarding impact of your systems for your clients?
The biggest thing is that marketers are getting their life back while improving marketing performance. Because we are automating so much of what was previously being done manually, they have more time for strategic work. And they’ll probably get to their after-work yoga class more often.