“What gets measured, gets managed” - Peter Drucker
These days, there’s a lot of talk about measuring things in your business. However, with limited time, money, and resources, the things that are tracked are usually the only things that get improved. So what do you measure when it comes to the effectiveness of your MAP policy?
Let’s take a closer look at two key metrics - time and complaints - that can help you with concretely identifying the inefficiencies in their MAP compliance process, so you can get on your way with protecting your brand. For each metric, we’ll outline the components, go through a scenario, and consider the impacts on your brand for maintaining profit margins.
KEY INDICATOR #1: TIME SPENT
Time is money and to properly implement your MAP policy, it’ll take a whole lot of time - especially if you’re doing it manually! If you’re spending hours ensuring that all sellers are complying, then it may be a good idea to think about whether to make the switch from manually finding and contacting violators to using a software.
So, how much time do you spend monitoring and enforcing your brand’s MAP policy every week?
The amount of hours and effort includes:
Finding all sellers: Searching on Amazon, eBay, Google, and other known marketplaces for all sellers and their advertised product prices.
Warning violators: Creating an email template, finding email addresses of all sellers in violation, and setting up and sending individual emails.
Re-checking violators: After a few days, depending on your policy terms, checking all violators who have been contacted to see if they’ve changed their prices. This means going back to Amazon, eBay, Google, etc.
Following up with sellers still in violation: Creating another email template, finding the previous warning email in your inbox or setting up a new email to follow-up on their violation.
Final notice to violators: After doing another check on the remaining violators, and depending on your policy terms, sending another round of emails.
Overall tracking, managing, and admin: Any time spent organizing and going back and forth between all the tools that you use (ie. email, spreadsheets, phone, etc.)
Imagine you have 50 sellers....
It takes about one week just to find all of the sellers and their prices. This may seem a bit exaggerated but we’re assuming that monitoring MAP compliance isn’t your only job. You are also responsible for marketing, operations, logistics, and/or everything else… you know… real work pertaining to the business.
So after you’ve found all your sellers, you have to send notices to those in violation. Let’s say there are 30. It takes another full week to contact these sellers after finding all of their email addresses, creating an email template, and setting up each email individually.
But wait, you’re not done yet! This is when it starts feeling like going down a rabbit hole. You need to check on the violators to see if they’ve complied, and then follow-up with those who haven’t. At the same time, after about two weeks, you should be rechecking your entire sellers list to make sure no one has changed their prices. All of this is at least another additional week.
With 50 sellers, you can easily spend three weeks on just one cycle of violations.
The time spent on MAP monitoring translates into:
Low team morale: The person responsible for managing your brand’s MAP policy probably feels like banging his head against the wall at this point. This is literally a never-ending task, and will be even more frustrating when there are few results. Consequently, they may feel like they’re not contributing to the business.
Less time to grow the business: The hours spent manually searching and contacting sellers while trying to stay organized means less time on initiatives focused on helping grow the business.
KEY INDICATOR #2: NUMBER OF COMPLAINTS
It’s one thing when you know your MAP policy is out of control. It’s another issue all together when your customers see it and say something about it (and embarrassing too!). If the customer complaints start piling up, that’s another sign to consider a switch to an automated MAP monitoring and enforcement process.
In other words: how many phone calls or emails do you receive every week from customers complaining about your brand’s MAP policy?
Complainers, ahem... customers, who typically contact brands are the sellers that follow MAP policies and see others who are not (and are getting away with it).
From there, they break down into two different types:
If you receive 15 complaints per week....
That’s about three each day. Let’s say that’s one phone call and two emails. For each phone call, you spend 10 minutes, and for each email, you spend 15 minutes.
Every week, you’d spend over 3 hours (40 minutes x 5 days) listening to your sellers complain about violators.
A high number of complaints means:
More time spent: The time spent on complaints is even worse than time spent monitoring MAP compliance. Why? Because it’s not even time used towards getting violators to comply.
Decreasing brand equity: By allowing violators to get away with a lower advertised price, it cheapens the value of your product and brand to sellers and their customers. You worked hard building up this brand, so don’t let others devalue it.
Decreasing trust in seller relationships: A lack of support and follow through with your MAP policy shows that you don’t have your customers’ best interests in mind, which may lead them to lose trust in your business.
CONCLUSION: YOUR NEXT STEPS
If you’re tracking these metrics - great! If not, spend the next week tracking all of the time spent monitoring and enforcing your MAP policy, as well as the customer complaints. Make sure you create a benchmark for each metric.
We recommend spending no more than 15% of your total time on getting sellers to comply with your policy, while keeping complaints to five a week (or one per day because there will always be someone who complains!).
With the effort used to launch your MAP policy, it’s important to ensure that your process is as effective and efficient as possible. After a week of tracking, if you’re finding the effort to be overwhelming or the time spent to be ridiculous, then it may be time to think about making the move to monitor via software.