Posted on 1st February '17 in MAP Monitoring - Comments
At times, we’re baffled.
Baffled by the fact that some brands still think and operate like we’re in the industrial age. That has some huge consequences for your business, brand equity, and revenue.
Business is rapidly evolving. We’re in the information age where many additional considerations need to be made when building a brand. One of the most important ones that many brands and manufacturers neglect is their MAP policy. With the onset of the internet, it’s become a fundamental building block to protecting a brand’s legacy.
Why? A MAP policy helps preserve seller profit margins. In turn, this encourages investment by sellers into a brand. This leads to more sales and higher revenues for everyone.
But seeing your MAP policy in this way takes a specific mindset: it’s about being proactive about maintaining your brand. Not every business has what it takes. Does yours?
IT’S AN INVESTMENT
You know how the saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and the same rings true for your brand equity. It takes time, hard work, and commitment to protect your legacy, so that it can withstand all the trials and tribulations that come up against it.
It’s a long-term play that’s orchestrated around a combination of different pieces. That requires a certain mindset and understanding that the investments you make in your brand today will have an impact in the future -- one way or another. Every decision you make, whether it’s marketing related or not, affects how your brand is perceived by your customers and your end consumers.
That’s why it’s so important to not only focus on marketing channels that have tangible dollars associated to them or that deliver a direct ROI, brands have to start thinking holistically about their value and image.
Many brands are beginning to align themselves with charities and initiatives that share similar values. Whether it be through event sponsorships, volunteering with a local non-profit, or donating to a charity, brands are seeing the value in connecting with their customers and consumers on a deeper emotional level. These “marketing channels” allow brands to connect on a more human scale.
Simply by being out there in these types of capacities, people begin to associate the brand to being an actual person with similar values. When a brand’s actions resonate with their customers and consumers, this where you’ll often see brand loyalty emerge -- something that can’t be bought.
An investment into your MAP policy runs parallel to these types of marketing channels.
YOUR MAP POLICY: THE NON-TRADITIONAL MARKETING CHANNEL
As a relatively new concept, a MAP policy is an untapped, non-traditional channel for brands and their products. Many are failing to take full responsibility for getting a handle on their MAP policy, letting compliance and enforcement fall to the wayside.
Similar to event sponsorships or charity support, there may be tangible numbers that go into your MAP policy, but there’s no direct return on investment that you can immediately see. The effects are rippled over the long-term. That’s what makes it so difficult for business owners, CEOs, marketing and sales people: they can’t concretely report on how a high MAP compliance rate impacts their business today.
At the same time, the common misconception amongst brands is that they will experience a loss in sales if they introduce a MAP policy. If prices are higher, dealers will sell less. We aren’t going to lie or sugar coat the truth: this will happen in the short-term (read: SHORT-TERM). However, in the long-run, your brand will reap the rewards that help drive revenues and protect profit margins.
Your brand is a castle and your MAP policy is a moat that protects you against enemies and invaders. Without a moat, anyone (MAP violators) can easily walk up to your castle and take away the bricks (your brand equity) that make up it’s very foundation.
One brick at a time, they eat away at your castle. Every day, they keep coming back for more, simply because they can -- nothing’s stopping them. As people continue taking away the castle’s building blocks, it begins to crumble and fall apart. By the time you realize something must be done, it’s almost too late: your castle’s barely standing.
You decide to add a moat to prevent people from getting anywhere near it. Slowly, but surely, as you maintain and keep a watchful eye over your new shield of protection, you’re able to replace all of the missing bricks and rebuild your castle to the beauty it was once.
To us, it just seems silly to not have a moat in the first place -- do you want your castle standing years down the road?
Your MAP policy protects your brand against predatory behaviour in the market. It provides information critical to your marketing plan and brand strategy. By seeing MAP enforcement as a marketing investment, this ultimately helps increase sales and preserve seller profit margins.
When sellers know that they have some wiggle room to work with, they’ll be encouraged to invest in your brand on their behalf. For instance, if they know they’ll be making a 20% return on your products, they’ll be more motivated to take the time, money, and effort to invest in marketing that delivers a quality experience that the end consumer deserves.
This might mean improving their customer service, creating value-add products, changing their online shopping experience, or increasing the number of ads -- the possibilities are endless!
Don’t cheat your brand from that investment.
If you’re all hands on deck with getting your MAP compliance rates up to snuff, there are a few different ways that you can get started.
GETTING STARTED ON YOUR MAP POLICY INVESTMENT
You don’t want to cut edges and corners with your MAP enforcement process, so make sure you evaluate a solution that’s right for your brand.
There’s the long, tedious manual way
If you’re a small business with few product SKUs and looking to stay that way, it might make more sense for you to do things “by hand”. You can follow our step-by-step guide to get your MAP monitoring and enforcement process up in 30 days.
Make sure you are consistently checking up on sellers and staying on top of all your communication, that includes all of your follow-ups so nobody slips through the cracks. Consider a two or three strike system. Stay organized, stay consistent.
Some important things that brands overlook are sending updates to their sellers about how things are going with their MAP policy, or thanking sellers in compliance who are always adhering to the rules and supporting your brand.
But what if we’re a small or medium business with more product SKUs and continuously growing? Well, that’s a different story altogether.....
Then there’s technology, software, and automation
For those who’ve been personally responsible for finding violating sellers, getting them to comply, and then having to recheck everything, MAP monitoring software is what their dreams are made of.
It takes away a lot of the mundane, repetitive tasks that come with managing MAP compliance, while allowing for certain processes to be automated. Think about all the time to be saved, headaches to be spared, and mistakes to be avoided when a brand starts using a MAP monitoring software. All while staying organized and completely sane!
Plus, your sellers do care that you’re using software. It puts bite into your policy and helps maintain your product value and brand equity, along with showing your sellers that you’re committed to helping them grow and succeed.
Or you can have someone else take care of 99% of the MAP management work (us!)
If you’re super strapped for time and money or you just don’t want to deal with the intricacies of having to stay on top of your MAP monitoring game 24/7, we’re here for you!
When we say here for you, we mean we have a pretty awesome combo of our online dashboard and team of experts that’ll make sure your sellers are line and don’t slip out of place -- we become an extension of your team.
Our Managed Service provides brands with an account manager that ensures MAP monitoring is done right and that all MAP violators are properly contacted. You’ll receive a customized weekly report that gives you easy to digest insight, so you can make the right decisions going forward.
Like with any investment, it’s never too late to start prioritizing your MAP policy, as long as you start now. Begin small and start with your brand’s mindset about how to approach this new responsibility: it’s a long-term investment. Once you’re ready to take on your MAP policy head on, there are few different ways to make sure you see the future impact that you want. Don’t be afraid to take the first step.