Let’s start with something completely uncontroversial: If you’re a manufacturer or brand owner selling your products through a resale network — distributors, wholesalers, brick-and-mortar stores, online retailers — you need a set of published guidelines that lets these resellers know the minimum prices at which you’re willing to let them advertise and sell your products. You also need a mechanism in place that lets you monitor your products’ presence, particularly online, to ensure your resellers are adhering to your pricing policy.
So, you need to develop some process for keeping an eye on how your products are being represented across your resale channel — such as MAP monitoring if you’ve published a minimum advertised price policy, or UPP monitoring if you’ve instead drafted a unilateral price policy. (More on the differences between these programs here.)
But whatever price tracking and enforcement strategy your company decides to implement — MAP monitoring or UPP monitoring, for example — you should not have your team attempt to handle it manually.
Yes, your team knows your product line and your reseller network more thoroughly than any third party. And yes, your internal staff is more personally invested in ensuring your resellers are not unfairly underselling each other and eroding your brand’s reputation. But there are several reasons that tasking your own employees with MAP monitoring simply can’t be the optimal solution. Here are just a few of those reasons.
Why your internal team isn’t the best solution for map monitoring
1. Your employees can’t manually monitor every reseller’s website, and every online marketplace, around the clock.
This should be reason enough to consider automating your MAP enforcement program, rather than manually trying to keep track of all of your resellers’ pricing of every one of your products at all times.
It doesn’t matter how dedicated or conscientious your employees are. It doesn’t matter how fast they are with a keyboard and mouse, either. Your staff won’t be able to monitor your products’ presence across the Internet as thoroughly or as frequently as an automated price monitoring platform can.
2. Your employees won’t always know how to respond to each violation — and might take action that is ineffective, inappropriate or even illegal.
This is another factor that manufacturers often overlook when deciding to manage reseller price monitoring and enforcement internally.
When it comes to your MAP monitoring, your company will encounter reseller violations of varying types and magnitudes — some egregious and clearly intentional attempts to cheat the system, others most likely innocent mistakes or oversights that can be corrected quickly with a friendly notice.
If your in-house team is responsible for monitoring your resellers’ behavior and taking action against offenders, a misstep here could at best be ineffective at fixing a violation — and at worst could land your company on the wrong side of antitrust law.
This is yet another reason it makes sense to outsource your MAP monitoring to a best-in-class online brand protection platform. Such a solution, assuming it was developed and is supported by experts in the field, will also be able to guide your team as to how to take appropriate, effective —and legal — action to address each violation.
3. Managing your MAP monitoring efforts in a manual way in-house will actually be far costlier than deploying an automated service.
Many manufacturers who approach us during the research phase of their MAP monitoring program assume that an automated platform for price tracking and enforcement will be more expensive than “having a few employees on our team handle it.”
But what these companies realize when they price out such a solution — and what you’ll discover as well, as soon as you start working through the numbers — is that the right automated MAP monitoring platform is actually far more cost-effective than trying to handle the process manually.
Want to see for yourself how much more effective and affordable automated MAP monitoring can be for your business? Let us give you a free demo.